Forensic botanists use plant clues.

These three alder seed cones were found inside a skull. This indicates the skull was at one time in a wooded area with red alder trees nearby, and was likely there during the time of year when alder trees produce cones. These deductions may provide critical geographic and temporal information to investigators.

The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University
The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University

© 2011, SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. All Rights Reserved.


Plant reference collections provide clues.

Some museums and university based biology departments maintain reference collections of plants found in the local area. These collections may be used by forensic biologists who find plant remains associated with a body. If a plant that only grows in a specific eco-zone is found, it may indicate the crime took place in that eco-zone, narrowing a search to a smaller geographic area.

The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University
The Critical Thinking Consortium, Simon Fraser University

© 2011, SFU Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

• develop awareness of the work of forensic botanists
• use criteria to form and justify a conclusion

See the Teacher’s Guide, Investigating Forensics, http://www.sfu.museum/forensics/an-en/pg_media-media_pg/professeur-pdfs-teachers/

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