Image Gallery: Stages of Decomposition

Decomposition of a corpse is a continual process that can take from weeks to years, depending on the environment. In this website we have divided the process into stages, which are characterised by particular physical conditions of the corpse and the presence of particular animals. To illustrate the process of decomposition, we use the piglet as the model corpse. Piglets are used because a 40 kg pig resembles a human body in its fat distribution, cover of hair and ability to attract insects. These factors make pigs the next best things to humans when it comes to understanding the process of decay of the human body. The pigs in this website are newborn piglets (weighing about 1.5 kg) that have been accidentally crushed by their mothers - a key cause of death of piglets. Their bodies have been donated to science. Please note - this set of images contain strong graphic references and descriptions.