Dead Bodies Move While Decomposing, Find Researchers At Human Body Farm

Apparently, there’s a “human body farm” in Australia. The researchers who work at the facility investigate human decomposition under a bevy of environs to replicate crime scene scenarios. The findings here contribute in the improvement of forensic techniques to find, recover and identify human remains. 

Thanks to body donors! Those who arrive at the facility after death choose to do so personally, in order to give back to science. 

Not to creep you out at all but, the researchers have recently captured footage of dead bodies moving. They believe the movement could be important in death investigations. A researcher, Alyson Wilson, at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), used time-lapse cameras to film the decomposition of a donor body in half-hour intervals over 17 months.

She reveals “What we found was that the arms were significantly moving, so that arms that started off down beside the body ended up out to the side of the body”. “One arm went out and then came back in to nearly touching the side of the body again” she added.

“This research is very important to help law enforcement to solve crime and it also assists in disaster investigations,” Ms Wilson adds.

Dr Maiken Ueland, deputy director of AFTER shares “Knowing that body movement can result from the decomposition process rather than scavengers or original placement will be important when it comes to determining what happened, particularly if this movement is much greater than first believed.”

The findings are significant because crime investigators work on the assumption that the position a body was found in was the position it died in — unless there is evidence the body had been moved by other people or by animals, says forensic anthropologist and criminologist, Dr Xanthe Mallet who also works as a researcher at AFTER and supervised the study.

We need as many facilities, in different locations, in different altitudes because last year, a study conducted at the facility expressed that human remains tended to mummify rather than decompose in the Sydney environment. Whether summer or winter, the body continued to mummify even up to three years later.

“We are currently considering how the facility may be used to study different death investigation scenarios such as indoor environments, drowning, fire, or concealments, to further aid criminal and coronial investigations,” said AFTER director Associate Professor Jodie Ward.

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