Human decomposition is a natural process that involves the decomposition of tissue after death. While the rate of human decay varies due to various factors, including climate, temperature, humidity, pH and oxygen content, the cause of death and body position, all human bodies follow the same four stages of human decomposition.
Death is a fact of life that will pass a whole day, and the following are the most fascinating phases that the body experiences immediately after death, when the body is exposed to natural decomposition and is not preserved by processes such as embalmment. Most of these levels are known through the study of “body farms” controlled by the university used by forensic anthropologists to expand forensic knowledge. This may include the identification of bodies and their circumstances of death.
These “body farms” and the resulting studies have had a tremendous impact on crime investigation, including cold cases.
When Death Occur
The heart stops, the body bends, the person begins to take short breaths and the ears become cold due to lack of circulation. The blood becomes sour, the larynx loses its cough reflex and mucus formation can occur. Breathing through this mucus due to seizures will cause a gargling or rattling noise. This special sound is also called “death rattle”. The lungs are closed and the brain stops working. However, when the brainstem is still alive, the body still retains the ability to heal and perform other important functions.
After 1 – 9 minutes
Blood begins to accumulate in the body, causing discoloration known as rigor mortis, usually a reddish-blue color. The muscles relax, causing the bowel and bladder to empty. Brain cells die en masse and liquefaction occurs. Body begin to expand, no longer respond to direct light and “cloud” themselves. The cloudy appearance of the pupils results from the decomposition of potassium in the red blood cells. This process can take more time (around 3 hours), but as many people die with their eyes open, the process often takes place in this period of time.
Some forensic scientists believe that this opacity of the eye could be a better indication of the time of death than Rigor-Mortis and Livor-Mortis. The eyeballs are flattened by the drop in blood pressure. At the end of this timeframe, the brainstem dies.
After 18 hours
The rigor mortis begins to establish itself. At this stage, the muscles become stiff and the hair stands up. Leichenstarre is due to lactic acid in the muscles, which causes stiffness in the tissue. Therefore, it seems that the hair grows more after death because the stiffening muscles press the hair follicle.
After four to six hours, the stiffness begins to spread further in the body. The pooled blood begins to stain the skin with a blackish color. After six hours, the muscles continue sporadically sporadically. The anaerobic processes, such as the degradation of the liver by alcohol, continue. After eight hours, the body begins to cool quickly. This is called Algor-Mortis. This is different from the initial cooling, since this cooling process is much faster.
After 15 days
The rigor mortis ends at the beginning of this phase and the body becomes flexible again. When the body is discovered, presentable and found in a morgue, the director of the funeral home exploits this stage to place the body to show it at a funeral (folding hands and the like). After 24 to 72 hours, the internal microbes break down the intestine and the pancreas begins to digest. This process liquefies the interior. In 3 to 5 days, decomposition begins to form large bubbles throughout the body.
After 2 weeks
The hair, nails and teeth start to come off very easily. The sliding of the skin during this stage can hinder the movement of a body when it is detected in that condition. With luck, when the teeth fall, they will not fall far from the body, because that is the only way to identify the body at that point. The skin resembles a glove and can easily slip from the underlying muscle and decaying connective tissue.
After 1 month
The skin begins to liquefy and decomposes or dries, depending on the environment. Different types of insects feed on the body and cause the liquefaction of dead skin cells. Some of the first insects on the scene are blue flies. When the conditions are adequate, the body dries instead of liquefying in a process called butyric fermentation or mummification.
A body is also considered mummified when all organs have disappeared due to the insects they eat.
After Several months
If the process of mummification is complete, the body fat begins to decompose and becomes a crumbly-white waxy substance called adipocere, also known as “grave wax”. In this stage, the bad smell of the dying flesh in the body begins to expiate exponentially. It is believed that in the seventeenth century some people used this Adipocere to make candles to use in waking the mummy. The “serious wax” can also be important when the body is in this stage, since the Adipocere can help the bodily and facial characteristics that were used in the identification and the wounds or injuries that have caused the death to contain,,
About 1 year
During this period, and depending on the environmental conditions of scavengers such as hyenas, large raptors (vultures, bald eagles, etc.), raccoons and opossums have reduced the body to bones and other fragments of hard bodies. Of the remains, the teeth are the most resistant substance in the body. Then, even with bone erosion, the remaining teeth can be used for identification. At this stage, most of the bodies found must be identified by dental records. If the technology or the DNA profile is available for comparison, the DNA can also be extracted from the teeth or bones for identification.