The estimation of the postmortem interval (PMI) is still one of the most challenging issues in forensic investigations, especially in cases in which advanced transformative phenomena have taken place. The dating of skeletal remains is even more difficult and sometimes only a rough determination of the PMI is possible. Recent studies suggest that plant analysis can provide a reliable estimation for skeletal remains dating, when traditional techniques are not applicable. Forensic Botany is a relatively recent discipline that includes many subdisciplines such as Palynology, Anatomy, Dendrochronology, Limnology, Systematic, Ecology, and Molecular Biology. In a recent study, Cardoso et al. (Int J Legal Med 2010;124:451) used botanical evidence for the first time to establish the PMI of human skeletal remains found in a forested area of northern Portugal from the growth rate of mosses and shrub roots. The present paper deals with a case in which the study of the growth rate of the bryophyte Leptodyctium riparium (Hedw.) Warnst, was used in estimating the PMI of some human skeletal remains that were found in a wooded area near Perugia, in Central Italy.
- Forensic science
- forensic Botany