Thursday, July 31, 2008

howdy pardners

Dr. Bill Bass founded the Body Farm because corpses in Tennessee are different from the ones he had examined in Kansas. In order to determine the time of death, he needed to study the decomposition process. Bodies decayed faster in summer than winter. The rate depends on the climate. The forensic anthropologists in Knoxville came up with a formula based on the average daily temperature. It works pretty well but to truly advance the science, more body farms must be opened in different climates. Dr. Bass has spoken about this in some of our radio interviews over the years. A new article on the How Stuff Works site also describes the dilemma a couple of pages in.

The second body farm after Knoxville's is at Western Carolina University. The climate there is almost identical to here. At least they made an effort. I think It would be more useful to have a body farm on the Carolina shore than in the mountains. Maybe their farm helped convince the next school to try one.

A new body farm is about to open at Texas State University. Their clever logo shows a skull wearing a cowboy hat. You may recall that the locals were concerned about buzzards when the plans were first announced. The Fox affiliate in Austin recently aired a report about the new place. The news anchor said that the San Marcos ranch will be the largest body farm in the world. Texans are always talking about size, aren't they?

Lastly, I came across a blog by someone who attended a summer class at the original Body Farm. It's worth a click if you have a minute.

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