During the run of the CSI exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota ( http://www.smm.org/csi ), the Science Buzz team decided to dig deeper into the science behind forensic entomology...or how bugs are used to help solve crimes. So what does this have to do with a decaying pig?
Pigs are a lot like people in some ways. With similar organs, muscles and bones, all beneath mostly hairless skin, pigs make reasonable substitutes for human bodies. They have been used as military and medical test subjects for generations, and now they are playing an important part in the scientific study of what happens to us after we die.
Knowing when a pig died, scientists will gather data on the stages of its decay. Criminal investigators can then use this information to reveal a time and place of death when they find a human body in similar condition.
Our pig, which you see here, came from a local farmer and died a natural death. We let it rot behind the museum and captured several images every minute to create this time-lapse video of its decay.
What observations can you make about the pig's decay?
You can learn more about this pig and the science of forensic entomology over at Science Buzz ( http://www.smm.org/buzz/topics/forensic-entomology ).