A recent UT study showing that human decomposition is much more variable than that of either pigs or rabbits continues to garner national media attention. The New York Times featured the study in this story. The newspaper interviewed Dawnie Steadman, director of the Forensic Anthropology Center. The center houses the Anthropology Research Facility–commonly known as the Body Farm–where the study was conducted. The findings could impact forensic court cases worldwide–particularly those that use rabbits and pigs as proxies for humans.
In the story, Steadman noted that one of the most striking findings was how much the decomposition patterns of one human body differed from another. “All of us have various diets, our body composition varies widely, and it’s not just weight,” she said. “Individuals who have a lot of fat decompose faster than lean individuals.” She added that chemotherapy drugs and other medications could also affect how quickly a body decomposes. Read the story online.