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No one likes to think of decomposing. It’s too much of a morbid thought. But it isn’t that bad. The rituals of death are fairly modern now, and we can even delay the process of decomposition.

But what happens when we do start to decompose?

Here are five ways our body break down once we’ve passed.

Cells burst open – When our heart stops beating we go through algor mortis, also known as the “death chill”. This is when the temperature of the body falls at a rate of around 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit an hour until it meets with room temp. This then causes the blood to become more acidic which in turn causes cells to split open.

You’ll turn white and then purple – Gravity works its wonders on the body in the first moments after you’ve died. Your body will turn a deathly pale, and the heavy red blood cells will move to parts of your body that closest the ground because there’s no longer any circulation. This results in purple blotches on your lower parts.

Rigor mortis sets in – Once we’ve died our muscles start to contract making the body stiff as a board.

Your organs digest themselves – After rigor mortis comes putrefaction. Enzymes in your pancreas will make the organ start to digest itself.

You might be covered in wax – Once putrefaction has taken place, decay starts to turn the body into a skeleton. There are some bodies however that take a different turn. If it comes into contact with cold soil or water, a waxy material may form creating a natural preservative for the inner organs.

It can trick some investigators into thinking the body died much sooner than it actually did.

Body decomposition is a natural occurrence. But it often has to be delayed to further investigations, or ensure the identity of a corpse.

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