Depending on how gritty a mystery you want to write or read, a new study on vultures and corpses might interest you.
The article begins:
For more than five weeks, a woman's body lay undisturbed in a secluded Texas field. Then a frenzied flock of vultures descended on the corpse and reduced it to a skeleton within hours.
But this was not a crime scene lost to nature. It was an important scientific experiment into the way human bodies decompose, and the findings are upending assumptions about decay that have been the basis of homicide cases for decades.
Experienced investigators would normally have interpreted the absence of flesh and the condition of the bones as evidence that the woman had been dead for six months, possibly even a year or more. Now a study of vultures at Texas State University is calling into question many of the benchmarks detectives have long relied on.
Read more about the vulture study here.
I’m on a list-serv with a woman whose daughter worked on one of the Texas body farms, and she once offered us an opportunity to suggest research we’d like to see done.