>> hi and welcome. today we are celebratingworld wildlife day. i'm danielle brigida i work for the u.s. fish and wildlife service,and i'm here with ken goddard, director of the u.s. fish and wildlife service forensiclaboratory . >> welcome to our lab. what we want to dotoday is walk you through some of the things we do as i wildlife crime laboratory, andi should explain right away that while we're very used to working complex crime scenesand dealing with a wide range of sometimes gory, sometimes confusing evidence, we'venever been on a web broadcast before. this is a new experience for us. and some of usare more adept to the new social media than others, so we'll see how this goes. but wewant to be able to answer your questions and
give you a sense of what we are. what we areis, sadly, the only crime lab for wildlife in the world. we would like not to be, butat this point, we're it. by treaty, we're the crime lab for the 180 countries that signedthe treaty to enforce each otherâ€™s endangered species laws, the cites treaty, as well asthe crime lab for the wildlife working group of interpol. that's in addition to workingfor our 200 special agents who investigate wildlife crimes and about 120 wildlife inspectorsand all 50 state fish and game agencies. so, you have a sense, that we're rarely boredaround here. we get a lot of evidence in every day of the year - fedex, ups, post office,brings us packages and we go to work. and that's why i want to explain to you todayexactly what that work is. a classic example
would be us getting a whole animal in. likethis cayman crocodile. barry, our herpetologist takes one look, and he knows what this is.because we have the whole animal, we've got the species defining characteristics.we get in something like this, it's a little odd, but it's again, easy for barry to workwith because we have pretty much, the entire cayman crocodile attached to this purse.but when we get to something like this, we've lost those species defining characteristics.and so as a laboratory, before we begin to do the things a crime lab does, which is examineevidence in a triangular fashion, try to link suspect, victim, and crime scene together,we've got to figure out what our victim is to figure out if a crime has been committed.in this case we had to conduct research to
figure out what would be other species definingcharacteristics. it turns out it's the belly scales that allowed us to tell that this isa cayman crocodile purse, which we have to distinguish from this guy which is a little$10 knock off. it's made out of plastic. but, it is made from the imprint of a real hide.so, we can get a wide range of evidence in and hopefully we can explain this.>> yeah, thank you so much, ken. i'm moderating questions off camera in case anyone can'tsee me. but i have definitely collected a number of questions from online and i'm goingto be talking through some of this. this is really interesting. in a study of shape isactually morphology, correct?â and so some of the evidence you can get in you can quicklyidentify, others you can't. can you talk a
little about how this lab became the onlyone and what its mission is and what you're trying to do?>> sure. way back in 1979, i was a police crime lab director, i was hired to set thislaboratory up. it took a long time to do, in fact it took us seven years to get thefunding and to get a location. we ended up here in this beautiful valley of ashland,oregon, and began accumulating our experts, hiring people for our different sections oflaboratory which are morphology, pathology, genetics, analytical chemistry, and criminalisticpolice forensic science. we had to find experts who could tell what a cayman crocodile is.this isn't a skill that's taught in universities. the pieces, parts, products. it may take fiveor six years for someone to learn morphology.
whereas, genetics, people coming to us witha degree in biochemistry or genetics, we can easily get them into the flow of our laboratory.>> that's great. i think a lot of people are interested, and maybe a lot of them watchcsi or some of these forensic shows. can you talk about some of the procedures or processesthat you guys use that maybe are featured on some of these shows?>> for those of you who have watched the csi show, they get it wrong. they know it. i probablywas as close to anything that i was a deputy sheriff, csi, forensic scientist. but i neverwent chasing after the bad guy. i never interrogated, yelled, handcuffed, any of those sorts ofthings. my job was to work with the evidence. that's the real difference that i think peoplehave a hard time understanding and tv doesn't
really portray it right. the investigators,the special agent, the game warden, have every right to be emotional, aggressive, in goingafter the bad guy, that's their job. the prosecuting attorney again, should be emotional in takingthat individual before the courts. the defense attorney has every right to defend his client.our job is a little bit different. our job, once we have the evidence in hand, is to speakfor that evidence. to represent it in court. not to take sides, but to explain to whatdegree does this evidence link the suspect and the crime scene to the victim.>> it's really important stuff. so i guess the next big question is, in honorof world wildlife day we're talking a lot about trafficking and getting serious aboutwildlife crimes. are there any overall things
that you guys are seeing or receiving intothe lab that trends that you feel comfortable? i know you can't talk about current casesor anything like that, but trends or things that you're seeingâ >> we see flows of evidence. things like ivory materials. things like the birds, the reptiles.wood materials. in fact some of our experts are going to explain precisely what we do.>> that's great. yeah. so if you want to introduce the next person. we're going to talk a littleabout a lot of different neat things. so we're going to shift on through.>> barry baker is the chief of this morphology section. he's the fellow that could identifythis cayman crocodile, and he's going to explain what we do here.>> thank you, ken. i'm going to make some
room here. hello! yeah, so, ken had mentionedthat one of the things we commonly see as evidence items here are ivory pieces. manyof you may be aware that there's extensive poaching of elephants in the wildlife trade,that's been on the news a lot, especially recently with global efforts to curb someof those trends. and so i've brought examples here of various types of ivory today to talkbriefly about how we do some of the types of works we do here.>> that's great. i don't think everyone knows that ivory doesn't necessarily just mean elephants.it's actually a lot of different species. >> yea, exactly. so, when most people thinkof the term ivory, they think about elephants those are large iconic animals for sure. butthe term ivory really just means it's a carve-able
tooth and there are many animals that canhave ivory. some examples include walruses, even pigs or warthogs can have ivory tusks,sperm whales. there are many animals - hippopotamus, so in addition to elephants, there are severalother types that we have to consider. and on top of that, there are also fake items,too. one of the things we have to test for whether it is in fact a real biological material.is it even a tooth? that's kind of where we start.>> how do you do that? >> well, the first thing that we do is, especiallyon a carving such a this, we would look at it under an alternate light source using uvlight. and the mineral composition of ivory is different of course than what you wouldfind in plastic so those fluoresce differently
under different light sources. so we wouldlook at these using uv light, then, if it looks like it has a signature that you wouldsee in either bone or ivory, then we take a closer look at it and try to find some distinguishingcharacteristics that either we would see only in bone or only in certain types of ivory.>> that's great. so what do we have here? what are you showing us?>> so this is a part of a walrus tusk. it's just the tip of the tusk. it's been cut off.and for comparison, here's a fake piece of walrus, this is just made from a syntheticresin. it's broken here so one of the things i can do is i can look at the cross-sectionof this and compare it to a real piece of walrus ivory. and i quickly see that on thereal piece of walrus ivory, i have certain
features of the various types of dentin andcementum on this tooth, where as in the fake item i'm lacking all the features on the inside.in addition, this would fluoresce differently under uv light. so those are all clues thattell me that this is fake. >> but the lab receives both fake and realand that's one of the first steps? >> yea, and that's true of everything. notjust for ivory. it can be for leather, as ken alluded to, that one of these is plastic,and one is made from real skin. it can be from different types of medicines. it canbe, that's one of the first questions that we ask of all of our evidence, is it realor is it fake. and if it's real, what is it made out of.>> what else do you have back there that might
be interesting to show people?>> many people are familiar with narwhals, a large whale that has this big tusk or toothprotruding out of the top of its' head. this was a formerly a walking stick that's beendeconstructed, but it shows the spiral structure, characteristic of a narwhal tusk. and we alsohave sperm whale, which is commonly carved in a tradition known as scrimshaw. many ofthese are real in the trade, and there's also fake ones, and plastic ones as well. and hippopotamus,their teeth can also be carved. so here's one that's not carved, a lower tusk, and here'sone that's carved extensively. >> so how do you tell an animal that's maybebeen extinct for a while versus one like an elephant vs mastodon?>> yea, so that's a good question. if we're
talking specifically about elephant ivory,this is a cross-section of an elephant tusk here, one of the questions that we have toanswer is, is this from a modern elephant or could this be from an extinct form, suchas a mammoth or mastodon. those may not be protected in certain situations, whereas obviously,the modern elephants are. early on in the history of this lab, some of the researchersdid extensive studies on cross-sections of ivory and found some features in the microstructure that are called schreger lines and those can be measured and we can use thoseas determinations of whether this is from a modern elephant or from an extinct form.this one is modern, so that tells me this is a modern elephant. but then if the questionis, okay, is it an asian elephant or an african
elephant, then we would submit that for genetictesting and have dna done. dna can be obtained from all these types of items as well.so oftentimes come to morphology first. we authenticate it's real or not. identify itas far as we can and if there are further questions, then there's genetic analysis done.>> great. thank you, so next we're going to take a look at some other specimens. thankyou so much. >> sure! i'll move these off here so there'sroom for others. >> ivory is a very serious issue and definitelyone we've been keeping an eye on. and for our next segment, if you want to go on andintroduce yourself. >> hi. i'm pepper trail. i'm the ornithologisthere and the forensics lab, and that means
i study birds, ornithology is the study ofbirds. and we have a very diverse set of evidence types that we examine for ornithology. a lotof it deals with our native north american birds. for example, this is a spread tailof a bald eagle, an almost adult bald eagle. pure white feathers would be a five year oldor older bird. but this is probably a four year-old, almost adult. and bald eagles areactually the most common species i identify in my case work. there's still a lot of tradein their feathers, and there's also mortality that we get into the lab and we have to determinecause of death with pathology, as you'll hear a little bit later.one of the projects that we do here at the lab is a educational resource called the featheratlas. and any of you out there who are interested
in feathers and learning how to identify themcan just google feather atlas and you'll find the site. and on that site we have scans offeathers. and these are some nearly adult bald eagle tail feathers with a scale andalso not shown in this picture are data related to the feathers, how large they are and wherethey're from. so, it's really a great resource. we have over 300 species now, which is abouthalf of the north american birds, the wing feathers and the tail feathers, so it's provento be a popular public resource and you can use it to identify feathers. but it's importantto make the point that possession of feathers of native north american birds, certainlyof eagles, but even of birds you might find at the beach, you know, gull feathers, orduck feathers you might find are not legal
to possess. and that's because of a law calledthe migratory bird treaty act which was enacted in response to the plume trade back of egretsand plume birds way back in the 20th century, but that law is still on the books. if youfind feathers, enjoy them, identify them, pick them up and look at them and put themback down again and leave them where they are.but we also get quite a few international things. and this is sort of an interestingone. morphology is the study of shape is very dependent of making comparisons between evidenceitems and between known reference standards. so we have a large museum-style collectionof different birds and these are some of the most spectacular birds you can ever run into.these are four different species of macaws.
large south american parrots. this is a hyacinthmacaw, a red and green macaw, a blue and yellow macaw, and a scarlet macaw. and so these areall birds that came from zoos. so when the birds die in the zoo, they get donated tous for our collection, which is great. and we also get evidence items, like this veryspectacular south american feathered artifact, which is illegal to take out of brazil andit's also illegal to bring into the country. so, this came in originally as part of a casewhich has now been settled. but, you can see that this spectacular item has all these bluefeathers, and it might appear that maybe we've just got one or two of these macaw speciesrepresented, but when you turn the object over, not sure how well it will show up oncamera, but you can see there's a whole range
of colors. there's ones that are almost blackunderneath, ones that are dark red, ones that are red with a yellowish tinge and ones thatare really just yellow. by using our specimens we can verify that the really dark ones arethe hyacinthâ macaw, the pure yellow ones are the blue and yellow macaw, the dark redones are the red and green macaw, and the red ones with the yellowish tinge are thescarlet macaw. and these species are all protected, but they're all protected but at differentlevels by international treaty. so for our purposes it's important to be able to makea correct species id and we do that using our reference material.>> wow. alright, well this is all very important, and i think that stressing reference materialsis a common trend i'm seeing as you guys are
talking. really using things that you receivedbefore to use in future cases is an important side note.>> absolutely. >> awesome. well, i think next we want tohear from pathology. >> and did you want to see say condor wing?>> we did. condors, from my understanding are a common thing that you guys process?>> well, common may not be the right word since they're one of the most endangered speciesin the world, but yes. sadly they're fairly frequent in our casework. there are two speciesof condors in the world. the california condor is a very, very endangered north americanspecies. there used to be only 22 literally surviving in the world. but now it's up toseveral hundred. thanks to captive breeding
programs. but they still do die in the wildand they come to pathology as you'll hear in a second. just to give you a sense of howbig they are, this is the wing of a california condor, one that unfortunately died accidentallyand we got the specimen. to give you an idea just how big it is, tada. here is one of thesmallest birds you can find. here is an entire rufus hummingbird and you can see it's muchsmaller than these individual little underwing feathers of the california condor. so hereyou've got just about the whole range of sizes of birds. and we even do see these thingsin the trade believe it or not. this is an andean condor feather, the other species ofcondor. and this you can see has got a pin on it. and this actually was seized by ourcustoms officials off of the hat of a gentleman
who was coming into chicago from poland toattend an international polka competition. so there's a trade of andean condor feathersfrom peru to poland for polka hats and then back into the united states, so you can seethat the trade leads us to unexpected places. so with that segue, pathology?>> thank you so much. if you could introduce yourself and talk a little about pathologyand what that means. >> my name is rebecca kagan and i'm a veterinarianpathologist here at the lab. so that means i'm a veterinarian with special training inpathology. and so what i do in the lab is i determine cause of death and essentiallydoing autopsies on animals. >> so you showed us a necropsy a few daysago. and i'm curious, about how many of those
do you do every day or?>> a necropsy is another name for the autopsy. in the human world when we talk about doingautopsies, it's essentially the same thing. there are two pathologists who work here atthe lab and between the two of us we probably do one or two a day every day that we're here.>> can you talk a little bit about what you're showing us right now?>> i wanted to demonstrate an autopsy on the table but they wouldn't let me. it's a littlebit messy. >> it's a bit graphic.>> i brought some bones instead which are nice and clean. we have here at the lab acolony of beetles and there are job is to clean off bones sometimes for the referencespecimens that barry and pepper talked about.
and sometimes for pathology because it willlet us see the injuries that were previously covered by bloody gore. so this is an example,these are post-cleaned. this is a grizzly bear skull that we got. and what can you tellme about this skull? this is a pretty easy one.>> cause of death appears to be a bullet hole? >> yes. there's a bulletâ hole. the cleaningof the bugs allows us to see the bullet hole. and you can see which way it's going. andwhen you turn it over you can see it just blasted through the back of the skull. whatit also let us see was these little marks in the teeth. so somebody tried to, afterthe bear was dead, cut the tooth out and realized it's really actually very hard to get a beartooth out, and quit. we have tool marks on
here, we have a bullet trajectory. and wehave some more evidence that this is what killed the bear, because there is what's knownas an acute hole, so it happened right before it died. there's blood staining around thehole and the edges of the fracture are sharp. all these things give us clues about how theanimal died and what the circumstances of the death were. and you can contrast thatbullet hole to this one. this is a florida panther. and we cut through it. so pretendthat it's all one piece. but this is a florida panther scull and it was found by a roadside.so when we x-rayed the skull, we found a big chunk of metal and that will show up as abig white piece. but what we also found were injuries that looked like it had been hitby a car. the question is did somebody shoot
the cat or did it get hit by a car or howdid it die. so we give the skull to the bugs and they clean it off, you can see how differentthis hole is. it's got rounded edges and it's uneven. and this is actually the bone tryingto heal. so what happened was this cat had gotten shot in the nose and the bullet hadlodged in there a long time ago before it died. and what actually killed it was beinghit by a car. so that's some of the things that bones can tell us and that the bugs helpus to see. >> so aside from the bugs, what are some ofthe techniques you use to kind of answer these questions that you get asked from the cases?>> well, we obviously do the autopsy which is kind of like you see on television. weopen up the body and take pictures and document
our findings and we do microscopic examinationson tissue so that let's you look for other things, i mean, diseases things like that,they don't, we don't kill all of them, believe it or not. sometimes it's nobody's fault.so that helps us out there. we x-ray everything, so that can help us find bullets or fracturesin tiny places that we wouldn't normally see, and we do alternate light source images, whichis something that barry mentioned doing on some of their things. and we do it on wholebodies. and it can let us see little things that are maybe hidden in fur and feathersbecause animals are obviously covered in fur. so if you're looking for things like fiberevidence, like on csi they always do that, the alternate light source will let thingslike that glow, so artificial fibers will
actually show up and we can pick them off,if somebody moved a body, we might be able to find evidence they did that. it lets ussee burn marks. so if a bird gets electrocuted on a power line, sometimes it's very, verysubtle and the light will let those things glow. and sometimes poisons have dyes in themthat show up. so we use it for a lot of different things. that's probably the thing i use themost that i was never actually trained to do in vet school. it's kind of fun.>> i know that another kind of part of your work is histology. i don't know if you guyswant to talk about that? >> yeah. that's the microscopic exam. to methat's the fun stuff. that's looking at the secret, the things that you can't see withyour own eyes. so we will take tissue from
animals, if it's fresh enough, and processit and dye it so that when you look at it under a microscope, the different cells andbacteria and things will show up. >> it's really interesting.>> so that kind of helps us put the whole picture together of how this animal died andthe circumstances around the death. >> awesome. great. well, thank you so much.next we're actually going to go into a little more about genetics. so we started with whatyou can see and the shape of the animal and we're moving into things that maybe questionsthat are sometimes way more challenging to answer. so please introduce yourself?>> my name is dyan straughan and i work here in the genetics section of the laboratory.and i love genetics so i can talk a long time
about it. but what we do is basically takethings like barry pointed out earlier, the difference between sometimes you need to knowthe difference between asian and african elephant and those characteristics aren't there. sothey send it to genetics. and we extract the dna by a method of basically taking a smallpiece of the ivory. and turning it into powder. and then we just go through the process likewe would with blood or tissue, and you go through the extraction process, where youbasically remove all the cell wall and all the other stuff inside the cell, and justisolate the dna. and once you have the dna, then you can carry through and do pcr, whichis the polymerase chain reaction and you can sequence the dna and look at the dna sequenceor you can also look at nuclear dna, which
is what they call dna fingerprinting in thehuman crime world where you get half from the mom and half from the dad. that's thenuclear dna. so we use both mitochondrial sequencing and the dna fingerprinting to dothe work that we do in genetics, which is species id. and we also do geographic assignmentfor some species. and then of course individual identification. so you know, we can say thatmeat in the freezer came from the same animal as that gut pile in the field there.>> tell me a little bit more about some of the questions you commonly get that you haveto kind of piece out. >> we can get all sorts of, basically likeeverybody else here in the lab, we can get anything from you know your north americanspecies to your african or asian species.
we can get anything in the world coming inthrough here. so a lot of the questions that we're asked to do is what is this. what speciesis this. and because i think pepper alluded to that the laws are different, dependingon what species question you have. so, for instance, with the wolfs, i work a lot withwolfs, so i tend to talk about them quite a bit. but with the wolves, sometimes, let'ssee, before they started going on and off the list, you had an area in the north andsouth dakotas where montana wolves were protected at a different level than wolves in minnesotaand from the wolves in yellowstone. they were all three different levels. so if you founda wolf in one of the dakotas, where did it come from? did it come from montana, the yellowstoneexperimental population, or did it come from
minnesota? or is it even a wolf? is it a hybridof some sort? those are the kinds of questions we got for the wolves.but we can get, you know, somebody smuggling, that seems odd, but somebody may try to smugglein meat products, just like people here eat elk and deer, some people from other countrieswant the taste from their homeland and they try to bring it in and so they have meat products.what is this species, can they have it, can they not have it, and what it is. if there'sno morphological characteristics, which often there isn't with meat, it's up to us to tryto determine what it is. we also get a lot of questions, like i said,with the matching. you know, is this feather from the same eagle. is this deer carcassbelong to the gut pile that was taken from
a national park. those type of questions.so we can get the questions all over across the board.the one thing we can't do that we get a lot of questions, is how old is the animal thatthis comes from. the dna won't tell you how old it is. but dna will tell you what speciesit is and we can use it to match blood stains and carcasses and so forth like that.>> so how long does it take to process some of this data? is it pretty quick or does ittake a few weeks? >> well, that depends. it definitely doesn'ttakeâ within the 45 minute period as you see on tv. that is definitely not. even on mauryâ povichwhere they have the results. that's not how it works. if everything goes according tothe plan and the dna is really good so, you
have good tissue and good blood samples notdegraded samples, ivory samples are harder to get through, so that takes longer. youcan do it presumably in about a week. that's if everything goes well. sometimes it willtake much longer than that. if you go through the dna extraction process and you go throughthe pcr and you don't get a product, now you have to determine why. is it because therewas no dna to start with? is it because the process through pcr that you use to amplifythe piece to get your sequence, is it because those, what they call primers, don't workon the species that you're looking at? you were told that maybe they thought the specieswas elephant. but it turns out that it's not. if there's no morphological characteristics,we have to go on what we think it might be.
and dna doesn't match all dna, right? that'swhy everything is different. why we use dna to determine species. and so we, we in thegenetics section, if there are morphological characteristics, we work really closely withthe other departments here. because we don't know. like i said, we don't know if the dnais not working because there's no dna there, if it's not working because it's not an elephant,it's something completely different. or if we also don't know if maybe there is dna therebut it's inhibited by some chemical process that was in the substrate that it came from.so it can be really difficult. so the time question can go anywhere froma week to months, sometimes, depending on what the problem is. or the question is. buti think that, you know, the good rule of thumb,
though, is it's not 45 minutes.>> thank you so much. that's really interesting stuff.all right. so the other big thing about the wildlife trade and just in general is thatwe don't often think of our plants and how they're treated. so if you want to introduceyourself, we've got some discussion around that.>> hi. my name is ed espinosa and i'm a chemist here at the lab and most of what i've beendoing the last few years is looking at timber-related trade issues. as everything else there issustainable and legal logging and we support that 100 %. there is also quite a bit of illegallogging and unsustainable. so the questions that we get tasked with is what does it reallymean when you have evidence that comes in
as wood and where does it come from.and before i really talk about how the techniques work, i would just like to remind everybodythat our habitat is so precious to our existence. i recently had a friend while they were atchurch on sunday, they returned to their home and it had burned down. a mom and dad andthree kids lost everything they had. they did not have their games, they did not haveany clothing, they had only what is left on them. that is what habitat destruction isreal impact in people's lives. and in illegal logging that's what happens. you do not displacea single species. so far we've been talking about species per species. but many timesin illegal logging cases, they just clearcut a whole forest displacing a plethora of speciesthat no longer have a place to live and perish
as a consequence. so the animal extinguishesare a consequence of the illegal logging. but most of have a have a hard time of thinkingof wood as being something we should protect because, you know, it's pretty, it's inert,you know how many trees have we really hugged? i mean, there's a couple of people who maydo that, but you know most of us it's just a material. so this is an example, an assemblageof a certain types of species that are used in trade frequently. these round pieces ofwood, they're called cookies, they tend to be in a case that involves a type of dalbergiathat is only found in madagascar and no other place in the world. everybody has seen themovies about madagascar, and we know that in madagascar we have this assemblage of speciesthat are so unique that they don't exist any
other place in the world but here we're cuttingtrees specifically so that we can produce different, very high items, very expensive.and i challenge you viewers out there, just sign into alibaba.com today, do a little searchon rosewood, and find out that you too can buy some of this. but the entry fee to buyis around 5 million dollars. so this is not something that most of us use every day.here we have another example of, i'll finish this, this is a whole series of black woods.most of us consider black woods to be ebony. it is classical. and because we live in theunited states and we don't live in africa, we tend to think that all ebony is 100 % blackand so if you cut any ebony tree that there you're going to have that. it turns out inreality only one out of every ten trees of
this group, it's diospyros, is completelyblack. so in order for us to receive a completely dark piece of wood like that, typically theycut down nine other trees. so in order to get a complete blackboard, there's ten treesthat are knocked down, one of them turns out to be beneficial. again, going back to habitatdestruction. that's exactly what's happening. >> and would you see large numbers of thosecome in? >> we have had cases that deal with eightto nine pallets full of little pieces of wood like this. this is used primarily for theguitar industry, they're usually used in fret boards because it's hard material, very hard,so that's what this use is. we also have a whole bunch of very uniquerose woods. these tend to come from central
america and south america. as already wasdescribed, some of these are legal, some of these are illegal. these type of trees, thistype of wood is a type of dalbergia that occurs in brazil. we have them coming from boliviafrom peru. some of it is used to make violin bows. some of the best violin bows are madefrom endangered trees. but we don't think of violin bows as adding to habitat destruction.and at this end we have an assemblage of products made out of a tree, it's called agar wood,but it's really from a species called aquilaria that is used only for its scent. and all ofthese products are only for scent purposes. this is some samples of agar wood that arethe whole pieces of wood that can be used. you put it in a little, under coals and youcan smell them. there's incense sticks, perfumes,
there are incense sticks from vietnam, theseare a particular samples that come from the middle east. and so pretty much all culturesand all religions have gotten used to getting wood products for scent purposes. and theillegal logging going on in malaysia, indonesia and part of the southeast asian peninsulais incredible only to address some of the needs we have for smelling nice. so a lotof illegal logging, i'd like to wrap it up, deals with habitat destruction and that isthe worst part about it. >> so, as a chemist, you look at these piecesand you can actually kind of tell what, what information and what you're looking for tocatch people? >> so yeah. what we have been doing here atthe lab is we've developed some special techniques
that have been looking at the chemical distributionof components that are found in the different species of wood that are protected. it turnsout that these are really bad candidates for morphology as you can see, trees are describedby the flowers, by the leaves, by the... but we can't see that here, turns out that hardwood, which is the middle part of the tree has very little, and very degraded dna, andso this has been very challenge for individuals trying to do dna, so we have developed a techniquelooking at chemistry, and with these chemical tools, we can assign species of these woodtypes. >>and do you also find that there are fakemedicinals, scents out there that you come across?>>we published some work on all of the agar
wood that we have analyzed, and we've probablyanalyzed close to 200 different brands and curiously a large percentage of the productsthat are already ready for commercial use, not the raw wood are in fact, fakes. and sometimesthere are woods in which they add oils to give them a scent but they're not the realagar wood, and so in those cases the u.s. fish and wildlife service does not prosecutethem, it's legal, you can have your stinky scent back, and it goes back to trade.>> thank you so much. i think that is a really interesting part of trade that people don'toften consider. so i really appreciate your work on that.>> back again. >> so we've been receiving a lot of questions,actually.
>> good, fantastic.>> we still have a couple of things obviously to talk about. but before we even go intothat, you know, i'd love to hear some of the ways that all of these different pieces helpactually catch the bad guy, if you will. we've seen a lot of this, and how this actuallyhelps and maybe talk about how you go to court. >> sure. for those of you who watch csi-typeshows on tv, you get the sense that scientists are out there kicking doors and dragging peopleinto court and all that. that's so far from the reality. what you're seeing here fromthe five scientists who talked to you is our work which is getting at the items of evidence.figuring out their meaning, their value, and trying to link the suspect, the victim, andcrime scene together with the physical evidence.
that is our job. our job varies so much. youheard have been hearing six of the fifteen scientists in this laboratory describe whatmight before he one day in the couple hundred in the year that various continuously. wenever know what's coming. dr. espinosa was a little modest here. he's our chief scientistas well as one of our chemists. he is deeply involved in wood analysis but he has foundhimself wading around in decomposed guts of a 2,000 year old walrus looking for cannonfragments. wildlife forensics varies tremendously. it's a fascinating job and our primary jobis to assist the investigators. help them first of all find out if a crime has beencommitted. you know, what is the victim. try to find evidence, traces of a suspect or maybemany suspects, using classic things like fingerprints
and foot prints and tire tracks. matchingbullets back to a fire arm. the cause of death that you heard about. just a little whileago is probably one of the more complex things we do because most of the science sectionsare involved. becky may find stomach contents that she needs to identify, that may go tomorphology. if there's enough structure, hair, fur, it may go to genetics to find out whatthat meal was all about. if we're looking for pesticide poison possibilities from blood,urine, liver, kidney samples, we may find projectiles, bullets, arrows in the body.we may have an arrow sticking through the head of an animal, it doesn't mean that'sthe cause of death. we're constantly trying to figure things out. it's a fascinating job.i'm very anxious to see some of the questions
that have been posted here.>> one question, i think we're getting two repeats, but one is how do you get into thiswork and how does wildlife forensics become your job.>> i think all of us got into this by happenstance. it was the first big laboratory, before usthere was a handful of 5, 6 scientists who did this kind of work. we're looking to bringon a second generation of young scientists. they may take five six years to train someonein morphology, whereas we might get a young scientist right out of college going rightinto dna analysis. pathology, far more complex. a lot more training. the analytical chemistry,the instrumentation is changing so rapidly. but something i learned, i was told very earlyin my career, as a young trainee deputy sheriff,
is not to expect law enforcement to resolveissues. it almost never does. the best i was going to be able to do was hold things atbay to keep things from getting worse until smarter people came along. it's my sincerehope that the six of us today have been talking to some of those smarter people.>> yeah. i can see how this is growing field. one of the other questions we're getting ishow can we know or what if we suspect something is illegal. how do weâ where do they go?>> first of all, don't engage with the suspects, please. in wildlife work, interestingly enough,the victims we're trying to protect can be very hazardous to us. the grizzly bear maynot comprehend that we're trying to do something helpful. we have to be careful that we don'tbecome a victim ourselves in engaging with
some of the wildlife. the work isâ well,it's worldwide, there are so many species out there. we're constantly reacting to whatthe game wardens, conservation officers, special agents, wildlife rangers tell us in termsof where they're going with their investigations. our job is keep up with them with the science.it's fascinating work. we're going to be looking for that second generation. i hope that someof those may be people listening today. even learning what a blogâ site is. this is fascinating.>> that is something that we do want to stress is that we definitely can't answer every question.but we, this is not a one and done. we want to continue answering the questions. and we'llbe posting this video on our blog. and we'll make sure that you know we keep you apprisedof this incredible work. i mean, this lab
is doing stuff that, you know, i think ina lot of ways is solving crimes that, you know, we didn't even think we could ten yearsago. >> i could tell you 25 years ago when we gotthis laboratory going, i had no idea that we were doing what we're doing today. it justwasn't comprehendible. i can't imagine what the next 25 years are going to be like. i'llbe retired hanging around the hillside watching these folks and cheering them on.>> thank you so much. and we'll catch up with everyone online.>> thank you.