Science

Australia’s first body farm aims to answer forensic questions

Any fan of Patricia Cornwell’s crime fiction novel The Body Farm will have a reasonably good idea of what goes on in one.

For those in the dark, a body farm is a large expanse of bushland where donated human bodies are buried for the purposes of scientific study. There are several in the United States, but up until now there haven’t been any in Australia.

Some of them may be placed on the surface, some may be placed in burials, there may be other concealed environments that we’ll mimic and then we’ll just start studying the decomposition process. Shari Forbes, Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research

The country’s first body farm, the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research is due to officially open early next year. It’s come about after an exhaustive search for the right patch of land and the right partners.

It has to be a remote location but still accessible to police, to forensic investigators. It also needs the support of a university with a body donation program, says Shari Forbes, a forensic chemist and the farm’s coordinator.

Forbes can’t reveal the exact location but can say that it’s at the base of the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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