How long does it take for a body to decompose?

How long does it take for a body to decompose? The time it takes for a corpse to decompose depends on various factors. However, if the body is exposed to the elements, the decomposition process will be swift. The most important thing to consider when evaluating decomposition is the exposure of the corpse to bacteria. 

To survive, bacteria need oxygen. Therefore, if a corpse is exposed to water or fresh air, it will decompose very quickly. In particular, if a body is abandoned in the open air, insects and animals will feed on its tissues, accelerating the decomposition process.

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It is not possible to establish an exact time for decomposition.

When a person’s heart stops pumping blood to the body, cells, and tissues in general stop receiving oxygen and quickly begin to die. In general, you may need about a year before the body decomposes into a skeleton (if left outdoors. Because it also decomposes, the frame takes from eight to twelve years. If a corpse is placed inside a coffin, it could take up to 50 years to spoil all the body’s tissues.

If the corpse does not remain in too acidic or hot environments, its teeth and bones can remain intact for up to a hundred years.

Factors that accelerate the decomposition process

Decomposition in the open-air occurs twice as fast as it would underwater and four times faster than underground. The intestines of a body are full of microorganisms by the millions, and these continue to live even after the host’s death. These microorganisms start eating the dead cells of the intestine while other bacteria known as coliforms and clostridia begin to invade other parts of the body.

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At the same time, the dead body begins to break down due to the chemicals and enzymes being released from the dead cells. For example, the pancreas is full of digestive enzymes, so that it will self-digest quickly. When tissues decompose, they release gases and green-colored substances. This is the cause of bluish or greenish skin and blistering. This process usually begins in the abdomen. The front of the body starts to swell, the tongue protrudes, and fluid from the lungs begins to drain from the nostrils and mouth.

This stage of decomposition reached in six days in countries with a temperate climate. It goes much faster in the tropics but much slower in dry, cold weather. 

How long does it take for a body to decompose in the sea?

The speed of decomposition, in this case, depends on the temperature of the water. If the water is cold, the bacteria that cause the swelling will act slowly so that the body can remain at the bottom of the sea. The skin detaches from the underlying tissues after absorbing water for about a week. Coldwater also causes fat deposits to form. Almost wholly intact bodies have recovered from waters with temperatures below 7 degrees centigrade even after a few weeks. However, after about five years, the bodies recovered nothing more than recognizable skeletons.

In tropical waters, the story is different. Even a heavy body floats to the surface after 3 or 4 days. And therefore exposed to seabirds to the lapping of the sea waves. Creatures that feed on the rotting corpse will take a week or two before it, stripped to the bone, sinks. The bones will also broken down after a few months. Or years depending on the acidity of the water or buried or not by sea silt.

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