Document Detail

Forensic species identification of elephant (Elephantidae) and giraffe (Giraffidae) tail hair using light microscopy.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20549391     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Here we present methods for distinguishing tail hairs of African elephants (Loxodonta africana), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), and giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) from forensic contexts. Such hairs are commonly used to manufacture jewelry artifacts that are often sold illegally in the international wildlife trade. Tail hairs from these three species are easily confused macroscopically, and morphological methods for distinguishing African and Asian tail hairs have not been published. We used cross section analysis and light microscopy to analyze the tail hair morphology of 18 individual African elephants, 18 Asian elephants, and 40 giraffes. We found that cross-sectional shape, pigment placement, and pigment density are useful morphological features for distinguishing the three species. These observations provide wildlife forensic scientists with an important analytical tool for enforcing legislation and international treaties regulating the trade in elephant parts.
Bonnie C Yates; Edgard O Espinoza; Barry W Baker
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2010-06-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  Forensic science, medicine, and pathology     Volume:  6     ISSN:  1556-2891     ISO Abbreviation:  Forensic Sci Med Pathol     Publication Date:  2010 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-08-24     Completed Date:  2010-12-08     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101236111     Medline TA:  Forensic Sci Med Pathol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  165-71     Citation Subset:  IM    
US National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Ashland, OR 97520-1310, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Commerce / legislation & jurisprudence
Conservation of Natural Resources / legislation & jurisprudence
Crime / legislation & jurisprudence
Forensic Sciences
Hair / ultrastructure*
Hair Color
Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
Species Specificity*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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