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Could Plants Help Us Find Dead Bodies?

Forensic Botanists Want To Know

Search teams looking for human remains are often slowed by painstaking on-foot pursuits or aerial searches that are obscured by forest cover. In a Science & Society article appearing September 3 in the journal Trends in Plant Science, UTIA researchers discuss the possibility of utilizing tree cover in body recovery missions, by detecting changes in the plant’s chemistry as signals of nearby human remains. Though the impact of human decomposition on plants has not yet been thoroughly explored, the researchers outline the steps needed to make body recovery using vegetation more of a reality. The theory is summarized in an article posted on  EurekAlert! and the paper is titled “Plants to remotely detect human decomposition?”

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Partrica McDaniels

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Neal Stewart, Plant Sciences