Study reveals this part of your body survives after you die

When we take our last breath, our vital functions come to an end. But somewhere in our bodies, something survives.

Study reveals this part of your body survives after you die
© Watchmen / DC Comics
Study reveals this part of your body survives after you die

What really happens when we die? Our heart stops beating, we stop breathing and everything comes to a halt? According to a new study published in Ecological Process, something goes on living after we die. And this 'something' with a vital function is to be found in our intestines.

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Gut microbiota and symbiosis

Their microscopic size makes them invisible to the naked eye, yet they're everywhere on our skin, mucous membranes and digestive tract... We're talking, of course, about the micro-organisms that live in symbiosis with us. According to INSERM:

Our digestive tract is home to no fewer than 10 to 13 powerful micro-organisms - as many as the number of cells that make up our body. This collection of non-pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi makes up our intestinal microbiota (or gut flora).

The micro-organisms in our intestines are thought to be the most important in the body. Their presence has been known for a relatively short time, but we now know that they are not mere parasites; on the contrary, they play a role in digestive, metabolic, immune and neurological functions.

They are accommodated and in exchange, help our organization to function. In a way, they become part of us through a win-win partnership.

Read more:Mystery as dead bodies are refusing to decompose in these cemeteries in Portugal

These micro-organisms help decompose the body after death

What happens to these microscopic living creatures after we die? While it was thought that they would die at the same time as we do, a study reveals that these tiny creatures continue to live long after we do. In an article published in The Conversation, Jennifer DeBruyn, who took part in the study, explains:

It's easy to assume that microbes disappear once they leave the body. However, previous studies by my research team have shown that DNA signatures of host-associated microbes can be detected in the soil beneath a decomposing body, on the soil surface and in graves for months or years after the body's soft tissues have decomposed.

According to the researchers' work, these micro-organisms combine with other microbes present in the soil where the body was buried to decompose it. This process also allows other organisms, such as plants, to develop. The Sun explains:

That's why it's common to see plants growing around graves.

Read more:This little-known phenomenon happens right after you die and it will shock you

This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

Sources used:

Ecological Process: Microbial community coalescence and nitrogen cycling in simulated mortality decomposition hotspots

INSERM: Microbiote intestinal (flore intestinale)

The Conversation: Your microbes live on after you die − a microbiologist explains how your necrobiome recycles your body to nourish new life

The Sun: LIFE AFTER DEATH Vital ‘part’ of the human body ‘continues to live’ after you’ve died and helps you turn into plants, study reveals

Hospice nurse reveals 'messy' phenomenon that happens in your body when you die Hospice nurse reveals 'messy' phenomenon that happens in your body when you die