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Abstract Detail

Development and Structure

Bock, Jane H [1].

Forensic Botany.

Forensic botany applies botanical sciences to legal matters. The cases here are homicides from throughout the US and other English speaking countries. I have worked on these presented here. First is evidence using plant anatomy. The identification of food plant cells in a victim’s stomach contents is based on their anatomical characteristics.. This has contributed to the solution of many cases presented in criminal courts., the cells coming from the stomach contents of victims. This evidence has been used to link victims to places, to suspects, etc. and can contribute to considerations of time of death as well, an ongoing problem in many murder cases. Each January a notice appears asking for information concerning the murders of two young women in the Colorado Ski Country. It is known that they had their last meals in the same place. But neither was seen alive again. The remains of one were found a couple weeks after she had disappeared, the other’s was found 5 months later months. The case is still open and unsolved. In plant anatomy cases, the evidence is identified and photographed using a light microscope with low or high power. This is inexpensive and readily accepted in Court.In addition to plant anatomy we have applied two other subdivisions of botany in criminal investigations: plant taxonomy and plant ecology. Using knowledge of how to identify plants can lead to a defendable scientific name for a plant taxon. In one case, the defendant claimed his vehicle had not been to the area where a victim was found, but plant species from that area were found in the window wells and bed of his truck. Plant ecology can have very wide application. An opposing expert said leaf shedding occurred in autumn, naming this time of year for a deposit of human remains, but leaf fall in semi-tropical setting occurs year round, not just in autumn. How do you become a forensic botanist? The first requirement is to have botanical knowledge. This can be either specialized or general, but studying botanical science should be a lifelong learning process through literature and scientific organizations such as the BSA. The second requirement is knowledge of the criminal justice system. You may work with include police, judges, defense and prosecuting attorneys and their staffs, private investigators and other experts who may figure heavily in the courtroom.

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1 - University of Colorado, Boulder, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Box 0334, Boulder, Co, 80309-334, USA, 303-579-9739

Cell structure
Plant anatomy.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 29, Development and Structure I
Location: 202/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 4:45 PM
Number: 29013
Abstract ID:86
Candidate for Awards:None

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