A fascinating new piece of research on determining the time of death could be just the sort of thing to weave into a DI Horton crime novel


This piece of fascinating research comes courtesy of The Writers Forensics Blog and is something that might come in useful in one of my DI Horton crime novels when Dr Gaye Clayton the pathologist is determining the time of death of some poor victim.

paramecium  are tiny creatures covered with microscopic hair-like oars known as cilia, which they use to move around in water. Similar cilia line your nose and airways. They help to remove inhaled dust and dirt from your lungs and nose. Apparently they continue moving, at a progressively slower rate, for up to 20 hours after death.

Biagio Solaria and his colleagues at the University of Bari in Italy have studied this phenomenon and found that this decline in mobility is predictable and, observing the beating rate of cadaver, cilia might provide an accurate time of death in the first 24 hours after death. They will report their results in the upcoming International Symposium on Advances in Legal Medicine in Frankfurt, Germany.


This is something for this crime author to keep her eye on, or rather sniff out in due course!

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