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Dawnie Steadman, the director of the Forensic Anthropology Center, was recently featured in Science regarding the importance of body farms.

Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center (AMC) announced recently that Europe’s first taphonomical cemetery—or what we would consider a body farm—will soon open. This will allow scientists to study the decomposition of human corpses under natural conditions.

“I think there are very good reasons to open one in Holland, and in other places in Europe,” says Steadman. “What we do in Tennessee is not directly transferable to Holland, or England, or South America, or Africa for that matter.”

UT’s Forensic Anthropology Center is one of six in the United States.

The geography of crime is important, because local ecology and climate exert a strong influence on the speed and type of decomposition, Steadman says.