Researchers have found dead bodies move significantly during decomposition in a groundbreaking study at a human body farm in Australia.
Experts who analysed the decomposing corpse outside Sydney found it kept moving throughout the 17-month trial.
The findings could be crucial in helping police and investigators when they study deaths.
Researcher Alyson Wilson used time lapse cameras to discover how a donor dead body decomposes by filming the process in 30-minute intervals.
Ms Wilson was shocked to find the movement – possibly caused by shrinking and contracting when the body’s ligaments dried out – continued for much longer than expected.
She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation News: ‘What we found was that the arms were significantly moving, so that arms that started off down beside the body ended up out to the side of the body.
‘Knowing that body movement can result from the decomposition process rather than scavengers or original placement will be important when it comes to determining what happened, particularly if this movement is much greater than first believed.
‘This research is very important to help law enforcement to solve crime and it also assists in disaster investigations.
‘It’s important for victims and victims’ families, and in a lot of cases it gives the victim a voice to tell their last story.’
The human body farm is managed by the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER).
Last year another study at the site found the human body continues to mummify for three years and at any time of year.