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Canada’s first ‘body farm’ will study how dead bodies decompose

By New York Post

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(NEW YORK POST) – Canada’s first-ever “body farm” — a research facility for scientists to study decomposition — is slated to open in the spring.

The outdoor body farm in the Quebec city of Becancour will be a place for forensic scientists to see how dead bodies decay in different kinds of states, CTV News reported.

The bodies, which are all donated to the facility, will be buried in shallow graves placed in vehicles, while others will simply be placed on the ground outside to expose them to the natural element, according to the news outlet.

“Our team goes out there every single day to understand how decomposition is occurring in those different environments and that’s how we get a better understanding of time since death by studying these over weeks, months, and even years,” Shari Forbes, the director of the body farm, told CTV News.

At the body farm, the scientists will monitor how bodies decompose in different temperatures, how long DNA, fingerprints and teeth can be retrieved and how the life stages of insects that will ultimately feed off the bodies can help to determine the time of death.

“We intend that it will be used by police in forensic services, so we want to make sure our research improves the way we search for victims, how we recover and identify them, and estimating time since death,” said Forbes.

Forbes noted that while there are other body farms in places like the US, Australia and the Netherlands, the one in Canada will be unique due to the country’s cold climate.

“Most facilities are located in very warm climates and in Canada, in particular Quebec, for six months of the year that simply doesn’t apply to us,” Forbes told the news outlet.

“We’re particularly interested in understanding what happens when a body is in sub-zero temperatures, when there’s a lot of snow on the ground, and how that freeze and then the thaw process might actually change the rate of decomposition compared to what we’d see in these other facilities,” she said.

Forbes added that all of the facility’s research “is dictated by what the police and forensic services need.”

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