Dead bodies may not seem like the most promising subject matter for scientific research, but a new study published in Nature Microbiology has shed light on an unexpected similarity between them. Researchers have discovered that all corpses, regardless of their origin, share common microbial networks.
To conduct the study, 36 donated corpses were buried in different locations with distinct environmental features. Despite the varying conditions, scientists found that all samples taken from the bodies featured the same selection of microbes. Insects could carry these microbes to decomposing human and animal remains, further highlighting their ubiquity.
Dr. Devin Finaughty explained that decomposition is a process whereby organisms consume organic material for food and other purposes. It is different from physical degradation caused by erosive forces like water. The decomposition ecosystem revolves around dead bodies as a resource for food, breeding ground, nursery and shelter for many organisms.
This discovery opens up new avenues of research into the natural world’s role in breaking down corpses and how this process can impact plant production. If you want to receive more news like this sign up for our free indy100 weekly newsletter and join our free WhatsApp channel to have your say in our news democracy.