Do you ever wonder what happens to you when you die?
We don’t mean in the spiritual, pearly gates sense, but more in the physical sense.
Obviously, being dead, there’s no way of communicating what decomposition feels like, or how the body goes about this process. Lucjily there’s science.
And according to science, there’s a lot more to ‘rotting’ than you may realise.
In fact, the irony is, in order to rot, our body needs to be teeming with life.
Here’s what happens to our bodies, from the moment our heart stops beating .
1. The heart stops and the blood pools
This is what doctors use for the time of death.
Once the heart goes, List 25 reports, the rest of the body will start to die at differing rates.
With nothing to pump it around our circulatory system, the blood then pools in our veins and arteries.
2. The body starts to change colour
Because our blood is no longer flowing, our bodies take on a two-tone colour.
This is because the blood settles in the lowest part of our bodies thanks to gravity, which makes it look bruised.
The other parts will have a deathly pale colour, as there is less concentrated haemoglobin and the blood is drained away elsewhere.
3. Algor mortis sets in
Also known as the "death chill", algor mortis is when our bodies lose their 37°C warmth and slowly adapt to the room temperature, losing about 0.8°C per hour.
4. Then comes rigor mortis
The more famous of the mortis family, this occurs a few hours after death, when the entire body begins to stiffen up owing to decreasing ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels.
Rigor mortis starts with the eyelids and neck muscles.
5. Our bodies are still moving
Yes, our blood has pooled and congealed, but our bodies are still capable of twitching and flexing for HOURS after we die.
This is because muscle tissue contracts as it dies and depending on how many muscles are contracting, it can appear as if the body is moving.
6. Our faces flatten out
As our muscles eventually stop contracting, those wrinkles and frown lines are gone!
But obviously you’re dead, so that’s the downside.
7. Your bowels empty themselves
Although rigor mortis may cause our bodies to stiffen, not all of it does.
In fact, some parts – like our sphincters – become very loose because, in life, it’s basically our brain which controls it.
With the brain no longer regulating involuntary functions, the sphincter can do what it wants, so it opens up and any "leftover" waste exits the body.
8. Putrid odours start to seep out
Corpses are notoriously smelly. It’s what often gives the game away in horror films when someone gets offed.
The putrid odours happen when our dying cells release enzymes notifying local bacteria and fungi of the event.
The bacteria and fungi then RSVP ‘yes’ and pile in to begin decomposition, releasing noxious and putrid gases and odors.
9. Then come the animals
Hot on the heels of the bacteria and fungi are critters like blowflies and flesh flies.
These will lay their eggs which hatch into maggots which start eating away at the dead flesh.
They’re then joined at the feast by mites, ants, spiders, and then larger scavengers.
10. Our bodies can make noises
Apparently this still spooks doctors and nurses!
Our bodies will fart, squeak and moan thanks to a combination of rigor mortis and our guts secreting gas.
11. Our intestines get digested
Because of how rich our guts are in bacteria, once the immune system closes down, this bacteria basically goes wild and will digest our intestines.
12. Then our eyes bulge and our tongues swell
As our organs decompose and our intestines produce gases, these gases cause our eyes to bulge and our tongues to swell up and loll out of our mouths.
13. Finally, putrefaction
Also known as the liquefaction of our organs, this happens as our cells continue to break down and tissue cohesion is lost because of decomposing proteins.
Once putrefaction sets in, our corpses become "sloshy" and spongey.
14. Our skin loosens
Our skin’s slippage is amplified as gases build up, meaning it detaches from the bone and muscle.
15. The bones go last
Decades after bacteria, fungi, and other organisms do away with the rest of our bodies, then protein in bones eventually break down, leaving hydroxyapatite, a bone mineral which turns into dust.
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