News

David Rivers, Ph.D., Interviewed on WHYY-FM The Pulse

David Rivers, Ph.D. was interviewed on WHYY-FM, The Pulse. Below is an excerpt from the interview, Bugs on bodies: how flies can help and hurt a crime scene.

It's difficult to gross out David Rivers, a professor of biology at Loyola University Maryland. He's a forensic entomologist, meaning he spends his time looking at insects on and around dead bodies.

"People are repulsed by insects but they are fascinated by death and the macabre," he says.

Insects and bugs are drawn to dead bodies, and Rivers looks at what's crawling around at a crime scene for clues.

"If you really have a good understanding of the insects, and who should be here and when should they be here in terms of the location, then you can actually determine, has that body been moved? In some cases, you can actually use insects as surrogates for human tissue. If a body is really badly decomposed but you suspect that this person has been shot, then sometimes you can actually grind up the fly maggots and detect gunshot residue in their body," he says.

The full interview can be heard online at Newsworks.