Tech Helps Prints Tell More of the Story

Snack, drug habits can be traced on bullets, similar surfaces
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2008 3:24 PM CDT
A fingerprint file.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Advances in fingerprint technology are making the century-old forensic tool even more vital, the Boston Globe reports. Scientists have developed methods that can not only detect traces of food or chemicals in prints, but also single out targets at a confused crime scene. “We're using fingerprints to learn more about the individual, not just make an identification,” a scientist said.

Though sometimes seen as old hat, fingerprinting remains the dominant forensic method, responsible for 10 times more identifications than DNA technology; new advances will likely continue that trend. Another recently developed approach allows investigators to lift prints off of objects wiped down, or even exploded. These methods are already in use to solve cold cases in the US.