body farm canada

Canada's first human body farm is now accepting corpses as donations

Canada is getting its very-first body farm, where scientists can study the decomposition process of real human corpses.

The plot of land in Becancour, Quebec — just outside of Trois-Rivieres — is already accepting cadaver donations for when it opens in spring 2020.

The bodies will be placed in situations resembling common crime scenes, from being buried in shallow graves to being hidden away in vehicles.

Forensic researcher Shari Forbes will head the Secure Site for Research in Thanatology, which will shed light on things like time of death by examining how and when insects and microbes consume human flesh, as well as how far into decay DNA and fingerprints can still be retrieved from a body.

The practice has been a reality in the U.S. for decades, usually at university research facilities like those at the University of Tennessee and Texas State University.

Australia opened its first forensic cemetery outside of Sydney, dubbed The Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research, in 2016. One also opened in the Netherlands in 2017.

The chance to learn from human remains at such facilities has been called "a game changer for forensic anthropology," helping a vast number of students and professionals in different disciplines, from crime investigators to soil scientists to medical examiners — even human remains detection dogs.

Before the advent of these cadaver farms, much post-mortem research had to be conducted on other animals, like pigs.

The opportunity to study the degradation of an actual human body, especially in a particular environment and climate, is rare and invaluable.

Forbes tells CTV News that she and her team have a specific aim to further understand "what happens when a body is in sub-zero temperatures, when there's a lot of snow on the ground," and also how Canada's cyclical freezing and thawing affects decomposition.

People can sign up to donate their bodies to the forensic farm online.

Lead photo by

Federal Bureau of Investigation

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