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Forensic Pathology: Learning at the “Body Farm” Forensic scientists’ knowledge grows by leaps and bounds on the Body Farm.

forensic scientist looking at evidence at crime scene

Studying Forensic Science on a Farm

If you want to go to one of the many great forensic pathology schools, you must be prepared for some of the gruesome realities of the studies—and the work. As a forensic science student, you’ll find some of these realities on the Body Farm.

At this forensic pathology school near Knoxville, Tennessee, there are no crops planted, just bodies: unclaimed bodies from coroners and medical examiners, and others donated to the farm for research. What does grow at the Body Farm is forensic scientists’ knowledge of how the human body decays. Studying on the Body Farm or at other forensic pathology schools like it can lead to great criminal justice jobs.

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.

Sources: http://web.utk.edu, voanews.com