Wednesday, October 29, 2014


As the author of The Corpse: A History, I have a long known that crabs are among the first scavengers to feed on a dead body underwater. So I was not surprised to learn that that is what researchers found when they dropped and observed pig carcasses in the sea. The decay of corpses above and under the ground is well-documented thanks to the Body Farm, so scientists at Canada's Simon Fraser University decided to add to the forensic knowledge about the breakdown of bodies submerged 330' (100 m) in salt water. Sure enough, they provided a tasty treat for shrimp, Dungeness crabs, and squat lobsters (VIDEO HERE). Concludes forensic entomologist Gail Anderson, "Pigs are the best models for humans. They're roughly the right size for a human body; they have the same kind of gut bacteria, and they're relatively hairless ...Now we have a very good idea of how bodies break down underwater."

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