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This Is What Happens To Your Body After You've Been Buried In A Coffin For 100 Years

Simon Catling

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This Is What Happens To Your Body After You've Been Buried In A Coffin For 100 Years

Trying to think about just staying alive can be hard enough, but what about what happens to you when you die?

We're not talking, life after death type stuff here, though. We want to know what physically happens to your body and what would be left of it after 100 years inside a coffin.

Well, according to Business Insider things start going pretty west long before a century is up.

Your body contains over 200 bones, a few trillion microbes, up to 37 trillion cells and it doesn't take long before they start to decay.

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

The squeamish might want to stop reading now. You see, just a few minutes after death, one of the first things to go is your brain.

Your heart halts blood flow when it stops beating, which is important because it's blood that transports oxygen to your organs and tissues. Without this, those organs that need the most oxygen will effectively starve first.

This results in those cells starting to leak fluid.


You know we're constantly told that we're made up of 70 percent water? Well, that has to come out somewhere and, without oxygen to keep them alive, it's the cells of places like the brain that self-destruct first, soaking the coffin floor in the process.

Within the first 24 hours of being in a coffin, your gut will be next to start decaying. Because your immune system is dying, it can't contain the trillions of hungry microbes that when you were alive would help to digest your food for you eat.

They escape from the lower intestines through your tissues, veins, and arteries. Then they reach your liver and gallbladder, which contain a yellow-green bile that used to break down fat when you're alive.

The microbes will eat the liver and gallbladder, though, which means that the bile will begin to flood the body, turning it a yellow-green.

Credit: Pexels
Credit: Pexels

These microbes then dominate from day two to four, producing toxic gases such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. These will cause your body to bloat, and also to smell pretty bad.

Fast forward three to four months down the line, and you're not yellow-green anymore! But you are now a brownish-black because your blood vessels have deteriorated causing the iron inside of them to spill out and oxidize.

Another pleasant thing that happens around this point is that the molecular structures that hold your cells together break away, meaning that your tissues collapse into a watery mush.


Any cotton clothes you may have been buried wearing will disintegrate about a year after you enter the coffin, broken down by the acidic body fluids that, as we've explained, have been escaping for some time now.

It then goes quiet for a bit, but at about a decade in, the wet, barely-oxygenated environment causes a chemical reaction that means the fat in your thighs and rear end turns into a soap-like substance called grave wax.

However, if your coffin has been buried in drier conditions or if your bodily fluids haven't caused too much damp, you could start to mummify.

This is caused by water evaporating through the thin skin on your ears, nose, and eyelids, causing them to dry out and turn black.


At 50 years in, your tissues will have liquefied and disappeared, leaving mummified skin and tendons. These also disintegrate.

By 80 years, your bones will have cracked because the soft collagen inside them will have deteriorated. You'll be down to your skeleton but not for much longer.

Because, after 100 years, the last of your bones will have collapsed into dust. In fact, only the teeth will be left, given that they are the most durable part of your body.

So there you have it. Enjoy your lunch.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: Science, Interesting, Health

Simon Catling
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