Contrary to popular belief, human bodies involve a lot of movement after death.
The findings are the result of studies carried out by Australian scientist Alyson Wilson. She has been photographing the movements of a corpse over 17 months to pin down her theory. Her findings are published in the journal Forensic Science International: Synergy.
Wilson's findings are important for detectives and pathologists. They will improve the system used for estimating the time of death. Understanding the post-mortem movements will lead to a better knowledge of the rate of decomposition.
Wilson has associated the movements directly to the process of decomposition. She said that corpses move as the body mummifies and the ligaments dry out. She recalled that during one case she was observing, arms of which were held close to the body flung out to the sides during decomposition.
Wilson studied over 70 bodies during her research. The corpses were stored at Australia's 'body farm' officially known as Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER).
Wilson believes that more research on post-mortem movements will shed light on cases of missing persons and unidentified corpses.
Alyson Wilson is a CQ University criminology graduate. She started studying post-mortem movements after her working with a team in Mexico related to Mayan-era skeletal remains.