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How the humble fly can help to solve our most gruesome crimes

14 / 04 / 2017, The Guardian

Flies are often the first visitors to a murder scene. Studying their grisly dining habits can reveal vital clues to help catch the killerFlies are regarded by most people as a nuisance at best, a harbinger of death at worst. They elicit little more than feelings of disgust and many people are happy to kill them without a second thought. But there is another side to the story. The fly is one of nature’s great marvels and, perhaps, the criminologist’s best friend. In addition to familiar forensic clues such as fingerprints, tell-tale hairs and bloodstains, more and more criminal investigators are relying on the services of the humble fly. Forensic entomology is the technical term for using insects to help us solve crimes. Given the nature of the things flies choose to dine on, they are often the first to be found at the grisliest of crime scenes. There is a predictable succession of flies that arrive at a corpse, with different species of fly specialising in eating different parts of the body at different stages of decomposition. Continue reading...

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