Yes, You Can Really Donate Your Body to a University in Michigan
Warning: this article discusses topics of death and human remains.
When it comes to conversations about death, people tend to be uncomfortable. At times, the topic is considered taboo or, people don't know how to discuss it openly. However, coming from someone who suddenly lost two very important people in a matter of a couple of years, it's a conversation that must be had: Here's what to do when I pass away.
Now, there are a lot of different options. You can have a traditional funeral where your final resting place is in a casket in the ground. Commonly, and less costly, there's cremation. There are also options like Eternal Reefs where a loved one's ashes will be used to create synthetic reefs for marine life. You can even find tattoo artists that will mix a loved one's ashes with ink and make them a part of your permanent body art.
Additionally, you can donate your body to a university right here in Michigan.
Northern Michigan University, in Marquette, is home to the Forensic Research Outdoor Station. Also known as FROST, this facility is the first to be located in a northern latitude and is one of nine outdoor forensic anthropology research facilities in the world, according to their website.
What Does a Forensic Anthropology Research Facility do?
To put it simply, these forensic anthropology research facilities, otherwise known as body farms, study the decomposition of humans in a number of different settings and scenarios. It's beneficial to both scientists for general research and law enforcement members who are responsible for investigating deaths.
These scenarios can help determine the time of death, natural elements that may contribute to more rapid decomposition, and so on.
Wait, Can I Donate My Body to a Facility Like This?
The answer is, yes. In fact, the facilities depend on it.
FROST, at Northern Michigan University, accepts self-donations along with next-of-kin donations. Both require extensive paperwork that you can find here. All donations will become a permanent part of FROST as,
All of our body donors will be curated indefinitely as part of a permanent osteological (skeletal) collection at NMU. This collection will allow for additional research opportunities in a variety of disciplines.
You can find all information about NMU's FROST facility, donations, FAQs, and more here.
Is this a dark subject? Perhaps. Are these difficult conversations to have? Absolutely. But, making your wishes known so that your loved ones won't have to make that decision while lost in grief is, speaking from experience, a gift.
Now, as a palate cleanser, something more cheerful: doggies on kayaks!