Time of Death
- Body temperature drops.
- Metabolic reactions slow down and stop.
- Body stops producing heat.
- Heat is lost into surroundings.
- Graph plateaus before dropping as not all body reactions stop straight away.
- There are factors that affect body temperature
- A body outside will cool more quickly than inside.
- Body fat acts as an insulator.
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- Stiffening affect in the body which starts 2-4 hours after death.
- It begins in the face and neck and slowly progresses down the body.
- The amount of ATP present in the body affects how quickly it sets in.
- Different people have different amounts.
- Depends on the amount of activity an individual participates in.
- Temperature can affect rigor mortis.
- It's not permanent.
- Muscles soften as enzymes break it down.
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Stages of Succession
- Colonisers move to the dead body
- Anaerobic bacteria are first to arrive. As enzymes break down cells the bacteria spread.
- Blowflies lay eggs on the body. Maggots hatch and begin feeding on tissue breaking it down.
- They burrow deeper into the flesh. Maggots pupate and turn into flies.
- Beetles lay eggs in the body. Larvae feed on maggots.
- Parasitic wasps arrive and lay eggs in the fly and beetle larvae.
- The warmer the body, the quicker the decay as chemical reactions are sped up.
- If a body is exposed then there will be quicker decay.
- When a body is discovered, forensics collect eggs, maggots and pupate. if live specimens can be saved, forensics will grow them to adults and then identify the species of fly or beetle.
- This makes calculating time of death accurate.
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