“One of the first things a vulture will do is take the eyes out.”
It is a place where people have donated their bodies to forensic science. Or, more precisely, it is where people have agreed to have their bodies placed in the open – laid bare in the relentless heat, vultures circling — so that researchers can document how they decompose.
“One of the first things a vulture will do is take the eyes out,” says Danny Wescott, head of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University in San Marcos.
There is good reason to document such things, says Wescott, and it’s not to gross people out. Instead, Wescott and his anthropology students attempt to unlock the mysteries about what happens to people who have been cast aside …hidden in the outside elements, sometimes for years … after falling victim to murder or mass tragedy.