U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Forensics Laboratory

Forensics Lab Home
Science Professionals
Agents and Insectors
Students and Educators
Publications and ID Notes
The Feather Atlas
Lab Tour
Lab News
About Us
Contact Us
Site Map

Indian Peafowl Feathers. Credit: USFWS

Students and Educators

LIBRARY OF MYSTERY PHOTOS

Macaw feathers

Common Name: Scarlet Macaw
Scientific Name: Ara macao
Protected Status: CITES – App. I
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  These yellow and orange feathers, found on the upperwings, are distinctive for the Scarlet Macaw, and allow it to be distinguished from the similar Red-and-green Macaw.

Macaw feathers
Credit: USFWS.

Shahtoosh Shawls

Common Name: Hair of Tibetan Antelope
Scientific Name: Pantholops hodgsonii
Protected Status: U.S. ESA – Endangered; CITES – App.I
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  The fabric of the shawls is made from the wool of the Tibetan Antelope and is called shahtoosh.  It is estimated that three to five antelope die to obtain enough wool for a single shawl, and the adult animals always die when captured.

Shahtoosh Shawls
Credit: USFWS.

Cloud of Particulates formed at Firearm Discharge

Laboratory Section: Criminalistics
What’s the Story? Evaluation of firearms particulate discharge for determining the distance a weapon was fired.

Cloud of Particulates formed at  Firearm Discharge
Credit: USFWS.

Fingerprint under Alternate Light Source

Item: Friction ridge developed with superglue and florescence dye stain visualized with alternate light source
Laboratory Section: Criminalistics
What’s the Story? Impression developed from the side of shot gun shell found at crime scene in a National Park.

Fingerprint under Alternate Light  Source
Credit: USFWS.

Killer Whale Teeth

Common Name:  Orca or Killer Whale
Scientific Name: Orcinus orca
Protected Status: Marine Mammal Act; CITES – App.II
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  Just like the teeth of sperm whale, orca teeth come in different sizes and shapes from a single individual. The large-size orca teeth are flattened on the sides and have enamel on the crown, not found on sperm whale teeth.

Killer Whale Teeth
Credit: USFWS.

Black Bear Claws

Common Name:  North American Black Bear
Scientific Name:  Ursus americanus
Protected Status:  U.S. ESA – Threatened as U. americanus luteolus; all other subspecies are covered by Similarity of Appearance to a Threatened Species;  CITES – App.II
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story?  Like other mammals, the claw is actually a sheath of keratin covering a bony projection supported by the articulating end where the bone connects to another bone and is held in place by tendons and ligaments.

Black Bear Claws
Credit: USFWS.

Margay Fur

Common Name:  Margay cat
Scientific Name:  Leopardus wiedii
Protected Status: U.S. ESA – Endangered; CITES – App.I
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story? Just below the shoulder blades in this South American wild cat, the hair growth changes direction forming a whorl (light dot middle right); the presence and position of this whorl distinguishes the margay from other spotted cats used in the fur trade.

Margay Fur
Credit: USFWS.

Narwhal Tusk

Common Name: Narwhal
Scientific Name: Monodon monoceros
Protected Status: Marine Mammal Act; CITES – App.II
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story? The Narwhal is a small whale of the Arctic. The males possess a single, remarkable, spiraling ivory tusk, which may be one source for the legend of the unicorn’s horn.

Narwhal Tusk
Credit: USFWS.

X-Ray Sternum

Laboratory Section: Pathology
What’s the Story? Coming soon...

 

X-Ray Sternum
Credit: USFWS.

Shahtoosh Shawl

Common Name: Hair of Tibetan Antelope
Scientific Name: Pantholops hodgsonii
Protected Status: U.S. ESA – Endangered; CITES – App.I
Laboratory Section: Morphology
What’s the Story? The hair of the Tibetan Antelope is so fine that a shawl of this fabric can be pulled through a man’s ring; thus, they are sometimes called “ring shawls.”

Shahtoosh Shawl
Credit: USFWS.

NOTICES:

  • These photos should not be used for identification purposes.  Detailed information to assist with selected species identification problems can be found at Publications and Identifications Guides.
  • For more information about Protected Status, view our U.S. Wildlife Laws page.
  • You may download these photos for educational purposes with credit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), but cannot use them for commercial purposes or sell them.
  • Copyright © US Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory.

BACK TO TOP

U.S. Department of Interior Logo