Forensic entomology, the use of insects to help solve crimes, has been practiced for centuries. It was first recorded in China in 1235, when flies were used to detect a bloody murder weapon, although the link between fly eggs and maggots wasn't discovered until 1688, more than 400 years later. Today, forensic entomologists are an essential part of criminal investigations around the world. Their intimate knowledge of the life cycles of a wide variety of flies, beetles, ants and other insects can establish key information about time of death, information so reliable and accurate that it is accepted as evidence in court. Other forensic scientists are able to provide clues about the location of a crime or to link a criminal to a crime scene using evidence drawn from plants - anything from pollen to fruit to cellular structure. There are three hundred thousand different kinds of plants in the world, any of which could be silent witnesses to a crime, and ready, willing and able to testify for the prosecution.
Following a fictional "murder" from start to finish, you will meet a host of scientists and law enforcement agents who are enlisting crime-solving recruits from the natural world. Real life case studies are reconstructed to reveal the many ways that maggots can be instrumental in criminal cases, how flies can be used on the frontlines in the war on terror, how strange underwater creatures can help track a killer, and how the DNA from seed pods can send a murderer to jail for life.
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