Does bone ever fully break down?



  1. 0 Votes

    Yes, bones can fully break down, but as greer said, it depends on many different factors to determine the actual rate of decomposition.  If the body is left out and exposed to the elements it will decompose much faster than if it is buried (either in a casket or not).  It will decompose faster in heat than in cooler, drier conditions.  It will decompose faster in water than in ground (almost contrary to what you’d think, huh?) but it will still stick around longer in water than when left out in the elements.

    The embalming process can help to preserve a body, but not so much that it becomes indestructible.  In fact, embalming a body will preserve it for a few months after death, but after that it’s basically fair game for Mother Nature and the natural decomposing process.  

    The rest of the body (skin, organs, tissue) usually fully decompose after about a year, but hair, teeth and bones stick around for much longer with bones lasting for decades.  As mentioned earlier, many factors play a role, but if the soil is peaty (contains partially carbonized vegetable matter) the bones will go faster than if the soil is more neutral.   

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