THE SCIENCE OF DEATH (NOW WITH A GRAPH)
Settle down, motherfuckers, this is gon’ get gross. If you reckon your bitty-baby stomach can’t handle it, I recommend going here.
(FYI: Cats are murder machines and many enjoy torturing their prey before they eat it. Yeah. I’m going to ruin fucking everything for you.)
Death is when all the shit that is keeping you alive decides to fucking stop forever. A lot of fucking effort goes into keeping you alive and upright and not swarming with maggots, so when it stops you better fucking know what is up.
Things that can kill you:
- Not eating enough.
- Getting old (Which you will. The media is lying to you)
- Being fucked up by bacteria.
- Being fucked up by viruses.
- Being fucked up by bears.
- Being eaten by screw worm or humans who didn’t get hugged enough as kids.
- Hugging screw worm.
- Getting holes in you that let all your hot blood out.
- Getting holes in you that let all the bad shit in.
- Not breathing.
- Getting so stressed out that your HEART EXPLODES.
- Drinking shampoo.
- Over dosing on drugs.
- Okay fuck this
- This is going to take forever.
- Lots of things can kill you.
- Let’s move along.
Now, I could go into religious and philosophical shenanigans if you really fucking want, but I won’t because this is a goddamn science blog and we are going to discuss some mother fucking science.
All right. So let’s assume your squishy body has decided to be kicked off the mortal coil. Who knows why. Let’s just say you got shived for being an insufferable jerkoff.
Pallor Mortis (latin: “paleness of death”):
In the first fifteen minutes after you die, and your heart is having a fucking nap, all your blood starts sinking to the bottom of your body, whatever the bottom is (if you are upright, your feet, if you are lying down, your back, etc). The rest of you will go very pale, depending on your current skin tone (by the way, for any of you fuckers who assumed everyone reading this was white - fuck you.) If you have darker skin, pallor mortis might not even be remotely visible. If you are pale to begin with, you are going to go a very pale grey and it is going to be gross. It happens really fucking quickly. If you find a body, all pallor mortis will tell you is whether or not someone died in the last fucking half hour while you were off watching Friends or whatever it is you do in your time.
This is caused because the blood in your capillaries is fucked. Your capillaries aren’t strong enough to hold blood without circulation, so everything starts sinking. A lot of the colour in your skin comes from the hot red and cooler blue blood in you. Without that, you turn funny colours and the bits where the blood sinks, which leads to…
Algor Mortis: (“algor” = coldness “Mortis” = of death):
As I said, a lot of fucking effort goes into keeping you warm and squishy and alive. When that stops, you are going to cold. Specifically, whatever the temperature of your surroundings is. So, if you get shivved in the deep freezer of the McDonalds, that is how cold you are going to get. If you get shivved out in Dubai in the peak of summer, you are going to get very fucking warm indeed.
Most phases of death are analysed to give “times of death” so some other motherfucker can attempt to find who shivved you, to either arrest them or high five them, I don’t know. Your body is going to get colder on an exponential decay curve (go and google it I am not going to explain stats to you fuck off), but it is still a roughly linear relationship.
So, they are going to shove a thermometer up your dead anus. I told you this was going to get gross.
In the first hour, body temperature drops by 2 degrees Celsius and then 1 degree every hour after that. SO. Some motherfucker called Glaister came up with an equation so you can work it out. You hear that? That is someone coming up with some rules of the universe for you to help you figure your shit out. You better give them some mad props.
The equation is:
Of course, this assumes you find the body because we reach the next fabulous stage.
Rigor mortis (“rigor” = stiffness, “mortis” = of death and after this one I am not explaining that one to you anymore so try and cram that hot sweet knowledge into your brain hole)
Aw, yes, motherfuckers. All of you sitting at home going “I watch crime shows I got this shit down” can finally high five your friends and slam drink your can of red mountain dew or whatever the fuck it is you drink. I am drinking SCOTCH. At TWELVE FUCKING THIRTY in the afternoon. And later on I am going to eat a STEAK from an animal that CAN PUNCH ME TO DEATH.
Call me when you are ready to bring your A-game, dickbag.
Depending on how hot it is around your ugly corpse, your body will start stiffening up about two to six hours after your unimpressive last words. If it is warmer, rigor mortis isn’t as long. Insert whatever fucking dick jokes you are going to make here. You will be at your stiffest and most annoying to drag around after twelve hours, but you should soften up again over time and be as pliable and squishy as you were in life after about two to three days.
This is where the science gets interesting. Because you aren’t using your big ol’ air sacks, your body doesn’t know what’s what. Your cells need to make adenosine triphosphate (used for transfer of energy in case you weren’t paying attention to earlier posts because you are lazy), which your body was using to pump calcium ions around to where you needed them. It’s actually a pretty fucking complex thing. Basically, when your body stops making ATP, your calcium ions are going to disperse using diffusion, meaning they go from where there is FUCKING LOTS to where there is FUCKING NOTHING.
The FUCKING NOTHING area is the sarcomere in the cell, where the calcium ion bonds with troponin. Troponin is the motherfucker that makes your muscle contract, like when you are picking up a rock to throw through the windows of your enemies, with a note tied to it saying “BRING THE MONEY OR I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING LEGS” written in blood.
This bonding of calcium and troponin makes a bridge between myosin and actin proteins, so your muscle contracts. The problem is, when you are a fucking gross corpse and you aren’t breathing, your body can’t do shit to finish the cycle of muscle contraction. So your muscles can’t fucking sag again. They stay like that. Try and tense every body in your muscle. (Fuck you I can spponerism if I want) That is what it is fucking like to be dead, except that you are breathing now so you can relax again. Being dead is not a fucking party. At least not for you. We’ll get to who gets to have a party real real soon.
The muscles aren’t going to relax again until the enzymes in you start to go fucking apeshit and break down all of your muscles while you rot. They might be enzymes you made, or ones from the bacteria that are going to eat you and clean up the mess you left by dying in such an inconvenient spot, motherfucker. Specifically, the enzymes will fuck up the head of the myosin protein, letting your muscles relax again.
How long it takes for this to happen depends on your fucking parts, how old you are, how squishy you are and whatever body your shitty genetics saddled you with. So, babies might not have rigor mortis at all. Yep. Dead babies. This is a motherfucking classy blog.
Moving straight on from babies to the steak on your table. You want to be able to chew that shit, so you don’t want the calcium in the muscles to go apeshit. This is done by electrocuting the fucking shit out of the dead animal, which depletes ATP stores and stops the muscle from contracting giving you big and edible steaks.
When dealing with dead bodies because I like to jump from topic to topic to make you personally feel shitty, rigor mortis can tell you long a body has been dead, but also whether some dickbag moved to around after death.
Also, I want to take a fucking second (which I fucking can because it is my fucking blog and I do what I want) to talk about cadaveric spasm. It is when you die, perhaps after being shivved, and your body stiffens immediately and stays stiff through the other stages and into rigor mortis. It is super fucking rare, and no one is really sure why it happens. But is always happens when the death is a very physical one or a very emotional one. It is basically the Grudge, if instead of ghosts you just had a body stiffen in a really fucking weird way for no discernible reason. Generally the body spasms in the motion it was doing in death, so clutching a knife, a person or something under the water. It has also been slightly more common in….ugh, fucking really? Erotic asphyxiation deaths.
What gets you off is your business, but man, try not to fucking kill yourself in an embarrassing way? Fuck.
Livor mortis (“livor” bluish colour. Ain’t that nice, I’ma paint my room that colour.) Also called hypostasis or suggilation:
Remember before how we were talking about how blood sinks down after death? Yeah. Here’s where we start looking at that.
It starts about twenty minutes after death, but can take as long as three hours if it is cold. Full congealing of the blood happens in about four to five hours, and the colour is at its prettiness after about six hours. Gross gross gross.
Depending on how much hemoglobin you have, and if you don’t know that word google it before I punch you in the face, the colour will change intensity. It’s useful in telling if a body has been moved, because the blood won’t pool in areas touching the ground because those areas have compressed capillaries.
It is also a hard and fast rule that you shouldn’t bother getting your nice mouth hole on their dead one, because CPR is just going to be gross and make you feel gross and it won’t bring them back.
Putrefacation (from the Latin “putrefacus” = to make rotten):
So, you know how you won’t have a party after your inevitable shivving but someone else will? Guess who that is?
YOUR GUT BACTERIA.
Your proteins are going to decompose, break down the tissues and your organs are going to liquefy. And it is going to be gross.
Because your body isn’t doing loads of shit to keep your chemical energy in your body parts, it will start to break down into simplier bits and pieces. It doesn’t need help, but oh holy hell will it get help. The fuzzy wuzzy good bacteria in your gut do not look like this:
But like this:
And everything keeping them in check while you are alive is gone, and your body just became Jersey-Fucking-Shore. (I have never watched that show, but it is basically them screwing and preproducing and partying and being gross, right? Right.)
It is going to start eating and fucking up the proteins holding your cells together, leaving your tissues fucked up and shitty. The proteins eaten by the bacteria will be excreted in simple parts and gases like, I shit you not, “putrescine” and “cadaverine,” which are my favourite goddamn science words ever. This is what make dead things make you want to hurl. The gases smell fucking awful, and at some point your brain evolved to associate that smell with “DO NOT EAT BECAUSE IT WILL FUCK YOUR SHIT UP.”
The gases produced are going to build up in the body cavity, but they will start to spread through your very convenient circulatory system. Your torso will bloat (after about two to three days), then your limbs (three to four days). Your skin will discolour (three to four days), and your skin will start to blister (five to six days).
This internal pressure will make you start to break apart like month old gingerbread cookies from Ikea (two weeks). Your organs will burst and your nails will fall off (three weeks) And at some point, SOMETHING WILL EXPLODE like too much putrid air in a putrid balloon. Then, your soft tissues will start to liquefy, and your face will become so unrecognizabe not even your family will be able to recognise you (four weeks).
Of course, factors will change this. Temperature, exposure, location…this is why they like to have funerals within three days. Funerals are for the living to comfort themselves, and looking at a liquified face does nothing for comfort.
All right, let’s leave it there. I am really fucking hungry and I have some people I have to go and punch in the face. I really recommend you read the wikipedia page on decomposition. It is interesting stuff. But you don’t have to if you are a lazy jerkwad who hates science and the world.
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