Body farm set to open at CMU

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

Only four schools across the country have body farms for studying human remains, but right now, work is underway to bring the fifth right here to the Western Slope.

No bodies have been donated yet, but CMU’s outdoor forensic laboratory, located near animal services and the landfill, is just about ready for them.

While CMU joins elite company, one of only five schools to have a body farm, this one will be the first of its kind.

"It helps people understand what happens to the body after they decay, and one of the fields it uses most is law enforcement because it helps us look at post mortem interval," said Melissa Connor, director of the body farm, which is officially called a forensic investigation research station.

Connor said for CMU it's exciting because their station will be at the highest elevation of any of the five.

Mostly students in forensic anthropology and criminal justice will learn how snow, heat and sunlight decompose a body, but the school said they already are getting requests from people around the country to see the site, and they'll also have classes set up for law enforcement.

The building portion of the research station will be open to students this January and school officials said they expect to have a forensic anthropology minor ready for the fall.

Officials don’t know when the human bodies will arrive, right now they’re still waiting for donors, but in the meantime, students can look at the decomposition of pigs.

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