Disposal of human corpses

Disposal of human corpses is the practice and process of dealing with the remains of a deceased human being. Human corpses present both a sanitation and public health risk. Like most animals, when humans die, their bodies start to decompose, emitting a foul odor and providing a breeding ground for various bacteria. For these reasons, corpses must be disposed of properly. The problem of body disposal has two parts: disposal of the soft tissues, which will rapidly decompose, and of the skeleton, which will remain intact for thousands of years under the right conditions.

Common means of disposal

There are many ways that human bodies have been disposed of, in ways that range from reverent to expedient. Practices relating to the disposal of corpses vary widely depending on culture, religion, and jurisdiction.

In most societies, burial of the entire body is the most common method of disposal. Cremation, which burns soft tissue and renders the skeleton to ash, is the second most common.

Less common methods include: Different religions and cultures have various funeral rites that accompany the disposal of the body. Some require that all parts of the body are buried together. In the case of an autopsy, removed parts of the body are sewn back into the body so that they may be buried with the rest of the corpse. In the Western World embalming of the body is a standard part of preparation.

In the case of mass disasters, or epidemics, large groups of people have been buried in mass graves or plague pits.

Secret disposal

Mass graves have also been used to dispose of the victims of genocide and war crimes.

Somebody who is or feels guilty of another person's death (manslaughter, accident), or is afraid of being accused of a crime in relation with the death may try to dispose of the body in such a way that finding it is more difficult or impossible, to delay people finding out about the death, to conceal the identity of the deceased, and to avoid autopsy. Even without guilt of death it may be kept secret, e.g. to collect the pension of the victim, or (at least in some fiction) children may not want the death to be found out, because they want to avoid getting a new legal guardian.

The victim falls in the category missing persons as long as a body is not found, unless death is so likely that the person is declared "legally dead".

The most common is burying the body in a shallow grave. Other methods are leaving the body in a deserted place or a private place, such as one's freezer, dumping it in a body of water, dissolving it with corrosive chemicals, hiding it in cement or concrete, and burning it. Sometimes the body is cut into pieces (e.g. dismemberment) to facilitate disposal; it also enables disposal of each piece separately.

The mafia have been known to have the bodies chopped up (i.e. dismembered) then put in the trunk of the person's car. The car is then taken to a mafia-affiliated junkyard and the body crushed, leaving no trace and the car is gone so a murder investigation is never even started.

In many coastal areas it is common for person who where murdered to be disposed of by mean of a crab pot. A murderer may simply hack up the dead, remove the teeth and finger nails, and crush the skull. Then the deceased is put into a crab pot, put to sea. Return a week later with a full pot of crabs.

Legal regulation

Many jurisdictions have enacted regulations relating to the disposal of human bodies. Although it may be entirely legal to bury a deceased family member, the law may restrict the locations in which this activity is allowed, in some cases expressly limiting burials to property controlled by specific, licensed institutions. Furthermore, in many places, failure to properly dispose of a body is a crime. In some places, it is also a crime to fail to report a death, and to report the disposition of the body.

Special cases

When it is not possible for a body to be disposed of promptly, it is generally stored at a morgue. Where this is not possible, such as at a battlefield, body bags are used to store corpses.

When parts of the body die, such as limbs or internal organs, without the individual dying, as in the case of necrosis, they usually are not given a funeral. In most cases, surgical removal of dead tissue is necessary to prevent gangrenous infection. Surgically removed body parts are typically disposed of as medical waste, unless they need to be preserved for cultural reasons, as described above.

Where permitted, organ donation may re-use some of the dead person's organs for medical purposes; in this case, the organs may well live on long after the death of their original owner.

Attitudes towards stillborn fetuses have changed in recent years; in the past they were often disposed of as clinical waste, but are now commonly given funerals.

See also

Death is the permanent end of the life of a biological organism. Death may refer to the end of life as either an event or condition.[1] Many factors can cause or contribute to an organism's death, including predation, disease, habitat destruction, senescence,
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body is the integral physical material of an individual. "Body" often is used in connection with appearance, health issues and death. The study of the workings of the body is physiology.
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Decomposition (or spoilage) refers to the reduction of the body of a formerly living organism into simpler forms of matter.

Plant decomposition

See also:  and

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Bacteria

Phyla

Actinobacteria
Aquificae
Chlamydiae
Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi
Chloroflexi
Chrysiogenetes
Cyanobacteria
Deferribacteres
Deinococcus-Thermus
Dictyoglomi
Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria
Firmicutes
Fusobacteria
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Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate,") generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significant importance.
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religion is a set of common beliefs and practices generally held by a group of people, often codified as prayer, ritual, and religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience.
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jurisdiction (from the Latin ius, iuris meaning "law" and dicere meaning "to speak") is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to
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Burial, also called interment and (when applied to human burial) inhumation, is the act of placing a person or object into the ground. This is accomplished by digging a pit or trench, placing the person or object in it, and replacing the soil.
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Cremation is the act of reducing a corpse to ashes by burning, generally in a crematorium furnace or crematory fire. In funerals, cremation can be an alternative funeral rite to the burial of a body in a grave.
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mummy is a corpse whose skin and dried flesh have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bogs.
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Sky Burial
Author Xinran Xue
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Chatto and Windus
Publication date 1 July 2004
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 256 pp
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Sky Burial
Author Xinran Xue
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Chatto and Windus
Publication date 1 July 2004
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 256 pp
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Tibet (see Name section below for other spellings) is a Plateau region in Central Asia and the indigenous home to the Tibetan people. With an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft), it is the highest region on Earth and is commonly referred to as the "Roof of the World.
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Towers of Silence are circular raised structures used by Zoroastrians for exposure of the dead.

There is no standard technical name for such a construction. The common dakhma or dokhma (from Middle Persian dakhmag
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Parsi (Gujarati: પારસી Pārsī, IPA: [ˈpa(ɾ).
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Burial at sea describes the procedure of disposing of human remains in the ocean.

Two reasons for burial at sea are if the deceased died while at sea and it is impractical to return the remains to shore, or if the deceased died on land but a burial at sea is requested for
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Biomedical research (or experimental medicine), in general simply known as medical research, is the basic research or applied research conducted to aid the body of knowledge in the field of medicine.
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Jeremy Bentham (IPA: ['benθəm]) (26 February [O.S. 15 February 15] 1748) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer.
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Taxidermy (Greek for "the arrangement of the skin") is the art of mounting or reproducing animals for display (e.g. as hunting trophies) or for study. Taxidermy can be done on all species of animals.
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American Indian and Alaska Native
One race: 2.5 million[1]
In combination with one or more other races: 1.6 million[2]
Regions with significant populations  United States

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A funeral is a ceremony marking a person's death.
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autopsy, also known as a post-mortem examination, necropsy, or obduction, is a medical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present.
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Western world, the West or the Occident (Latin occidens -sunset, -west, as distinct from the Orient) [1] can have multiple meanings dependent on its context (e.g., the time period, or the social situation).
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Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for display at a funeral.
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mass grave is a grave containing multiple, usually unidentified human corpses. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave.
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Plague pit is the informal term used to refer to the mass graves with the mortal remains from victims of epidemics of medical conditions caused by diseases such as the Black Death.
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Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group. While precise definition varies among genocide scholars, the legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
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war crime is a punishable offense under international law, for violations of the laws of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. Every violation of the law of war in an inter-state conflict is a war crime, while violations in internal conflicts are typically limited to
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