Seven miles northwest of San Marcos, Texas, there is a 16-acre field called The Freeman Ranch. This extraordinary ranch doesn't grow crops or raise livestock but do something really morbid and necessary thing. There are 50 naked human bodies in varying stages of decomposition. Some of them are entirely mummified as their flesh dried out by the harsh Texas sun. There are six body farms worldwide among which this is the largest of all in the US.
This Freeman Ranch simply called as body farms and is one the key research institute that aim at better understanding the process of decomposition.
Researchers at Freeman Ranch are using their knowledge of decay to help identify the bodies of hundreds of people who die of dehydration or heat stroke every year after they cross the border into Texas.
Researchers and students clean the new dead body before putting them in the field.
The anthropologist William Bass got the idea after being called on to help police in a local murder case. Bass analysed the body's clothing and other factors but he was troubled by our incomplete knowledge of human decomposition. He founded first body farm.
These bodies are placed where they are accessible to wildlife that allows researchers to see the effect of bacteria and insects on decomposition.
In the first stage, the body bloats out because of bacteria that release gases inside as they consume the body's carbon. Second step happens after the body bursts and releases decomposition fluids. Then there comes the final stage, the dry decay stage. It starts when nearly all flesh on the body is consumed. It takes several weeks and most of the bodies in the Freeman Ranch are in that condition.
This rib cage is the result of putting them outside the cages to feed the vultures and other wildlife. Freeman Ranch has a high-tech security system and is under constant surveillance.