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How a Dead Body Decays

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Analysis Essay

Brandon Coronado

"How a Dead Body Decays"

How a body decays is a remarkable event. There are so many events happening at the same time. Let's start out by describing what death is. Death, defined by, is "1. The end of life. The cessation of life. (These common definitions of death ultimately depend upon the definition of life, upon which there is no consensus.) 2. The permanent cessation of all vital bodily functions. (This definition depends upon the definition of "vital bodily functions."

The first thing that happens once a person dies is the blood is drained from extremities capillaries and arteries. The blood then consolidates in the lowest portion of the body, usually dependant on how the body is positioned after death. This can explain the discoloration in areas of the human tissue, or pale skin.

After a few hours rigor-mortis sets in. Rigor-mortis, "the rigidity of a body after death"-, lasts for approximately 72 hours, depending upon conditions surrounding the body. During this time the body will feel cold to the touch due to a process called algor mortis, "the gradual cooling of the body following death"-Merriam-Webster.

At this point there are two ways a body can decay, "Autolysis: A process of self-digestion where the body's enzymes contained within cells begin to go into a post death meltdown. The process can be speeded up by extreme heat and likewise slowed down by extreme cold"-, or "Putrefaction: Bacteria that escape from the body's intestinal tract after the deceased has died are released into the body and begin the process of literally melting the body down"- Putrefaction is most likely since the bacteria within and around the body start to break down tissue. Enzymes and bodily fluids begin to digest tissue and organs. The decomposing flesh starts to become repugnant and have a distinct odor. "Decomposing tissue emits a green substance, as well as gasses such as methane and hydrogen sulfide. The lungs expel fluid through the mouth and nose"-

Farther along in the decaying process skin blisters, filled with large amounts of liquid, begin to appear, hair begins to fall off and the nails on the body begin to descend back into the body. Hemoglobin's are then released from the body causing what is known as "Marbled Skin"- "an intricate pattern of blood vessels in the face, abdomen, chest and other extremities become visible."

As the body decays the issue will turn black-green in color, all fluid within the body will drain normally through the mouth and nose and other orifices. The body tissue is now soft and weak breaking exposing internal organs and releasing



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