Frequently Asked Questions | CFAR | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Frequently Asked Questions

1.) Can I visit or tour CFAR?

In order to protect the privacy of our donors and maintain the integrity of the research at CFAR, we do not offer tours of the facility.

2.) How can I donate my body to your program?

Please see the donations page or direct questions to

3.) Can I make a monetary donation to CFAR?

Yes, we greatly appreciate monetary donations.  They help us support our research, teaching, and service missions.  Please contact us before sending any donation so we can direct your donation to CFAR.

4.) I would like to conduct research at your facility or on your skeletal collection.  How can I obtain permission to do so?

Please submit a research proposal for review to  Note, depending on the requirements of your project, a fee may be involved to cover costs incurred by our facility during your research.  

5.) Will you pay me or my family for donating my body?

No payments are provided to individuals or families for body donation.

6.) What will happen to my body after it is donated to CFAR?

Individuals will be assigned an identification number to protect her/his privacy.  S/he will be placed in the outdoor research laboratory and allowed to decompose.  After skeletonization, the remains are recovered and cleaned.  They are then inventoried and accessioned into the permanent skeletal collection.  The skeletons in the collection are used for research and educational purposes.

7.) Are there reasons my body would not be accepted as a donation?

CFAR cannot accept bodies with certain infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, any form of hepatitis, or an antibiotic resistant infection (example: MRSA).  If you have one of these conditions but would still like to donate your body, CFAR can accept the cremated remains.  Please contact us before cremation so we can make arrangements with the crematorium to prevent pulverization.  

8.) Can I donate my body if I am an organ or tissue donor?

Yes, CFAR will accept your body if you have donated your organs or tissues.  Your body will not be used in research on decomposition, but your skeletal remains will be accessioned into the research collection and will contribute to our understanding of modern human variation.

9.) Can my body be donated if it was autopsied?

Yes, CFAR will accept individuals who have undergone an autopsy, provided the appropriate authority (coroner, medical examiner, law enforcement agency, etc.) has released the body for final disposition.

10.) Can my family prevent my donation after my death?

Yes, regardless of the arrangements you have made, your family and/or next-of-kin will have the final say on the disposition of your body after death.  CFAR will not engage in any legal situations over pre-arranged donations.  It is vital for you to communicate to your family and/or next-of-kin your wish to donate your body to CFAR and the importance of your decision to you.

11.) Can I visit a family member who donated their body to your facility?

Yes, once the skeletal remains have been accessioned into the skeletal collection, you may visit the remains of a family member at the Forensic Anthropology Laboratory.  We do not allow family members to visit donated individuals in the outdoor research laboratory.  Please contact CFAR ( or 618-453-3298) several days in advance of your desired visitation date to make arrangements.