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Analysis and Comment (15)

First bodies of victims in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash arrive at Eindhoven Airbase, the Netherlands. First bodies of victims in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash arrive at Eindhoven Airbase, the Netherlands. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

How dental records will help identify bodies from MH17

The first of the bodies from Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 have arrived in the Netherlands ready for forensic investigation into the remains of the 298 passengers and crew. Identifying the victims is…
This piece of fuselage might hold vital clues about the downing of MH17. This piece of fuselage might hold vital clues about the downing of MH17. EPA/Robert Ghement

What this photograph might tell investigators about what really happened to MH17

Much has been made of the possibility that the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was the work of an anti-aircraft missile. Even without confirmation or corroboration, investigators will have a wealth…
Vital forensic evidence could be lost as bodies from Malaysia Airlines MH17 are moved. Vital forensic evidence could be lost as bodies from Malaysia Airlines MH17 are moved. EPA/Anastasia Vlasova

Identifying bodies from MH17 is a challenge for forensics

Returning the 298 victims from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to their families with dignity and respect is a major priority for each nation involved. Disaster victim identification (DVI) is a difficult…
The physiological stress of the heat accumulates and takes its toll after two or three days. The physiological stress of the heat accumulates and takes its toll after two or three days. AAP Image/Joe Castro

Death in a hot climate: southern heatwave to take its toll

Hopefully the southern Australian heatwave is coming to an end – for now. But for health-care providers and death investigators, such as me, the fallout will continue for some time to come. It’s unclear…
An international team of forensic scientists from all disciplines is investigating Kenya’s mall attack. An international team of forensic scientists from all disciplines is investigating Kenya’s mall attack. EPA/Dai Kurokawa

Can forensic science unravel the chaos of Westgate mall?

The entire world witnessed last month’s horrifying terrorist attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Now forensic experts from Interpol, US, UK, Germany, and Canada have joined Kenyan law enforcement…
Is it reasonable to expect juries to spend the time needed to check police transcripts against the audio when lawyers themselves do not? Is it reasonable to expect juries to spend the time needed to check police transcripts against the audio when lawyers themselves do not? Shutterstock/Everett Collection

Covert recordings as evidence in court: the return of police ‘verballing’?

Today, we take it for granted that police interviews with suspects will be electronically recorded and independently transcribed. That hasn’t always been the case. Police were once allowed to testify…
TV portrayals of forensic science sometimes border on the criminal. TV portrayals of forensic science sometimes border on the criminal. Derek Bridges

Get real, forensic scientists: the CSI effect is waning

You’ve heard of the so-called CSI effect – the manner in which the exaggerated portrayal of forensic science on crime television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation influences public perception…
Palestinian government officials at a wreath-laying ceremony at Yasser Arafat mausoleum’s after his body was exhumed for forensic samples and reburied. Palestinian government officials at a wreath-laying ceremony at Yasser Arafat mausoleum’s after his body was exhumed for forensic samples and reburied. EPA/Thaer Ghanaim/Handout

What we could learn from Yasser Arafat’s exhumation

The remains of Yasser Arafat have been exhumed for “special testing” to determine whether he died from poisoning by a radioactive element or natural causes. Will the process be akin to what we see on television…
Medical schools once battled with a shortage of cadavers, which led to some unsavoury practices. Medical schools once battled with a shortage of cadavers, which led to some unsavoury practices. Derek Harper

Donating your body to science? Don’t worry, it’s not what it used to be

The recent discovery of hundreds of human body parts in the University of Cologne’s cellars shocked Germany’s academic community and raised broader questions about the rights of people who donate their…
False recollections can lead to wrongful convictions. False recollections can lead to wrongful convictions. Justin Gaurav Murgai

Forensic psychology prevents miscarriages of justice … and memory

A recent series of articles on The Conversation focused on the value of forensic science in criminal cases. Many specialities were covered. But what about forensic psychology? Professionals in this field…
The man behind the mask. Ned Kelly’s skeleton can finally be laid to rest. The man behind the mask. Ned Kelly’s skeleton can finally be laid to rest. the euskadi 11

Ned Kelly remains are positively identified … but how was it done?

The remains of iconic bushranger Ned Kelly have been positively identified by forensic scientists more than a century after his hanging in 1880. The identification was made after an exhaustive forensic…
In Australia, forensic evidence is coming under increasing scrutiny. In Australia, forensic evidence is coming under increasing scrutiny. Andrea Hayward/AAP

The CSI effect: are jurors starstruck by forensic evidence?

FORENSICS AUSTRALIA – Jurors without technical training are frequently required to consider complex forensic evidence. It’s not just a matter of understanding the forensic evidence: in the case of “opposing…
Population-specific skeletons are of great value to forensic scientists. Population-specific skeletons are of great value to forensic scientists. Didier Descouens

Forensic anthropology – the need for Australian standards

Given terrorism, natural disasters and other mass-fatality incidents seem to dominate news coverage, its never been more important to have an accurate and efficient means of identifying human remains…
Flesh-flies frequently give birth to maggots on corpses of human and other animals. Flesh-flies frequently give birth to maggots on corpses of human and other animals. sankax

Forensic entomology: the time of death is everything

FORENSICS AUSTRALIA – Insects are everywhere. Their ubiquitous nature, and the fact they represent the largest biomass of animals on the earth, means there are hardly any terrestrial niches – except when…
A serious criminal investigation without forensic science seems unthinkable. A serious criminal investigation without forensic science seems unthinkable. turkguy0319

Explainer: Forensic science

FORENSICS AUSTRALIA – There has always been a role for forensic science in criminal investigations, but these days, with criminals committing clever, well thought-out crimes more often, it’s now an essential…

Research Briefs (1)