Mystery of “mummified” corpses: No-longer-decomposing bodies worry Portuguese researchers

Mystery of "mummified" corpses: No-longer-decomposing bodies worry Portuguese researchers

In Portugal, researchers are trying to understand why some bodies no longer decompose, while the country faces an overcrowding in cemeteries, especially in urban areas.

Graveyards are limited in Portugal. After decomposition, the bodies are exhumed and the remains placed in a small space to free up space. A method that has been undermined for some time by the increasing natural “mummification” of bodies.

Researchers are trying to dissect this phenomenon because it seems to be increasing over the past decade. Especially in Porto, this phenomenon is about one in three. Explains to BFM Angela Silva Pessa is currently conducting a thesis on this issue.

Graveyards are overflowing

Apart from the trauma to the relatives of the deceased, at the end of the legal burial, they learn that the body must be reburied, not decomposed, whereas usually three to five years of decomposition is sufficient for the question interval. Pressing more and more into the graves.

As explained Business Insider (in English), to combat the “overcrowding” of cemeteries, especially in urban areas, Portugal has been envisioning these “temporary cemeteries” since the 1960s. Still, there should be no “soft tissue” to move bodies. However, some bodies “mummify” for inexplicable reasons instead of completely decomposing.

Factors “intrinsic” to the buried person?

Angela Silva Pessa, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Coimbra, told BFM that she examined the soil of the graves. Human modelsFingernails, pieces of clothing or hair taken from the deceased.

According to the first results of the researcher, Floors don’t seem to be in question In the same environment, some bodies decay and others do not. According to her, there are “intrinsic factors” involved in the buried person.

So, as pointed out by Business Insider, he will leave to explore other avenues, especially the dead man’s lifestyles. For example, he recommends BFM if he is a smoker, or has undergone treatments, particularly “chemotherapy and radiotherapy used to treat cancer”.

The researcher still has a long way to go before presenting his results, which could prove decisive for the management of cemeteries in Portugal.

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