Our (training) grave was robbed!!

Well, maybe, anyway.  I spent a couple of days last week in a field in Oxfordshire, England, training specialist police officers/crime scene examiners how to collect samples for soil and pollen analysis from outdoor body locations as part of criminal investigations.  My ‘crime scene’ was under a tree and involved the use of a mannequin …

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Pollen and ‘Bones’

I’m watching Bones.  It’s a new series (in New Zealand anyway) and it’s the episode where they use pollen vacuumed out of the nasal cavitiy of a decomposed corpse to determine the exact date of death.  Can I just say that, as a forensic pollen expert, it’s utter nonsense. The concept is sound – it’s …

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Pollen from snot (not for reading at dinnertime…)

A big hand to TechNZ because their funding allowed Auckland-based Dr Anna Sandiford of Forensic Science & Research Ltd and Dr Mark Horrocks of Microfossil Research Ltd to work on a joint research project with some world-class forensic scientists and pathologists at Manlove Forensics in the UK.  The project was to develop a new method …

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Pollen, pooh and the extinction of mammoths

One of my work-heads is as a Palynologist, which means I study pollen, spores and other microscopic material that remain in sediments after they’ve been chemically treated to remove extraneous material.  For forensic work, we might be limited to sediment scraped from the knee of a pair of trousers or perhaps pollen collected from the …

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Forensic palynology strikes again

If anyone had any doubts about the use or application of forensic palynology then surely they should be dispelled by now.  Work completed by Dr Dallas Mildenhall, based here in sunny New Zealand, helped Interpol arrest and charge three Chinese man in relation to production and distribution of counterfeit drugs.  The pollen content of samples …

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Active oxygen washing powder and pollen

It seems there has been some concern in forensic science circles about the effect of active oxygen washing powder, particularly in relation to removal of blood.  Apparently, use of such washing powder can cause a negative result to presumptive blood testing such as Luminol.  The question was asked about whether the washing powder will have …

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