What happens when we die? Microbes in your ‘necrobiome’ take over body

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What happens when we die? This question is both existential and biological. While scientists cannot address the first, they certainly can address the second. What happens to your body after you die is not pretty. Alas, there is no such thing as death with dignity when the microbial Grim Reaper arrives.

Dr. Jessica Metcalf of the University of Colorado has made a career studying the stages of decomposition as defined by the types of microbes that consume your body, which she terms the necrobiome… [S]he and her colleagues identify the highly abundant microbes present as human decomposition progresses.

Your rotting body essentially becomes its own miniature ecosystem that changes over time. In the words of the author:


“When a mammal dies its immune system shuts down, internal temperatures change, and internal bacteria begin to grow in ways impossible while under the constraints of a living host. …a break in the skin that allows air, microbes, and insects to enter, and bodily fluids to exit…A dead body becomes a hotspot of nutrients, water, and ecological activity.”

Read full, original post: Necrobiome: There Is No Death with Dignity

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