Mesa State considers ‘body farm’ for research |

Mesa State considers ‘body farm’ for research

Associated Press
Grand Junction, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A “body farm” of decomposing human corpses could be headed to Mesa State College.

Criminal science professor Michael Bozeman has proposed building the mountain West’s first “body farm” to help forensics students prepare for criminal investigations. Body farms are research sites where people who have donated their bodies to science are left so scientists can see how human bodies decompose.

Bozeman hasn’t named a specific site for Mesa State’s body farm but conceded the grisly research site would leave many unsettled.

“I hope the citizens of Grand Junction understand it may be a controversial topic and a bit squeamish for some, but it should help put Mesa State on the map,” Bozeman told The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel.

A handful of research body farms are scattered across the country, all affiliated with forensics programs. The first body farm in the United States was built 38 years ago at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Other farms followed in Texas and North Carolina.

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Bozeman said Mesa State’s would be the first body farm in dry, high-altitude conditions. Bozeman said corpses decompose differently in the high country than they would in humid conditions such as those in Tennessee.

“Heat and humidity, particularly humidity, causes more rapid decomposition because of moisture,” Bozeman said.

Humidity also attracts different bugs to the corpses. Entomology is important to forensics because different bugs appear on bodies at different times and have different effects on decomposition.

Mesa State’s body farm could be started as soon as this spring. One of its first researchers will be Mesa State senior Amanda Borman, who plans to graduate with a psychology major and a criminal justice minor in May.

Borman said the farm will help make classroom lessons more realistic.

“We’re going to have an experience other graduates won’t have had. We’ll already know what we’re getting into,” Borman said.


Information from: The Daily Sentinel,

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