Bite mark vagueness; Dr. Lean and Dr. Stout; Duck-swan mutual dining; Knitting

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has five segments. Here are bits of each of them: Biting biting remarks — …Bite-mark analysis hoo-ha, so far, mostly applies to identifying human biters. Mostly, but not entirely. Enter a new paper called “Forensic determination of shark species as predators and scavengers of sea turtles in […]

Effect of Passing Lawn Mowers over Skeletal Remains [study]

Of the forensic studies of the effect of passing lawn mowers over skeletal remains, this is the most recent: “Lemonade from Lemons: The Taphonomic Effect of Lawn Mowers on Skeletal Remains,” D.C. Martin, Gretchen R. Dabbs [pictured here], Lindsey G. Roberts, Journal of Forensic Sciences, epub July 3, 2013. (Thanks to investigator Rolf Zwaan for […]

CSI works better on TV than in real life (in Italy)?

On television — especially American television — forensic scientists almost always figure out the identity of mysterious corpses. This study suggests that the actual results — in real life, dealing with real corpses — may not be as good, especially outside America: “Unidentified bodies and human remains: An Italian glimpse through a European problem,” Cristina […]

The research that’s on everyone’s lips: Lip prints

They are on everyone’s lips always, and sometimes on a shred of evidence in a murder trial, and occasionally in the title of a scientific report. Lip prints have become the subject of formal study. That formal study has a formal name: cheiloscopy. Basic questions still nag at cheiloscopists. A Portuguese population lip print patterns […]