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DURING my pathology training, my supervisor once received some hair samples through the post for identification. A friend of his had discovered them while examining the collapsed veranda roof of his Pyrenean holiday cottage and suspected the culprit was one of the neighbour's cows. My supervisor dusted off an old and forgotten atlas of mammalian hair, which it appeared he had kept for just such an occasion, and set to work. A few days later, and after ruling out a wide variety of common and not so common mammalian suspects, the bovine identity of the intruder was a good as confirmed.
For some pathologists this book is likely to be used in …