1.The last bit of oxygen in your body is used up, and brain activity surges briefly1
as neurons stop working and the brain stops secreting2 hormones3
that regulate body function.
The last of the energy stores (ATP) is used up and the sphincter relaxes, causing the body to release urine and excrement4
2. Between 15 and 25 minutes after death, the lack of blood flow to capillaries5
causes the skin to go pale.
The heart is no longer beating, so blood is not being propelled around the body.
As a result, the blood pools in the lower parts of the body.
3. After 12 hours, the skin will have reached maximum discoloration (or a reddish purple colour).
The stiffness referred to as rigor10
mortis sets in three to six hours after death, and lasts for between 24 and 48 hours.
4. Dead cells and carbon dioxide causes the PH level of your skin tissue to rise.
This makes the cell membrane11
weak and it bursts, releasing proteins and enzymes12
which further break down the surrounding tissue.
5. Micro-organisms start to break down your body.
This is called putrefaction15
, and it causes the smell of death associated with a dead body.
of amino acids creates other strong-smelling acids which attract insects that lay eggs in the rotting tissue.
The eggs hatch after 24 hours and the maggots eventually consume 60 percent of the body tissue over a number of weeks.
6. Finally, the maggots create holes in the rotting flesh, which allow decomposition fluids and gases to escape.
This is called dry decay which can take up to one year.
Eventually, every part of the body will have been broken down and used.