Researchers at a ‘human body farm’ have discovered that dead bodies move ‘significantly’ during the decomposition process.
The Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) made the discovery, which is likely to change the way death scene are investigated.
Prior to the revelation investigators believed how a body was found was how it died, unless it had been moved post-mortem.
Researcher Alyson Wilson used time lapse cameras to study a cadaver decomposing in the elements outside of Sydney for 17 months.
The time lapse camera would film the bodies at 30 minute intervals giving researchers a clear indication of the decomposition process.
‘What we found was that the arms were significantly moving, so that arms that started off down beside the body ended up out to the side of the body,’ Ms Wilson told ABC News.
She said it wouldn’t just help law enforcement in their death investigations but also in disaster investigations and also gave a victim a chance to ‘tell their last story’.
Deputy director of AFTER Dr Maiken Ueland said the implications of the discovery would be far reaching.
‘Knowing that body movement can result from the decomposition process rather than scavengers or original placement will be important when it comes to determining what happened, particularly if this movement is much greater than first believed,’ she said.