A series I am writing required me to do a little research. I began researching postmortem decomposition of human remains. Specifically, I wanted to know how long it takes the human body to break down into just a skeleton when the corpse is left unpreserved and above ground.
Yes, quite gruesome. As if the description of the natural process of human decomposition isn’t rough enough, I ran into more than a few photos of the evidence. That, I didn’t need.
Well, the answer is “It Depends.”
It depends on climate. Is it humid? What is the latitude–temperate or warm? What is the elevation above sea level? Generally, the more humid,
lower latitudes and lower elevations, the faster the decomposition. This all make sense, as anyone who has left food out on a warm day can attest. Something that most people don’t think about though (and one that is especially unpleasant to consider) is the presence of predators. I don’t just mean cats, birds, dogs or rodents, although they are certainly a factor. I mean bugs, flies, and worms. YUCK! A healthy crop of maggots can reduce Uncle Robert to bones in pretty short order. And think of the Cat Lady who dies in her apartment with no one left to feed her 11 kitties!
Do I lie?
Now if I haven’t put you off your feed or disturbed your future rest, then I am happy for that at least. I am pretty tough myself, but the study gave me an unpleasant thought or two–I can tell ya.
Hope you’re not sorry for tuning in.