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Subspecialties Forensics, Analytical science

A Body Farm First

They already exist in the Netherlands, Australia, and the US – but the human decomposition facility set to open in Becancour, Quebec, later in 2020 will be Canada’s first. Popularly known as “body farms,” these research sites play a crucial role in our understanding of the decomposition process in different environments (1). From shallow graves to empty vehicles, human bodies donated to the institution will be studied over days, weeks, and months to monitor a variety of factors associated with decay.

“Most facilities are located in very warm climates but, in Canada, we’re particularly interested in understanding what happens when a body is in sub-zero temperatures,” said Shari Forbes, Director of the Secure Site for Research in Thanatology, in a recent TV interview (2). Forbes aims to work closely with police and forensic services to improve the way that bodies are recovered, identified, and analyzed to estimate time since death.

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  1. S Forbes, The Pathologist (2018). Available at:
  2. CTV News (2019). Available at:
About the Author
Luke Turner

While completing my undergraduate degree in Biology, I soon discovered that my passion and strength was for writing about science rather than working in the lab. My master’s degree in Science Communication allowed me to develop my science writing skills and I was lucky enough to come to Texere Publishing straight from University. Here I am given the opportunity to write about cutting edge research and engage with leading scientists, while also being part of a fantastic team!

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