How long does it take for a body to decompose?


The moment a person dies, their body begins to break down as cells wither and bacteria invade. But how long does it take for a body to fully decompose? 

Although the process of decomposition starts within minutes of death, there are a number of variables, including the ambient temperature, soil acidity and coffin materials, which can affect how long it takes a body to skeletonize. However, on average, a body buried within a typical coffin usually starts to break down within a year, but takes up to a decade to fully decompose, leaving only the skeleton, Daniel Wescott (opens in new tab), director of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University, told Live Science.

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