Learn How Forensic Pathology Schools Teach the "Body Farm"
Forensic scientists' knowledge grows by leaps and bounds on the Body Farm.
Studying Forensic Science on a Farm
A Farm Like No Other
The Body Farm is the Anthropological Research Facility—the forensic pathology school—at the University of Tennessee started by Dr. William Bass in 1971. It was the first research facility of its kind where students could scientifically study the decomposition of the human body.
This exemplary forensic pathology school provides an ideal setting to scientifically document postmortem changes. At this outdoor field laboratory, forensic science students study body identification, cause of death, and the factors involved in time-since-death estimates. This research is central to the advancement of the field of forensic science and critically important to those working in the criminal justice system.
What You'll Study On the Body Farm
Students at forensic pathology schools like the Body Farm learn to recover human remains and determine the age, sex, ancestry and stature of unknown victims.
Identifying human remains requires some potentially unpleasant research:
- Examining teeth and bones
- Studying rate of decomposition and insect development cycles
- Measuring odor and testing body leakage in the soil
- Documenting findings with photographs and note-taking
Studying rate of decay helps forensic scientists determine when a person died. At the Body Farm—and other forensic pathology schools like it—students leave corpses out in the elements to study what happens as the body decomposes.
The goal is always the same: to simulate crime scenes so that students can document decay, and learn to identify future victims (or the time and circumstances of their death). With so many forces influencing the decomposition of the human body, it is sometimes difficult—if not impossible—to determine time of death or identity. And that's why continued forensic research is so important.
So if you are intrigued by forensics, do your research now. Decide which forensic pathology school is right for you, and apply to the forensic science degree programs that best meet your needs. Start preparing your forensic future today.
Sources: http://web.utk.edu, voanews.com
Did You Know?
In identifying victims of disasters such as plane crashes, forensic scientists find the following identifiers most useful:
- Dental records (93%)
- Physical characteristics (44%)
- Jewelry (42%)
- Personal documents (30.5%)
- Fingerprints (30.5%)
The total adds up to more than 100% because identification is rarely made on the basis of any one factor.