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Decompostion in nature.

In nature, as plants and animals age, they will go to a point where their life ends. Their lifeless bodies
undergo several stages before they are broken down into the simplest materials. This stages are called
“stages of death”

There are 7 stages of death. First is Pallor Mortis; is after death paleness that occurs in those with
light/white skin, Algor mortis the change in body temperature post mortem, until the ambient
temperature is matched, Rigor Mortis; is one of the recognizable signs of death, caused by chemical
changes in the muscles post mortem, which cause the limbs of the corpse to stiffen, Livor mortis; It is a
settling of the blood in the lower (dependent) portion of the body post mortem, causing a purplish red
discoloration of the skin, Putrefication In broad terms, it can be viewed as the decomposition of
proteins, and the eventual breakdown of the cohesiveness between tissues, and the liquefaction of
most organs, Decomposition, which we are going to tackle on later, and Skeletonization. the final stage
of death, during which the last vestiges of the soft tissues of a corpse or carcass have decayed or dried
to the point that the skeleton is exposed.

How does decomposition takes place? Decomposition begins at the moment of death, caused by two
factors: autolysis, the breaking down of tissues by the body's own internal chemicals and enzymes,
and putrefaction, the breakdown of tissues by bacteria. there are 5 main stages of animal
decomposition.

First is the “FRESH” stage. This occurs right after death when the heart stops beating. The body begins
adjusting its temperature to the environment (Algor Mortis) and within 3-6 hours of death, the muscular
tissues become rigid/hard and are unable to relax (Rigor Mortis). Since the blood is no longer circulating,
gravity drains more of the blood which causes overall bluish-purple discoloration (Livor Mortis).

Cellular metabolism and aerobic microbes (organism that can survive and grow in an oxygenated
environment) which are naturally present in respiratory and gastrointestinal tractsdrains the oxygen
present in the body. Once the remaining oxygen is depleted, anerobic organisms (organism that does
not require oxygen for growth) begin to multiply rapidly consuming the body's carbohydrates, lipids, and
proteins, to produce a variety of substances including propionic acid, lactic acid, methane, hydrogen
sulfide, and ammonia. This process is called as “Putrefication”.

The Second stage of animal decomposition is the “Bloat Stage”. It microbial proliferation begins to
show visual signs and anaerobic metabolism takes place leading to the accumulation of gases, such as
hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen. These gases cause the body to bloat. When
these gases escape causes the body to rupture/break.

The next stage is the “Active decay” this is characterized by the period of great mass loss. This loss
occurs as a result of both the voracious feeding of maggots and the purging of decomposition fluids into
the surrounding environment. Liquefaction of tissues and disintegration become regular at this stage
and strong foul odor persist. The Active decay ends when maggots migrate away from the body.

The next stage is “Advance decay” insect activity is also reduced during this stage. When the carcass
(dead body) on the soil, the surrounding plants begin to wither and die (vegetation death), changes in
pH; and a significant increase in soil nitrogen.
The last stage of decomposition is the Dry/remains or also known as “Skeletonization” During the this
stage, the resurgence/revival of plant growth around the carcass may occur and is a sign that the
nutrients present in the surrounding soil have not yet returned to their normal levels. All that remains at
this stage is dry skin, cartilage, and bones, which will become dry and bleached if exposed to the
elements. If all soft tissue is removed, it is referred to as completely skeletonized.