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Body temperature
Things that can affect the temperature of a dead
body
· Body size
· Body position
· clothing
· Air movement
· Humidity
· Temperature of surroundings…read more

Slide 3

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Body temperature
· Human body temperature is normally in the
range of 36.2 to 37.6 °C
· The shape of a graph showing the
temperature of a dead body is called the
Sigmoid curve
Usually 37 °C
Temperature/
Unless other circumstances
(e.g. hypothermia)
Ambient
temperature
°C
Time…read more

Slide 4

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Rigor Mortis
· This is when the muscles relax then suddenly
stiffen after death and the joints with become
fixed in the position they are at the time of death
· This occurs about 2-6 hours after death and
reaches its peak after 12 hours then gradually
reduces back to its previous state over the next 24
hours
· Smaller muscles usually stiffen before the larger
ones
· Rigor mortis occurs faster in high temperatures (e.
g. a sunny day or if the dead person was physically
active before death)…read more

Slide 5

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Rigor Mortis
· After death, muscle cells become starved of oxygen
and all oxygen dependent reactions stop
· Respiration in the cells becomes anaerobic and
produces lactic acid
· The pH of the cells falls, which inhibits enzymes and
then inhibits anaerobic respiration
· The ATP needed for muscle contraction is no longer
produced which results in bonds between the
muscle proteins becoming fixed
· The proteins can no longer move over one another
to shorten the muscle and therefore fixing the
muscle and joints…read more

Slide 6

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Temperature and Rigor mortis
Rigor mortis occurs faster in high temperatures (e.g. a
sunny day or if the dead person was physically active
before death)
Temperature of the body Stiffness of the body Approximate time since
death
Warm Not stiff Not dead more that 3
hours
Warm Stiff Dead for 3-8 hours
Cold Stiff Dead 8-36 hours
Cold Not stiff Dead more than 36-48
hours…read more

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