When found, hairs usually
fit under the race categories of Caucasoid (European ancestry), Mongoloid
(Asian ancestry), and Negroid (African ancestry)
Caucasoid or Caucasian
origin hairs are normally fine to medium coarseness, straight or wavy in
appearance, and colors range from blonde to brown to black.
Mongoloid or Asian origin
hairs are normally coarse, straight, with a wider diameter than hairs of the
Caucasoid and Negroid hairs. The outer layer of the hair is usually much
thicker than that of the other racial groups.
Negroid or African origin
hairs are usually curly with a flattened cross section, and appear to be
curly, wavy, or coiled. Buckling, or twisting of the hair shaft, can be
apparent and the hair shaft can split along the length.
Deedrick, Douglas W. Hairs, Fibers, Crime, and
Evidence. July 2000. Forensic Science Communcations. 24 Apr. 2005
Determining the sex of
individual from a hair can be difficult, but normally, longer, more
treated hair are more frequently from females. Also, if a hair is
forcefully removed, the gender of the individualís hair can be
determined by the tissue on the hair, but this is uncommon.
Head hairs are normally
the longest hair on the body, and are the most altered due to scissors and
razors, hair dyes, rinses, and other chemicals.
Hairs from the legs and
arms are called limb hairs. These hairs are shorter in length, arc-like in
shape, and often tapered at the ends.
Facial hairs are more
commonly called beard hairs or mustache hairs. These hairs are coarse in
appearance, usually have razor cut tips, and shouldering in the hair are
observed under magnification.
Forensic scientists are able to determine the race, gender, and
location on the body of a hair recovered on a crime scene.