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'Cheap' corpses used as crash test dummies

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'Cheap' corpses used as crash test dummies
According to local Aragon media, monkeys and pigs were previously used to assess the tissue damage caused by serious car crashes. File Photo: Aidan Sally
14:04 CEST+02:00
Engineers at a research centre in northern Spain have admitted using human bodies for their accident simulations because they can't afford the €150,000 ($207,000) a crash test dummy costs.

Researchers at the Motorland Technology Park in Alcaniz (northern Spain) have raised a few eyebrows after they announced they were one of six centres in the world using human cadavers in car crash test simulations.

According to local Aragon media, monkeys and pigs were previously used to assess the tissue damage caused by serious car crashes.

But the shift to human bodies will provide scientists with more accurate results, Spain's Technologies and Systems for Automotive Safety (TESSA) reported on Tuesday.

The research centre, part of the University of Zaragoza, now has its very own morgue in which to store and prepare the corpses for crash tests.

TESSA said most of the bodies are made available for car safety tests after they had been finished with by Spain's medical faculties.

The first crash test simulations using human corpses were carried out at Detroit’s Wayne State University in the 1930s.

The moral and ethical issues, along with the fact that most of the cadavers used belonged to older people — not the age demographic usually involved in car crashes — led to the evolution of what we now know as the crash test dummy.

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