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Crimes, Critters and Clues

Magni, P.A. (2017) Crimes, Critters and Clues. In: A Public Lecture in the UNDERCOVER Series, 20 March 2017, Murdoch University, WA.


The job of an investigator is to reconstruct the events of crime and identify the culprit. Despite movies show differently, it’s not an easy job, because the crime scene is not a closed box, but segment of nature with peculiar features subjected to environmental changes, sometime caused by the crime itself. Plants, animals and microorganisms play an important role at the scene: with their presence and activity they can modify it and erase information, but can also characterize the time, the manner and the people involved in the events.

A number of real cases in which insects, crustaceans, molluscs, microorganisms and plants were the first witnesses of a crime and were used to gain key information for the success of the investigation will be presented.

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