|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences|
|Subtitle of host publication||Volume 1-4, Third Edition|
|Editors||Max M Houck|
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2023|
Hairs are routinely encountered in forensic investigations. Questions have been raised as to the reliability of findings based on microscopic examination of hairs. In this article a four-stage examination protocol is presented for the management of hairs in a forensic context. This starts with the recovery of hairs at the scene and subsequent examinations in the laboratory and is based on a triage approach that separates animal and human hairs and then selects human hairs that may be suitable for DNA analysis. The value of hairs from a criminalistics perspective is discussed in helping to answer activity level questions. The dual role of hairs makes it vital that they are effectively managed to ensure evidential value is not lost or compromised.