(Received 29 May 1996; accepted 10 September 1996)
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The genesis of this symposium was the biological, chemical, and soil evidence presented as part of court proceedings involving a private plane crash near Ruidoso, New Mexico in December, 1989 (Brunk, this series). The plaintiffs claimed that a flaw in the engine design allowed debris to enter and accumulate in a fuel component causing it to malfunction. This biological material included trichomes (plant hairs; Bates, Anderson, and Lee), pollen, (Lewis; A. Graham), and insects (Rozen and Eickwort). Chemical analyses aided in identifying an amorphous substance associated with the trichomes, pollen, and insect remains (Liddell). The evi- dence from soil analyses proved important in addressing another contention by the plaintiffs that soil, in addition to biological matter, was part of the engine contaminants that caused the crash (Daugherty). Although biological evidence in the form of DNA “fingerprinting” is well known, a significant part of the evidence presented here derived from a broad array of other organic materi- als, which although less widely used, proved central in deciding the outcome of the case.
Professor, Kent State University, Kent, OH
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