Researchers are using mass spectrometry on fly eggs to help investigators speedily determine a corpse's time of death. Here's how it works.

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

If a body is found in a field, and the cops suspect foul play is involved, establishing the exact time of death is critical. Figuring out the deceased's final moments can help investigators corroborate people's stories to ultimately hone in on the killer. But how do you do that?

There are a few traditional ways to tell when someone died. Forensic examiners can measure body temperature, skin color, and degree of rigor mortis. Each of these changes as the body begins decomposing. With their knowledge of the stages of change, examiners can work backwards to figure out the time of death. 

But all those methods only really work in the first 72 hours; any longer and those factors have piqued, meaning the changes have happened and there's no more data to glean.

So, when a body has been a corpse for more than three days, investigators have to use other methods to determine the time of death... one way is to look at all the different insects that feed on dead human flesh.

This video, "Researchers are using mass spectrometry on fly eggs to help investigators speedily determine a corpse's time of death. Here's how it works.", first appeared on seeker.com.

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