News Article

News Article

Body Farms: Where Scientists Watch Corpses Decompose

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Body Farm

Ever wonder what exactly becomes of you when you sign up to donate your body to science?  Well, once you become a cadaver, your corpse can be used for all sorts of informative and educational purposes, including safety studies (aka you become a human Crash Test Dummy) and medical training (aka students cut you open and play around with your innards).  Or, you just might end up on a body farm...

While most farms are all about creating life, body farms are all about studying death.  These morbid research facilities help anthropologists and forensic scentists better understand the process of human decomposition, providing them with valuable information that they can apply to real-life investigations.  But make no mistake, though body farms are a controlled and staged environment, the decomposing bodies that litter the grounds are quite real, some of them donated by the individuals while others are donated by families or medical examiners.

At the time of writing this, four body farms exist in the United States, with the first one being started in Tennessee in 1981, by anthropologist Dr. William M. Bass.  The others have more recently sprung up in North Carolina and Texas.  Texas State University's is the largest of them all, and unique among body farms in that the effects of vulture scavenging on the decomposition process are studied there.

Yea, no thanks.  Just toss my body in a box and let me rest in peace, please!

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