Texas vulture study upends forensics-snips from story-
The vulture study, conducted on 26 acres near the south-central Texas campus, stemmed from previous studies that used dead pigs, which decompose much like humans. Scientists set up a motion-sensing camera that captured the vultures jumping up and down on the woman's body, breaking some of her ribs, which investigators could also misinterpret as trauma suffered during a beating.
Researchers are monitoring a half-dozen other corpses in various stages of decomposition, and they have a list of about 100 people prepared to donate their bodies to the project, which the school says is the first of its kind to study vultures.
At the farms, forensic pathologists observe the decomposition process in natural surroundings to see how corpses react to sun and shade, whether they decay differently on the surface or below ground and what sort of creatures - from large to microscopic - are involved.
The body in the vulture study was that of Patty Robinson, an Austin woman who died of breast cancer in 2009 at age 72. She donated her remains to research, and they were placed in a five-acre fenced area.
Her son, James, said the Texas State research seemed like a worthy project.
She's be delighted "if she could come back and see what she's been doing," he said. "All of us are pretty passionate about knowing the truth."
As for the vulture research, "we're not a particularly squeamish lot," he added.-video and full story-http://news.yahoo.com/texas-vulture-stu ... 18853.html