Dr Stewart Fallon holding a Caucasian skull dated to before 1950 that was found on the Manning River in Taree, New South Wales. Photo: Stuart Hay

Science detectives: helping crack cold cases

Police and archaeologists have called on scientists at a national radiocarbon-dating facility at ANU to help solve centuries-old cold cases and other mysteries, as WILL WRIGHT reports.

Human remains found on a vacant lot next to an inner Brisbane park in June last year promptly turned the area into a crime scene. Police revealed a jaw bone, leg bone and arm bone had been discovered in Teneriffe Park.

Was this evidence for a new murder trial or perhaps a cold case waiting to be reopened?

Queensland Police turned to Dr Stewart Fallon and Dr Rachel Wood from the Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory at the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences to help crack the case. The ANU laboratory is one of just two radiocarbon-dating laboratories in Australia.