Frequently Asked Questions


A: Forensic Anthropology is the application of methods and theory from physical anthropology to legal matters. Forensic anthropology combines skeletal biology, histology, trauma analysis, taphonomy, and archaeology to assist the medicolegal and law enforcement communities in death investigations.

A: Forensic Taphonomy is the study of everything that affects a body after death. Included in this science are the factors that affect decomposition (insect activity, scavenger activity, heat, moisture, etc.) and factors that affect the body long after the soft tissue has decomposed.

A: FROST is an outdoor facility and a laboratory for education and research involving postmortem changes that affect human remains.

A: At the Center for Forensic Anthropology, we accept self-donations and donations from an individual’s legal next-of-kin. We will not accept donations of unidentified or unclaimed bodies. We will also not accept donations from next-of-kin who have been estranged from a decedent.


A: The Center for Forensic Anthropology cannot accept the donation of remains that are known to have certain communicable or infectious conditions. Donor bodies that have undergone organ/tissue donation and/or forensic autopsy are acceptable. All donations of human remains are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and it is the sole discretion of the Center for Forensic Anthropology staff to decide whether or not a donation will be accepted.

A: No. Remains donated to the Center for Forensic Anthropology will be permanently, respectfully curated at NMU as a skeletal collection for the advancement of research and education of students and forensic anthropologists.

A: Once a donor has been made part of the permanent skeletal collection, arrangements may be made for family visitation at the indoor laboratory facility. Approvals for visitations at the laboratory will be made on a case-by-case basis. Visitation and tours at the outdoor facility are not permitted under any circumstances. A ceremony to honor our donors is held annually and families of the donors who have been brought to our facility over the previous year are invited to attend.

A: While there is no cost for donating a body to NMU Center for Forensic Anthropology, there may be costs associated with a funeral director's services (death certificate, transportation, other paperwork). All fees associated with a funeral director's services are the responsibility of the donor. If the donor’s body is known to have an infectious or communicable condition and/or exceeds 250 lbs, the Center for Forensic Anthropology can accept the body donation following cremation (as long as the remains have not gone through the pulverization process). Cremation costs would be the responsibility of the family.

A: No. There is no payment to the donors or families.


A: Yes. A financial donation can be made by visiting the Donation Page for more information.