Skin-crawling discovery: 'body farm' scientists find corpses move

Researcher Alyson Wilson studied the movements of a corpse over 17-months and found humans don't exactly rest in peace
Researcher Alyson Wilson studied the movements of a corpse over 17-months and found humans don't exactly rest in peace

An Australian scientist has proved that human bodies move around significantly for more than a year after death, in findings that could have implications for detectives and pathologists around the world.

After studying and photographing the movements of a corpse over 17-months, Alyson Wilson told AFP on Friday that she found humans don't exactly rest in peace.

In one , arms that began held close to the ended up flung out to the side.

"We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition, as the body mummifies and the ligaments dry out," she said.

To carry out her unusual form of people watching, Wilson took the three-hour flight from Cairns to Sydney every month to check on the progress of a cadaver.

Her subject was one of seventy bodies stored at the Southern Hemisphere's only "body farm", which sits at a secret bushland location on the outskirts of Australia's largest city.

Officially known as the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), the farm is carrying out pioneering research into post-mortem movement.

Wilson and her colleagues were trying to improve a commonly used system for estimating the time of death using time-lapse cameras and in the process found that actually move around significantly.

Alyson Wilson started her research project after a trip to Mexico to help classify Mayan-era skeletal remains
Alyson Wilson started her research project after a trip to Mexico to help classify Mayan-era skeletal remains

Her findings were recently published in the journal Forensic Science International: Synergy.

A better understanding of these movements and the rate of decomposition could be used by police to estimate time of death more accurately.

She hopes the knowledge could, for example, narrow down the number of missing persons that could be linked to an unidentified corpse.

A better understanding of post mortem movement could also help to reduce the incorrect cause of death or misinterpretation of a .

"They'll map a crime scene, they'll map the victim's body position, they'll map any which is found, and they can understand the cause of death."

The CQ University criminology graduate says she started her unique project after a trip to Mexico to help classify Mayan-era skeletal remains.

"I was fascinated with death from a child and was always interested in how the body breaks down after ."

"I guess that comes about from being raised on a farm and seeing livestock die and watching that process," she said.

"Once I observed a movement in a previous study, I started researching and couldn't find anywhere in the world that looks at quantifying the movement, so I thought OK, I'm going to do this."


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Sep 14, 2019
Damn. Did they just ruin The Walking Dead?

Sep 14, 2019
Damn. Did they just ruin The Walking Dead?


Perhaps not, anti'.
If anything, Miss Wilson's study contributes to their..........plausibility.

Sep 15, 2019
I am surprised that this is only now being realised. Everything is in constant MOTION. Planets, Stars, All Particles, Electrons, Protons, Neutrons, all sub particles - everything. That includes dead matter as that matter is being consumed by bacteria attacking the body's cells. And that bacteria is also consumed by other bacteria. And then all is broken down into molecules, and those into elements, and those into atoms, etc. etc. Sometimes, the DNA survives that allows forensic studies. It ALL gets broken down into its smallest components, and even then, it is still in motion.
NOTHING stays still for long.

Sep 15, 2019
Damn. Did they just ruin The Walking Dead?


Perhaps not, anti'.
If anything, Miss Wilson's study contributes to their..........plausibility.


In your nightmares, perhaps. Not in reality, you know, since science: "We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition".

Sep 15, 2019
And, what is decomposition, but the billions of microbes in our bodies, doing what they must. Wouldn't it blow your mind to discover that they move the corpse around with intelligent reason?

Sep 15, 2019
And, what is decomposition, but the billions of microbes in our bodies, doing what they must. Wouldn't it blow your mind to discover that they move the corpse around with intelligent reason?

Yes. Hands by the side are more nourishing than those in folded arms even though the latter taste better.

Sep 15, 2019
Now you know the true meaning: Rest in Peace

Obviously in days gone by
It was, known
The Dead
Continue moving after Death
Foreth
To give spice to your Nightmares
These Dead that are these walking Zombies
That we thought were Dead
Are actually still Alive
Fore as you lie in your luxuries Box of Peace
You will hear that Shovelling of Soil and Stone falling on your Coffin
Fore as you are a Zombie
The living Dead
You are not really Dead
Fore you are still Alive
Fore pleasant dreams
For do not dream of Dying
For when you think you're dreaming
Of earth falling on your Coffin
You might not be actually dreaming at all
For this not a Dream, as you're actually still Awake

Now you know the true meaning: Rest in Peace

Sep 15, 2019
This somewhat reminds me of an article that I read on the internet not long ago. It appears that the grave of two men had been dug up and the two men were "holding hands". It was determined through forensic tests that they were both male, but the fact that their skeletal hands were touching gave the impression that they had been homosexual lovers. Just by that alone where the hand of each were touching. It didn't say that the bones of their hands were clasped together, but just touching, where the arm/hand of the one was a bit further from his body.
But the fact that the hands of the two males were touching could have been the result of the bones moving after the flesh had been consumed - bones more or less falling out of place.
The article, however, didn't explain WHY the two men were buried together. They may have been a father and his grown son who might've died on the same day.
Without any evidence of the situation of the two male skeletons, sensationalism won out.

Sep 16, 2019
And, what is decomposition, but the billions of microbes in our bodies, doing what they must. Wouldn't it blow your mind to discover that they move the corpse around with intelligent reason?

Yes. Hands by the side are more nourishing than those in folded arms even though the latter taste better.

My thinking, was more along the lines, is that they cure better. Definitely worth some research, since who knows, it might help improve our meat processing.

Sep 16, 2019

But the fact that the hands of the two males were touching could have been the result of the bones moving after the flesh had been consumed - bones more or less falling out of place.


They were buried in soil. Therefore, the only way their hands could've moved towards each other post-burial would've been to move the earth out of the way. Did you not notice that this article discusses the effects of decomposition on an *unburied* corpse?

Come on!

Sep 16, 2019

But the fact that the hands of the two males were touching could have been the result of the bones moving after the flesh had been consumed - bones more or less falling out of place.


They were buried in soil. Therefore, the only way their hands could've moved towards each other post-burial would've been to move the earth out of the way. Did you not notice that this article discusses the effects of decomposition on an *unburied* corpse?

Come on!
says ThomasQuinn

I wasn't referring to the above article. I was referring to an article I had read prior to the one above.
The hands of the two men may have fallen together as they were laid into the grave and before they were covered with dirt. Limbs are not glued to the side and can move slightly when jostled, depending on the amount of rigour mortis that has set in.

Sep 19, 2019
. In your nightmares, perhaps. Not in reality, you know, since science: "We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition".

Thanks for FYI, anti'!
For a moment there, I must have forgotten I was at a pragmatic-minded, Science-based forum I paid hard-earned money to subscribe to. Silly me.
But I do appreciate you reminding me how goofy one appears when they take anyone posting here.....seriously!

Sep 19, 2019
antigoracle!!!
I am so sorry! Sincerely, I apologize for accidentally addressing you in my comment immediately previous to this one. I intended to name torbjorn-* or is it _?b-g-err_lars?.... whatever.
Before changing your name, I was trying to edit his quote, then did something wrong, prematurely posting the comment. I know I caught it way before the 3 minute thing too, but phreakin' PhysOrg didn't register my edits.
What's up with that PO?
Now.... I'm sooo PO'd!
Anyway, I hope you'll forgive me antigoracle. Like you, (but opposed to others here) I don't take this place....too....seriously.


Sep 21, 2019

But the fact that the hands of the two males were touching could have been the result of the bones moving after the flesh had been consumed - bones more or less falling out of place.


They were buried in soil. Therefore, the only way their hands could've moved towards each other post-burial would've been to move the earth out of the way. Did you not notice that this article discusses the effects of decomposition on an *unburied* corpse?

Come on!
says ThomasQuinn

I wasn't referring to the above article. I was referring to an article I had read prior to the one above.
The hands of the two men may have fallen together as they were laid into the grave and before they were covered with dirt. Limbs are not glued to the side and can move slightly when jostled, depending on the amount of rigour mortis that has set in.


You wrote "after the flesh was consumed". That kinda precludes pre-burial, wouldn't you say?

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