Courtesy of Alan Whanger

Facial image of the Man of the Shroud surrounded by "the ghost of flowers past."
The topic of the last press conference on Monday, August 2, at the XVI International Botanical Congress in St. Louis seemed to have a nice mix of classical scientific observation, image analysis, and palynology (pollen identification), as well as great historical interest. A team led by Avinoam Danin, a professor of evolution, systematics, and ecology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, had tentatively identified the ghosts of flowers past on the famed shroud of Turin.1 The work resurrected the idea that the shroud held the body of Christ, countering radiocarbon dating evidence that it is of medieval origin.2

This new look at an old story was sexy stuff, and by Tuesday morning the press room at the conference was festooned with qualified but largely uncritical clips from the...

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