Read at Ars Technica
Forensic scientists have identified 20 microbes that they believe constitute a universal network driving the decomposition of dead animal flesh. Studying these microbes can provide clues to help determine the time of death.
"One of the principal questions of any death investigation is 'when did this person die?'" said Nancy La Vigne, director of the National Institute of Justice.
The research builds on previous studies that have shown a predictable timetable for flesh-eating microbes when they consume corpses, regardless of season or surrounding factors.
"Those dining times relate to the stages of decomposition that a body undergoes-from fresh meat to bloated carcass, to rupturing and seeping nitrogen-rich fluids to actively decaying, then to an eventual dry state," as reported by Beth Mole for Ars.