Yes, you really can donate your body to a University of Michigan
Warning: this article deals with the subjects of death and human remains.
When it comes to conversations about death, people tend to be uncomfortable. Sometimes the subject 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 few years, it’s a conversation that to have to be had: This is what to do when I die.
Now there are many different options. You can have a traditional funeral where your final resting place is in a coffin dug into the ground. Commonly, and less expensive, there is cremation. There are also options like Eternal Reefs where the ashes of a loved one will be used to create synthetic reefs for sea life. You can even find tattoo artists who will mix those of a loved one ink ashes and incorporate them into your permanent body art.
Plus, you can donate your body to a university right here in Michigan.
Northern Michigan University in Marquette is home to the Outer Forensic Research Station. Also known as FROST, this facility is the first to be located at 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 center 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 benefits both general research scientists and law enforcement personnel investigating deaths.
These scenarios can help determine time of death, natural elements that may contribute to faster decay, etc.
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 personal donations as well as donations from loved ones. Both require many documents which you can find here. All donations will become a permanent part of FROST because,
All of our body donors will be stored 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 FROST installation, donations, FAQs, etc. here.
Is it a dark subject? Maybe. Are these conversations difficult to have? Absolutely. But, making your wishes known so your loved ones don’t have to make that decision while lost in grief is, from experience, a gift.
Now, as a palate cleanser, something a little more cheerful: doggies on kayaks!