Sydney will soon be home to the first research facility in the Southern Hemisphere for Taphonomy, or the study of body composition.
UTS will establish the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research on a bush site in Yarramundi owned by the university.
Aimed at helping researchers improve their understanding of how human remains decompose and help police with missing persons and homicide investigations, AFTER has already attracted the attention of those wanting to donate their body to research.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that more than 30 people have already offered themselves as body donors once they die.
Before now such research has been carried out using dead pigs as the best approximates for humans.
Professor Shari Forbes, a world-leading UTS forensic scientist, will be leading the research and collaborating with police services to ensure that the data generated at the facility is applicable to human death investigations.
Throughout her career she has assists police canine units train cadaver-detection dogs deployed to forensic and mass disaster investigations. Her ground-breaking research has been awarded here and overseas.
So far the AFTER facility has been awarded a $430,000 in grants by the Australian Research Council.
As many as six donated human cadavers could be exposed to the elements or buried in shallow graves, as early as next year when the facility is due to be completed, however the timing of its operations will depend on when the first donor dies.
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