New research published in Nature Microbiology has shown that all corpses have more in common than previously thought. Despite their differences, dead bodies share similarities when it comes to microbial networks. Human bodies contain bacteria and fungal decomposers that are rare in the rest of the world. These microbes play an essential role in the natural world by breaking down corpses and becoming part of the “decomposition ecosystem” to help with plant production.
The study involved burying 36 donated corpses in different locations with distinct environmental features. Despite the varying conditions, the researchers found that all the samples taken from the bodies featured the same selection of microbes. The experts also believe that insects could carry these microbes to decomposing human and animal remains.
Dr. Devin Finaughty, not involved in the study, explained that decomposition is a complex process that involves many organisms feeding on organic matter. It is distinct from physical degradation by erosive forces like water. The decomposition system revolves around dead bodies as a resource for food, breeding ground, nursery, and shelter for many organisms.
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