Getting to know the real living dead

Bacteria inside bloated cadavers show the dead are teeming with life

By Erika Engelhaupt, 19:27 PM November 6, 2013

Someday you too will join the ranks of the living dead. A dead body, you see, teems with life. Waves of bacteria set up shop alongside insects and other decomposers. A few researchers have started to call this community the necrobiome, and by studying it they are piecing together the ecology of death.

Until recently, we knew surprisingly little about which microbes are part of the necrobiome. One research team broke new ground by reporting in September that the microbial community living on de...

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