States of Decay: Visiting the World's Largest Body Farm [Graphic Content]
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In a field northwest of San Marcos, Texas, fifty human bodies lie exposed to the elements, each in a different stage of decomposition.
Some are fully mummified, their flesh dried out by the harsh Texas sun. Others have been picked over so voraciously by vultures that their bones are frayed. The most lurid are the fresh ones: week-old bodies that have ballooned to twice their normal size and crawl with thousands of maggots.
This is Freeman Ranch, part of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University—otherwise known as the world’s largest body farm. By observing bodily decay under varying conditions, researchers hope to help law enforcement better estimate time of death in criminal investigations.