For many, the sight of a human body decomposing causes terrible anguish. Cinema uses this image in many horror and detective movies. Why display dead bodies on television? Because this natural repulsion is often accompanied by considerable intrigue.
This article unveils the scientific aspects. It will shed light on the hidden truths of the human body after death.
What Is Body Decomposition?
When the body is alive, millions of biochemical reactions take place within the cells. They ensure the functioning of each organ. But once the blood flow is interrupted after the person dies, the organs are no longer irrigated. As a result, the activity of their cells will gradually stop.
All organs do not die at the same time. What happens after death depends very much on the cause of death and the conditions in which the body is stored.
The Stages of Body Decomposition
- The body cools down
After death, the body temperature will equilibrate with the environment around it. This process begins one to two hours after death.
- Stains appear all over the body
The blood is no longer circulating. It will accumulate under the effect of gravity in the lower parts of the body. This causes the formation of large stains that appear one to two hours after death.
- The body becomes rigid
The metabolism no longer works. The body will become acidic. The muscle fibers will contract.
- The abdomen swells
All the bacteria naturally present in the body will produce gases. Those will cause the abdomen to swell. This will cause the blood that was stagnant to be displaced.
- A very unpleasant odor spreads
We’re entering the putrefaction cycle. Bacteria living in the body first attack the digestive system, then all the organs. The first few hours after death, the body has a cold meat odor.
- The flesh decomposes and the body dries out
All flesh will decompose, liquefy, or be eaten by maggots. Hair falls out when the scalp putrefies. The body will become dehydrated and dry out.
- The skeleton dislocates
At the end of the decomposition process, only the skeleton and ligaments will remain. Fingers and toes disintegrate first, followed by the large joints.
Timeline Of Body Decomposition
The body will degrade more or less quickly depending on the ambient temperature. It also depends on the size of the person. If it is cold, the body will take much longer to decompose. On the other hand, a complete decomposition in the middle of summer can be done within a month. When the body is in a coffin, the same steps generally take place. But the decomposition process takes much longer, sometimes several years.
Environmental Effects On Decomposition
The environment in which the deceased body is located influences the decomposition process. Bacterial growth is much slower in cold weather. Conversely, the process is accelerated in hot weather. Moisture is also a factor to be taken into account.
Do you witness such a situation? Don’t risk getting sick. Contact Crime Scene Intervention now!