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Forensic Paleontology: A Tool for “Intelligence” and Investigation

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Paleontology and facies analysis proved to be useful tools in activities of intelligence and investigation on some criminal cases, as well as in in‐court activities, thus defining the “forensic paleontology” area of study. The definition was given by analyzing its possible specific applications and excluding some marginal activities. The reliability of forensic paleontology was then assessed in light of the results achieved in some actual cases and in an ad hoc simulation. The investigated cases concerned intelligence and ordinary law enforcement activities. Special attention was paid to crimes against the cultural heritage. Ex post re‐examination of the cases substantiated the value of this scientific branch in investigations, while stressing the possible difficulties in explaining its results to lay persons. Therefore, careful preparation of technical and linguistic preliminary notes for judges, prosecutors, and lawyers as well as a special training for consultants are recommended before presenting results as exhibits in in‐court cross‐examinations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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