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Chapter Five Forensic Science

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True or False:
1) Pollen is an example of trace evidence.
Answer: True
2) Through microscopic examination of pollen or spores, it is possible to identify a specific plant that produced that pollen or pore.
Answer: False
3) All Pollen & Spores are produced continuously throughout the year.
Answer: False
4) With the exception of bacterial endospores, pollen & spores are reproductive structures.
Answer: True
5) Spores are produced only by fungi.
Answer: False
6) Flowering plants or angiosperms are the only plants that produce pollen.
Answer: False
7) Pollen & Spore identification can provide important trace evidence in solving crimes dues to their structures. Answer: True
8) Pollen present on the victim that matches pollen from a suspect provides strong evidence that the suspect is guilty.
Answer: False
9) In unsolved cases, it is possible that pollen evidence embedded within a rug could be viewed years after the crime was committed & used to help convict a suspect.
Answer: True
10) A pollen fingerprint is the number & type of pollen grains found in a geographic area at a particular time of year. Answer: True

Multiple Choice
11) All of the following are true of both angiosperms & gymnosperms except:
a) Both form pollen at some time during their life cycle
b) Both form fruits that surround their seeds
c) Both rely on sexual reproduction
d) Both produce sperm & eggs
Answer: B

12) The male part of a flowering plant is called the:
a) Seed
b) Exine
c) Pistil
d) Stamen
Answer: D

13) The spore-producing part of fungi is called the:
a) Sporangium
b) Endospore
c) Ovule
d) Anther
Answer: A

14) Which type of pollen producer is useful for forensic studies because of the abundance of pollen produced?
a) Aquatic angiosperms
b) Self-pollinators
c) Gymnosperms
d) All angiosperms
Answer: C

15) Some important criteria for collecting pollen or spore samples include all of the following except:
a) Avoiding contamination
b) Using sterile equipment
c) Maintaining a chain of custody
d) Putting all plant samples in a plastic bag
Answer: D

Short Answer
16) Compare & Contrast each type of pollination by identifying the strengths & weaknesses of pollination for each group.

Answer: Animal pollinated plants are strong, which make them easier to be found during evidence collection but not a plentiful as wind pollen. Wind dispersed pollen produces large amounts of pollen, which makes it easier to be found in forensic science during evidence collection, but it’s harder to direct find a suspect with this type of pollen. Water dispersed pollen absolutely has to stay in water or it will degenerate. So this type of pollen doesn’t exactly help in forensic science unless a victim was drowned.

17)Describe how pollen can be used to determine if a crime occurred in the city or in the country or during the day or night.

Answer: Pollen can be used to determine if a crime occurred in the city or in the country or during the day or night because country & city conditions are different. The air is more polluted in the city than in the country, which can affect plant cycles. Also, the city has a lot more sidewalks & other pavements, shaded areas and not very much fertile soil for plants to even grow. This majorly limits the types and survival of plants in that environment. Plants mostly flower in the daytime opposed to the night time because there is sun only in the daytime. This means that there is more pollen in the air during the day as opposed to the night time.

18) Describe the different places at a crime scene where a forensic palynologist might collect pollen or spore evidence to link a suspect to a crime scene.

Answer: Hair, Soil, Clothing, in the nasal passages, on eyelashes, on furniture and in a car are a few of the places where a forensic palynolgist might collect pollen or spore evidence to link a suspect to a crime scene. You can collect pollen on the eyelashes or the nasal passages because those hairs are there to stop foreign objects from entering the eye or nose. Therefore when pollen is breathed in, the hairs that line the nasal passages catch the pollen, same goes for the eyelashes. Pollen can be collected from your clothes because it can cling on to the fabric. Same with your hair.

19) Describe any special devices or instruments that would be needed to analyze pollen and spore evidence.

Answer: To analyze pollen & spore evidence, you may need a microscope, gloves, forceps/tongs, bags, tape. You will need a microscope to zoom in on the pollen or spore grains because pollen can be very small. You will need
gloves so you don’t happen to contaminate the evidence you are handling. You would need tape and bags to store the evidence one analyzed.

20) Summarize the characteristics of pollen and spores that make their identification and analysis useful in crime scenes.

Answer: Pollen grains are very small (microscopic) and have resistant structures, along with unique colors and shapes. Each of these characteristics help within analyzing and solving crimes.

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