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Since a few decades ago, DNA testing became an important tool in criminal forensics, and a lot of information can be gathered from a single drop of blood or from a few cells.

Even before that, blood type could be used even in the early 20th century, to at least exclude 3/4 of possible suspects.

However, when did it first became possible to distinguish between human and animal blood, and what method did they use? Is there information about the first time it was used as evidence in a trial for forensic purposes?

I would suspect it was not sooner, or not much sooner as the discovery of the ABO blood types at the beginning of the 20th century. There are modern, much more accurate methods, and the introductory parts of such papers likely mention the early history, but they are behind paywalls.

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  • $\begingroup$ Huh. I assumed this would be easy to look up but I've spent a few minutes Googling and come up with nothing. +1! $\endgroup$ – arboviral Sep 13 '17 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ (Kinda) Related: The Uhlenhuth test (antigen-antibody precipitin test) [ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uhlenhuth_test ]. You might wanna give the Wiki article on the man himself a read too [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Uhlenhuth ] ..it's pretty interesting O:) $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Sep 13 '17 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ I'm confused about the "evidence in a trial" part. Are you saying a perpetrator splashed chicken blood at the scene? That a cow committed a crime during which some of her blood was spilled? How would that be relevant in a court of law? In any case, blood of animals often looks different than human blood. In medicine, drug seekers often come in complaining of kidney stones, which are very painful and often require narcotics. The first test for kidney stones is looking for blood in the urine. If it's present, and we think it's trickery, we just look at it under the microscope... $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Sep 13 '17 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ ...because they used to carry a bit of blood with them and slip it into the cup while giving a sample. The most common blood (chicken) has nucleated RBC's. Bovine blood cells (e.g. steak) are unequal in size and have less central pallor. Etc. So I would imagine the first time someone noticed the difference between human and other blood was when microscopes came into widespread use. Now they do something trickier, which I won't elaborate on, to put human blood into the sample, but still easy to catch. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Sep 13 '17 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse : you are right, I had more in mind when it was practical enough to use it in forensics, for example, they find a bloody knife, is it human blood and must they investigate more thoroughly, or can they discard it... $\endgroup$ – vsz Sep 13 '17 at 15:44

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