trees

Trees and shrubs might reveal the location of decomposing bodies

Foliage colour might help forensic researchers locate decomposing bodies

Evgenii Parilov / Alamy

Plants may be able to help investigators find dead bodies. Botanists believe the sudden flush of nutrients into the soil from decomposition may have an impact on nearby foliage. If scientists can understand those changes – for instance, the effect they have on leaf colour – they may be able to identify where remains are buried simply by studying foliage features in aerial images.

“If we’re able to use the plants as sensors, at least first as indicators or crude indicators, we can identify whether a missing body may …

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