What Happens when the Bodies Decompose? Tests Performed in a Secret Center

A team of scientists from Australia recorded, with the help of sequential video cameras mounted in a research center, the movements of the bodies during the decomposition process.

The cameras with sequential recording took a photograph every 30 minutes, for 17 months. The researchers were able to observe how the limbs move as the bodies dry and decompose, reports Australian national broadcaster ABC.

Researcher Alyson Wilson said this finding may prove important in investigations into crime or death.

“We found out that the hands were moving significantly so that the arms that were initially near the body reached the sides,” Wilson told ABC.

“One hand went away and then came back, almost touching the side of the body again”, she added

The study was conducted at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research, located in a secret location near Sydney.

The research center was established three years ago with the purpose of investigating the process of body decomposition under various conditions so that certain scenarios can be reconstructed in forensic investigations.

Wilson said the movements would be caused by the shrinkage of the ligaments as they dry.

Forensic anthropologist Xanthe Mallett of Newcastle University in Australia said that these findings may prove important to criminal investigators who assume that the position where a corpse is found is the same as that of the person at the time of death.

″I think people will be surprised by the movement involved because I was amazed when I saw, especially how much the arms move. It was amazing!” she told ABC.

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