How long does it take for a body to decompose?

As soon as we die, we begin the process of putrefaction, by which the most complex elements of the organism will decompose, until it is reduced to a skeleton.

It all begins with the so-called cool phase, in which the body will change color by the action of bacteria that have already started to feed on soft parts. When the first signs of swelling in the abdomen are perceptible, the phase of bloating begins.

This is due to the gases that arise during decomposition and to the action of the necrophagous insects, which deposit their larvae in the body cavities. In this sense, a greater number of wounds allows the entry of more of them, which accelerates the process. After a while, the corpse opens up in several areas, so that the aforementioned gases and a characteristic smell that attracts more insects escape from the body. By then, the deceased has already lost 80% of his initial weight. Then there will be two more stages, called post nourishment and skeletation.

 

It's not the same for everyone 

The time it takes for a body to pass through all of them depends on several factors, such as the person’s complexion or the place where decomposition occurs. For example, it can be kept almost intact during winter and almost completely skeletonised in two weeks of heat. In addition, the action of the sun and wind tends to mummify it; and the deeper the deceased is buried, the longer it takes to start the process. Also, an obese corpse is reduced to bones much faster than a thin one, because of the greater presence of fat. 

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