Thursday, August 13, 2020

Fingerprints ‘breakthrough’ for wildlife crime investigators

Must read

Shoe dunnit: Burglars being nabbed by new forensic evidence found in their footprints

More than 70 burglars have been caught by detectives using cutting-edge technology that allows officers to match suspects’ shoeprints quickly to the scenes of...

Michele Triplett’s Fingerprint Dictionary, 3rd Edition

From analysis to verification, and from Amido Black to Zinc Nitrate, the latest edition of the Fingerprint Dictionary takes all of the common, and...

10 Famous Cases Cracked by Forensics

Ted Bundy Although serial killer Ted Bundy was responsible for an estimated 30-plus murders, there was little physical evidence to connect him to the crimes...

Retirement-age dentist finds ‘dream job’ among forensic remains

As Bill Inkster approached his 61st birthday, he knew he wanted to retire from his long-time dental practice and do something entirely different. Just how...
Michael Whyte
Crime Scene Officer and Fingerprint Expert with over 7 years experience in Crime Scene Investigation and Latent Print Analysis. The opinions or assertions contained on this site are the private views of the author and are not to be construed as those of any professional organisation or policing body.
- Forensic Podcast -

Scientists say they have made a forensic breakthrough in the fight against wildlife crime.

A team from Dundee has been able to recover fingerprints from the feathers of birds of prey, which are under threat from illegal poisoning, shooting and trapping.

If the birds have been handled, the incriminating marks could help police to identify the suspect.

The research is published in the journal Science and Justice.

The RSPB’s latest figures reveal that in 2013 there were more than 120 confirmed incidents of shooting, trapping and poisoning of birds of prey in the UK.

It is a problem also seen elsewhere in Europe and in other parts of the world.

But scientists say that if the dead birds have been handled, possibly when they were discarded, crucial fingerprint evidence can now be gathered.

A team from the University of Abertay, in Dundee, has shown for the first time that the incriminating marks can be lifted from the birds’ feathers using fluorescent powders.

The researchers lifted fingerprints from the birds’ feathers using fluorescent powder

Lead scientist Dennis Gentles said: “We use fluorescent powder because fluorescent powder will glow if it’s put under a laser light, and because it glows it separates itself completely from the background.

“That makes it nice and clear to record and hopefully identify as someone’s particular fingerprint.”

The team was able to recover prints from the feathers of six species that they tested: kestrels, sparrowhawks, buzzards, red kites, golden eagles and white-tailed eagles,

“We found the best way of doing it was to use the flight feathers: they sustain a fingerprint because they have a nice tight weave to them,” said Dr Gentles.

He added: “Before we’ve had birds of prey found lying at the bottom of a steep mountain and wondered how they’ve got there.

“People have been able to analyse them to see the cause of death. But if they look at the bird now and fingerprint the flight feathers, they will be able to see if the bird has actually been handled.

“If they find a fingerprint this would raise suspicions and it may even identify the person who has handled this bird and disposed of it in this way.”

The scientists were also able to recover fingerprints from golden eagle eggs

The researchers also recovered fingerprints from eggs using black magnetic powder, which could help police to track down and prosecute illegal collectors.

Ian Thomas from RSPB Scotland said: “While government laboratory testing has made it relatively straightforward to identify the cause of death of the victims in many cases, identifying the perpetrator of offences that often take place in some of the remotest areas of our countryside continues to be very difficult.”

He said the study was a “step forward” in the development of forensic techniques”.

Source: BBC News

- Advertisement -

More articles

- Advertisement -

Latest article

Using the NCIC Bayesian Network to improve your AFIS searches

This National Crime Information Centre (NCIC) Bayesian network is based on the statistical data of general patterns of fingerprints on the hands...

DNA decontamination of fingerprint brushes

Using fingerprint brushes across multiple crime scenes yields a high risk of DNA cross-contamination. Thankfully an Australian study has discovered a quick and easy way to safely decontaminate fingerprint brushes to prevent this contamination risk and allows the brushes to be safely reused even after multiple cleaning cycles.

Detection of latent fingerprint hidden beneath adhesive tape by optical coherence tomography

Adhesive tape is a common item which can be encountered in criminal cases involving rape, murder, kidnapping and explosives. It is often the case...

Presenting Fingerprint Comparisons in Court using Forensic Comparison Software

This video gives the fingerprint technician some ideas on how to present a Fingerprint Comparison result to the court that looks professional. To accomplish this...

New modified fingerprint chemical that fluoresces touch DNA on clothing

In sexual assault and burglary investigations, the recovery of DNA from items that have been handled by the suspect is very important....