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Forensic Anthropology Research Facility

The Forensic Anthropology Research Facility (FARF) serves as a resource for forensic anthropology students, researchers, as well as state and national law enforcement agencies. Research into questions relating to time since death, the postmortem interval and decomposition processes for human remains under various topographical and climate conditions are conducted at FARF.
The FARF is a 26-acre outdoor human decomposition research laboratory at Texas State’s Freeman Ranch. The Texas State facility is spatially the largest facility of its kind in the world. The FARF is used by the forensic science community to gain knowledge about human decomposition and developing methods for determining the post mortem interval or time since death. The FARF is also used to train forensic anthropology students, law enforcement, and medicolegal personnel in methods for searching and recovering human remains in a medicolegal context.

FARF was conceived because there is a need to develop rates, patterns, and sequences of human decay applicable to Texas and western states. The FARF formally opened in 2008. Since then, research has been conducted on approximately 650 donor individuals, with another 1000 living people pre-registered as donors to this unique forensic program. Once the donor bodies are removed from FARF and processed at ORPL, they are kept in perpetuity and accessioned into the permanent Texas State Donated Skeletal Collection. This collection of documented modern skeletal remains will form the basis of future research and be utilized for scientific research and education for years to come.

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