“If you say someone did it and you say it was at least a year, could it have been two weeks instead?” said Michelle Hamilton, an assistant professor at the school’s forensic anthropology research facility. “It has larger implications than what we thought initially.”Grits first heard about Texas' body farms last year from an SHSU prof who was excited by the work, and indeed, in its macabre fashion, this is important, cutting edge stuff, applying the scientific method to subjects about which medical examiners have given expert opinions for years with little hard data to support definitive conclusions. Fascinating stuff.
The vulture study, conducted on 26 acres near the Texas campus, stemmed from previous studies that used dead pigs, which decompose much like humans. Scientists set up a motion-sensing camera that captured the vultures jumping up and down on the woman’s body, breaking some of her ribs, which investigators could also misinterpret as trauma suffered during a beating.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Reaping what you sow at the body farm
I don't know what if anything it says about us, but there are five "body farms" in the United States where scientists perform real-world studies on how corpses decay, and two of them are in Texas, at Sam Houston State and Texas State Universities. AP has a story about the body farm in San Marcos (TSU), which has been studying the relation between vultures and decomposition, including findings that could have implications in possible innocence cases.