Enjoy Free Shipping on Every Single Item in Our Store! US Orders Only

Our Bodies Eat Themselves after Death

Picture of the Intestines
Digestive Enzymes breakdown the body after death

Autolysis

The first stage of human decomposition is called autolysis, or self-digestion, and begins immediately after death. As soon as blood circulation and respiration stop, the body has no way of getting oxygen or removing wastes. Excess carbon dioxide causes an acidic environment, causing membranes in cells to rupture. The membranes release enzymes that begin eating the cells from the inside out

Rigor mortis causes muscle stiffening. Small blisters filled with nutrient-rich fluid begin appearing on internal organs and the skin’s surface. The body will appear to have a sheen due to ruptured blisters, and the skin’s top layer will begin to loosen.

According to Dr. Arpad A. Vass, a Senior Staff Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee in Forensic Anthropology, human decomposition begins around four minutes after a person dies and follows four stages: autolysis, bloat, active decay, and skeletonization.

  • 24-72 hours after death — the internal organs decompose.
  • 3-5 days after death — the body starts to bloat and blood-containing foam leaks from the mouth and nose.
  • 8-10 days after death — the body turns from green to red as the blood decomposes and the organs in the abdomen accumulate gas.
  • Several weeks after death — nails and teeth fall out.
  • 1 month after death — the body starts to liquify.
  • Stage One: Autolysis (aka The “Fresh” Stage)

    The first stage of human decomposition is called cellular autolysis, or self-digestion, and begins immediately after death. As soon as blood circulation and respiration stop, the body has no way of getting oxygen or removing wastes. Excess carbon dioxide creates an acidic environment, causing membranes in cells to rupture. The membranes then release enzymes that begin eating the cells from the inside out.

    Pallor mortis (“stiffness of death”) causes muscle stiffening 3-6 hours after death, reaching its peak in around 12 hours. Small blisters filled with nutrient-rich fluid begin appearing on internal organs and the skin’s surface. The body will appear to have a sheen due to ruptured blisters, and the skin’s top layer will begin to loosen. After 3 days, the body begins to loosen back up as bloat and decay begin.

    Stage Two: Bloat 

    Leaked enzymes from the first stages of autolysis begin producing many gases. The sulfur within the compounds that the bacteria release also causes skin discoloration. Due to the gases, the human body can actually double in size. In addition, insect activity will likely be present.

    The microorganisms and bacteria produce extremely unpleasant odors called putrefaction. These odors often alert others that a person has died, and can linger long after a body has been removed.

    Stage Three: Active Decay

    Active decay is the stage after death in which a cadaver loses the majority of its body mass. Fluids released through orifices indicate that it has started. Organs, muscles, and skin become liquefied. When all of the body’s soft tissue decomposes, hair, bones, cartilage, and other byproducts of decay remain. On top of this, Active Decay is also the stage of death that a body is consumed by maggots.

    Advanced Decay – During advanced decay, the rate of decay decreases due to lack of left-over cadaveric materials & fluids. Because of this, maggot and insect activity greatly reduces.

    Stage Four: Skeletonization & Decomposition

    Finally, during skeletonization, all the tissues and muscles in the cadaver have decayed, leaving behind only a dry skeleton. Because the skeleton has a decomposition rate based on the loss of organic (collagen) and inorganic components, there is no set time frame when skeletonization occurs. This also is heavily dependent on the environment in which the skeleton remains. Air, water, and multiple other conditions all play a role in how long the skeletonization and decomposition stage last.

https://www.aftermath.com/content/human-decomposition

Tagged , , ,
%d bloggers like this: