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Outside the Lab Forensics, Training and education, Profession

Forensic Science at FIRS

As most scientists who study the process of death and decomposition know, research facilities are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Every region’s climate, geography, and ecology are different, so what happens to one body in a particular location over time may be very different compared with another body at a second site. And that’s why a single human decomposition facility for taphonomic research and forensic investigations is not enough; however, there are only eight such facilities in the world – six in the continental United States, one in southern Australia, and one in the Netherlands.

But even six facilities is perhaps insufficient in a country as geographically diverse as the United States. Of the six, only one – the Forensic Investigation Research Station (FIRS) at Colorado Mesa University – is situated in environmental conditions that represent most of the western half of the country (see Figure 1), making it a vital hub for research, teaching and services in the field of forensic taphonomy.

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About the Author

Melissa Connor

Melissa Connor is Director of the Forensic Investigation Research Station and Professor of Forensic Anthropology at Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, USA.

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