Have you ever heard of body farms?
A body farm is a place where students and scientists can study the decomposition rate of bodies, both pig and human, in various locations and conditions. Research is done on various aspects of decomposition, including the effect of bugs, different soils, plants, and more. Most body farms are in the USA, but last year one opened in NSW as much of the US data isn’t relevant to Australia’s climate and conditions. And would you believe it, they were overwhelmed with the number of people wanting to donate their bodies – over 500!
I read early this week that a university in Michigan is opening a new body farm to expand the research to cold weather climates. The FROST program, as it’s known, is currently preparing the plot by researching the insect life in the ground using the bodies of pigs. Human bodies will be introduced during spring (northern hemisphere). The human remains will be covered to prevent most large scavenger animals from destroying the body too quickly, and once the body has decomposed, the bones are then used for further research before becoming part of a permanent collection.
A bit gruesome—perhaps—but fascinating!
If you want to read more (no graphic images in these):
NSW body farm donations
60 Minutes article and video on NSW body farm
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