Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Body Farm

The Younger Son and I have talked about this for some time -he brought it up, and I don't mind discussing topics some might consider morbid- and we have decided we want to donate our bodies to the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Center. Besides avoiding the continually sky-rocketing cost of funerals, this provides a service and keeps our bodies from being stuck in an air-tight box in a vault. Not much "ashes to ashes and dust to dust" involved in current funeral practices around here. It's not that we particularly want to donate our bodies to science, but the idea of natural decomposition just appeals to us as an alternative to the death-denying funeral culture. One of the F.A.Q.s:
2. What happens to my body after it is donated?

Once we receive a body, we assign an identifying number and we place it at the Anthropology Research Facility (ARF), our outdoor laboratory. The body may be used in a decomposition project or not. Regardless, all of donations go to the ARF and are allowed to decompose naturally.
Information on body donations is here. There's a wikipedia article here. The Utne Reader has an article. did an interview with the founder. There was a story on NPR's Weekend Edition. has a video. There's also a short (warning: graphic, not for the squeamish) video tour at youtube hosted by founder Dr. William Bass. There is a Facebook group.

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