Each anatomical region is given a score (1-13 for the head/neck, 1-12 for the trunk, and 1-10 for the limbs) based on the stage of decomposition (fresh, early decomposition, advanced decomposition, and skeletonization) and the presence of observable gross morphological changes associated with decomposition stages, including skin discoloration, presence or absence of bloat, mummification, adipocere
formation, moisture, bone exposure, and bone condition.
Putrefaction was noted in 6 bodies, mummification in 2 bodies, adipocere
formation in 3 cases and skeletonization (Incomplete) in 6 corpses.
The water promoted anaerobic bacterial hydrolysis of the fat in body tissue, which generated a waxy organic substance called adipocere
. It was this material that she discovered encasing bodies and preventing further decay.
She was covered over all with adipocere
, a pale gray cheesy mold common to corpses in damp places, and scallops of pale green fungus grew along.
This storehouse for the anatomically strange displays some 20,000 items, including grossly enlarged organs, the body of a woman whose corpse turned into a soapy substance called adipocere
, the bones of the tallest man in North America, and the death cast of Chang and Eng, the original "Siamese Twins," whose autopsy was performed in the museum.
The end result is called adipocere
, or grave wax, reports Discovery News.