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Author Topic: Body decomposition under water.
skeptic
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With advances in underwater technology allowing us to examine such ships as the Titanic and the Bismark, I have noticed that there were no bodies seen in the wrecks. But other bodies have survived for hundreds of years in fresh water bogs in Europe. At what point does a body decompose at sea, and how do bog bodies survive so long.

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ILS
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Bogs are very low oxygen environments. Decomposition needs oxygen to do its stuff.

Bogs also lack the sea life that happily consumes sailors that end up in Davies Jones's locker.

ETA: The article 'the' in the proper place.

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James of Maine
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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To the best of my recollection from stuff I've read here and there:

In the ocean, bodies are generally picked clean by bottom-dwelling scavengers in months, and the bones eventually scattered and buried in a thick layer of silt. Old shipwrecks are usually covered in a layer of dead organic matter (dead microbes, fish poop, etc) that has difted down.

The bog mummies in Europe were preserved by the anerobic (oxygenless) quality of the soil and water, as well as tannic acid that naturally exists there. Tannic acid is used to make leather.

ETA: Spanked in a less wordy way by ILS

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jimmy101
The First USA Noel


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Perhaps because -- Seas, lakes, rivers etc. have fish, crustaceans and other critters that eat meat.

Bogs don't have fish, crustaceans and other critters that eat meat.

Also, IIRC bogs have much lower concentrations of oxygen which makes things last longer.

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ILS
Deck the Malls


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Just to add - I think there might be an unwritten rule that most under-water documentary makers follow to not show human remains, when they might find them, as a matter of respect for the 'burial' site of these soles.
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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by ILS:
...as a matter of respect for the 'burial' site of these soles.

Both human and Solea solea souls?

Seaboe

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hardhead
I Saw Three Shipments


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IIRC there were a number of articles about the pairs of shoes found near the Titanic. The shoes were tanned leather and the only remains of the people that drowned and sank to the bottom.

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skeptic
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quote:
Originally posted by hardhead:
IIRC there were a number of articles about the pairs of shoes found near the Titanic. The shoes were tanned leather and the only remains of the people that drowned and sank to the bottom.

I remember that picture. It was very obvious that they had been worn when the body hit the bottom, judging by the position of them, but the body had gone.
But, do bones completly dissapear? This was really what I was getting at, especially inside a wreck away from water currents and scavengers.

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I like free speech. It lets me know who the idiots are.

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abigsmurf
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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The calcium in bones apparently get turned into coral over time. This takes an very large amount of time though and I suspect documentry footage of the titanic is edited so that bones aren't shown to make them appear more tastefull.
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musicgeek
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quote:
Originally posted by abigsmurf:
The calcium in bones apparently get turned into coral over time. This takes an very large amount of time though and I suspect documentry footage of the titanic is edited so that bones aren't shown to make them appear more tastefull.

Umm... isn't coral an animal? Are you saying that the coral polyps absorb/break down the bones, from which they create their calciferous structures? (This may in fact be the case; I'm not a marine biologist, but I'd never heard this.) Do you have a cite?

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[God said] "I'll just sit back in the shade while everyone gets laid; that's what I call intelligent design." - Chris Smither, "Origin of the Species"

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abigsmurf
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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they mention it in that ghosts of the abyss imax film
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Astra
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Bog Bodies

Robert Ballard and the shoes
Dr. Michael Baden on how bodies would have been affected by ocean conditions

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This has been yet another... USELESS POST.

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