Death may be the end of a lot of things, but it’s not the final curtain for everything.
Here are 10 bodily functions that keep working after people die according to io9.
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Number 10. Nail and hair growth. It’s not so much that these features continue to flourish, it just appears that they do. As the body loses moisture and the skins shrinks back, one’s tresses and nails appear to be longer.
Number 9. Brain activity. Doctors pronounce death when the heart and lungs stop working. The brain actually continues to pull all of the nutrients and oxygen it can after that point, typically for several minutes.
Number 8. Skin cell growth. These cells are both low maintenance and self-reliant. As they spend their lives on the outer borders of the body they get used to nourishment through osmosis and can fend for themselves for at least a few days.
Number 7. Urination. Not urinating requires muscle control, and once the body dies, that ceases to be an option. Prior to the onset of rigor mortis, which can take a couple of hours, the body enters a relaxed state and urination becomes involuntary.
Number 6. Defecation. Again, relaxing muscles stop holding stuff in. In the case of bowel movements, the body’s gasses also move waste along the intestinal tract. It doesn’t happen to everybody, but it does happen.
Number 5. Digestion. Even though their host has passed, the bacteria that reside in the gut live on. Many are parasitic and several are great aids in breaking down food, which is what made them valuable in the first place. As long as they have nourishment, they will continue to thrive.
Number 4. Erection and Ejaculation. Among those who die standing up or lying face down, erections sometimes occur due to blood pooling. Ejaculation can happen when the calcium ions in the body build up and cause muscle contractions.
Number 3. Muscle movement. Nervous system activity is possible even after the brain has ceased to function. The straggling impulses are those that pass through the spinal cord rather than the brain and can cause all sorts of bodily twitches.
Number 2. Vocalizations. When the body goes into rigor mortis, all of the muscles stiffen. That combined with the release of gasses, some of which pass through the rigid vocal cords, can make for some disturbing sounds.
Number 1. Giving birth. Historical records show that back in the days before embalming was the norm, a happening referred to as ‘coffin birth’ sometimes occurred. Women who were pregnant at the time of their death would on occasion expel the fetus due to the buildup of gasses and the pressure they placed on the womb.
What’s the strangest postmortem bodily function you’ve ever heard of?
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