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Body Farm & Death - questions ...?
12-01-2005, 03:30 PM
Post: #1
Body Farm & Death - questions ...?

I was transfixed by a programme on the tv last night, I think it was on Channel 5, it was called Body Farm.

It featured a female forensic scientist with her roots in Botany, called Patricia Weatherall [or similar]. She was an interesting character in her own right, she was one of the expert scientists who was called to give evidence at the trial of Ian Huntley.

She had collected over 700 samples of spoors, seeds, soil, grasses, plants etc from the ditch where Jessica and Holly were buried - these obviously all tied in with the samples taken from two pairs of shoes, Huntley's clothes, Huntley's vehicle, his house - and formed part of the damning evidence that convicted him of their murder.

Anyway - she was sent to Knoxville, Tennessee to visit this Body Farm - which had been set up 25 years ago by a bunch of scientists.

The Body Farm does exactly what it says on the tin, it farms bodies in the varying stages of decomposition. The scientists are able to study, take samples, look at insect life, and all aspects of body decomposition both over and under the gorund.

It was an amazing programme and I was so interested. It got me thinking why can't we have one over here? The one in Tennnessee can obviously share its findings with the rest of the world, but the actual conditions relating to their bodies are only really relevant to their flora and fauna and climate. Whereas in the UK the stages would likely be slower.

But there were mass objections from many people about the US one - mainly on religious grounds. But you know what? I am quite religious but I am also a pragmatist - and realise that it is the soul that is important not the host body.

And discovering new findings relating to a previously unknown science, and building on the knowledge that they have already make catching murderers just a bit easier.

Did anyone see this?
And do you have any particular thoughts on Body Farms?
Or objections?
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12-01-2005, 07:03 PM
Post: #2
Body Farm & Death - questions ...?
Sounds very interesting Flip and I am sorry to have missed it. Not really sure what I think in terms of the respect of the individual who is dead vs being a pragmatist. I'll mull it over!
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12-01-2005, 07:57 PM
Post: #3
Body Farm & Death - questions ...?
Patricia Wiltshire is the name you were looking for.
The science she uses is called Palynology.
http://www.anzfss2004.org.nz/Disciplines...nology.htm

They call it 'Death's Acre' Flippy. And all of the bodies used there are donations to science.
Patricia Cornwell can explain it better than I.
http://www.deathsacre.com/foreword.htm

Here is the link to the 'Body Farm' website.

http://web.utk.edu/%7Eanthrop/index.htm

They use dead pigs as well:

Far from solving a series of clues, each more fiendish than the last or chasing criminals across the country, Shari spends her days looking at and taking samples from dead pigs. Hardly sounds like the sort of forensic science that most people know but Shari’s research can be used to help solve real murder cases. What do dead pigs have with murder cases you might ask. Well Dead pigs rot in a very similar way to humans, in fact they are the best mimics of human bodies that we currently have. By looking at how long it takes a pig to break down and at the various stages it goes through we can get a good idea of how human bodies might break down. This can provide vital clues to help work out how long a person has been dead which is often a very important step in solving murder cases.
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12-01-2005, 07:59 PM
Post: #4
Body Farm & Death - questions ...?
I think its a very good and useful idea.

They could always use the bodies of people with no known relatives, or those who donate their bods to medical science.
If this research can help catch murderers, the bodies are providing an invaluable service.

M

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Home of Jimi, the Wild Child.
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12-01-2005, 10:38 PM
Post: #5
Body Farm & Death - questions ...?
Like you Flip I belive it's the soul that is important...once your dead your body is simply a bit of meat, hence I have said they can use any part for organ donation when I pop my clogs. Thinking along these lines I would say if people are willing to sign their bodies over to this type of experimentation then why not have a body farm over here. People already donate their corpses to art and medical science anyway so why not criminal/forensic science. I personally would prefer my bits and bobs be put to use fixing up someone else but I think there would be takers for this kind of dead body usage if the oportunity to sign up arose.

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13-01-2005, 04:19 PM
Post: #6
Body Farm & Death - questions ...?
Coastie Wrote:Like you Flip I belive it's the soul that is important...once your dead your body is simply a bit of meat, hence I have said they can use any part for organ donation when I pop my clogs. Thinking along these lines I would say if people are willing to sign their bodies over to this type of experimentation then why not have a body farm over here. People already donate their corpses to art and medical science anyway so why not criminal/forensic science. I personally would prefer my bits and bobs be put to use fixing up someone else but I think there would be takers for this kind of dead body usage if the oportunity to sign up arose.

This is exactly how I feel about it Coastie. Anyone can do with what they please after I am dead, of course, it would be far more beneficial to society if my death could benefit another human's quality of life.

But failing that, I have always said that my body could and, positively, should be used for medical/and now forensic research.
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