Human Decomposition

What is Human Decomposition?

Decomposition is the process of decay in which organic substances are broken down into simpler substances. It is essential for the recycling of the matter that occupies space in the environment. All bodies start to decompose soon after death but the decomposition process is different in every species. In human decomposition, When humans die, their heart stops pumping blood to the body, therefore, body becomes deprived of oxygen. As a result, cells begin to die. As decomposition process starts shortly after death, change in body color is easily observed, as blood circulation stops so giving the body an ashen color.

At the moment of death, muscles stiffen completely, a condition called “rigor mortis”. It is caused by a complex process involving myosin and lactic acid, which form a gel-like material that causes stiffness of the muscles.

How long does it take for a human body to decompose?

The duration, a human body takes to decompose depends on several factors which affect the necessary time to break down the cells. For example, if the body is completely covered in a coffin and buried deep in the ground, it may take several years to fully decompose. But if the body is exposed to decomposers as well as insects then the process will be very fast.  Air or water exposure also speeds up the process dramatically. Different organs take different time to decompose. Internal organs decompose one to three days after death. Massive decomposition of the abdominal organs starts in eight to ten days and nails and teeth start falling two to three weeks after death. Brain cells decompose within minutes but skin cells may survive up to a day

What are the best conditions for decomposition?

Bacteria and fungi (most common decomposers) cause decomposition at the cellular level. Other organisms like insects help speed up the process by feeding upon dead tissues thus breaking down the tissues into smaller pieces and increasing the surface area for decomposers to work on it.

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