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Friday, April 23, 2010

CSI: Smithsonian, part II

Did you know April 24th is National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day?"

For a truly gross take on this epicurean delight see Jerry Payne's 16mm silent, color film Decomposition of a Baby Pig. A strange acquisition for the Human Studies Film Archives? Not really. According to NMNH's own forensic anthropologist and curator of Physical Anthropology Douglas Ubelaker, Dr. Payne's film "... was the very first to examine arthopod succession in the process of post mortem change." In other words, it was the first to document the role of insects in body decomposition. Because a pig's body resembles a human body (scientifically speaking !) the data gathered in the study could be used in modern forensic science to approximate the time of human deaths.

Dr. Payne's film uses time lapse photography to reduce 4 days of feasting into a faintly nauseating but strangely compelling 6 min. piece. The film has also been set to music and posted on YouTube where it has gotten over a million hits. Bon Appetit!

Daisy Njoku, Human Studies Film Archives

1 comment:

  1. Daisy, I appreciate its value to forensic science, but I just have to say that the video is disgusting! But I'm not surprised at the one million plus visits on youtube.

    Keep adding videos (gross or not!) to the blog--they are a great addition!