Fig. 34.—Decomposed body of a female showing maggots.
If the putrefactive processes still go on, the tissues become soft, loose and
are converted into a thick, semi-fluid, black mass. They ultimately separate
from the bones, and fall off. The bones are consequently exposed, and the
orbits are empty. The cartilages and ligaments are similarly softened, and
ultimately the bones are destroyed, so that after some years no trace of the
body is left. The time taken up by these changes varies considerably with
the temperature and the medium in which the body lies.
The conclusions arrived at by Mackenzie23 from his observations on
dead bodies in Calcutta are given below in a tabulated form : —
Onset of rigor mortis
Duration of rigor mortis
Ova of flies
Formation of bullse
j 49 34
Evolution of gases
Table24 showing the chronological sequence of the putrefactive changes
occurring in the temperate regions :-—
1. Greenish coloration over the iliac
fossae. The eyeballs, soft and yielding
2. Green coloration spreading over "the
whole abdomen, external genitals and
other parts of the body. Frothy blood
from mouth and nostrils.
3. Abdomen distended with gas. Cornea
fallen in and concave. Purplish red
streaks of veins prominent on •the
extremities, Sphincters relaxed, Nails
4. Body greenish-brown. Blisters form-
ing all over the body. Skin peels off.
Features unrecognizable. Scrotum dis-
tended. Body swollen up owing to
distension. Maggots on the body. Nails
and hair loose and easily detached.
5. Soft parts changed into a thick, semi-
fluid black mass. Skull, abdomen and
thorax burst. Bones exposed. Orbits
1 to 3 days after death.
3 to 5 days after death.
8 to 10 days after death.
14 to 20 days after death.
2 to 5 months after death.
23. Ind. Med. Gaz., June 1889, p. 167.
24. Casper, Forensic Med., Balfour's Eng. TransL, Vol. I, p. 38,