How long does it take for chimpanzee to decompose?

August 23, 2023
min read

Short answer

The decomposition time of a chimpanzee can vary depending on various factors such as environmental conditions and size of the body. On average, it can take several weeks to months for a chimpanzee to decompose completely.


The decomposition of a chimpanzee begins shortly after death and progresses through several stages. In the first stage, known as fresh decay, the body undergoes autolysis, a process in which cellular enzymes begin to break down the tissues. This stage is marked by the release of foul odors due to the gases produced by bacteria and microorganisms. Within a few days, the skin starts to turn greenish and blisters may form, as gases build up under the epidermis.

The second stage of decomposition is known as putrefaction. Bacteria continue to multiply, causing the body to bloat and the skin to rupture, allowing for the escape of gases. Maggots, attracted by the distinct smell of rot, begin to infest the carcass as they break down the soft tissues. Putrefaction can last for several weeks, during which the body begins to collapse and skeletonization starts to occur.

The final stage of decomposition, called skeletonization, occurs as the majority of soft tissues have decomposed or been consumed. Only the more resilient parts, such as bones and cartilage, remain. At this point, scavengers like vultures and insects continue to feed on any remaining tissue. Depending on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity, the complete decomposition and skeletonization of a chimpanzee can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

Is it possible to recycle chimpanzee?

Intresting facts

  • Decomposition of chimpanzees typically begins soon after death, as bacterial and enzymatic processes break down the soft tissues. This process is influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity, presence of insects, and access to oxygen.
  • The decomposition stages of a chimpanzee's corpse can be categorized into five main phases: fresh, bloated, active decay, advanced decay, and dry/remains. These phases are characterized by distinctive changes in body appearance, odor, and insect activity.
  • During the fresh stage, which lasts for a few hours, the chimpanzee's body becomes limp and relaxed, and the muscle fibers begin to lose their tone. Blood drains from the body, resulting in a pale appearance.
  • As decomposition progresses into the bloated stage, gases produced by bacteria and other microorganisms cause the body to expand and become distended. The bloating is most prominent in the abdominal area, giving the corpse a swollen appearance.
  • In the advanced decay stage, most of the soft tissues have decomposed, leaving behind only bones, dry skin, and hair. Decomposition slows down at this point, and the remaining skeletal structure can persist for an extended period, depending on environmental conditions.

Summary and final thoughts

The decomposition time of a chimpanzee can vary depending on several factors such as the environment, temperature, presence of scavengers, and burial conditions. In general, the decomposition process can take several weeks to months. Initially, the body undergoes autolysis, where bacterial and enzymatic activity break down tissues. This is followed by putrefaction, characterized by the release of noxious gases and the emergence of various organisms that accelerate decomposition. Eventually, the body will reach a stage of advanced decay, where most soft tissues have been consumed, leaving behind only bones and hair. It is important to note that decomposition rates may be significantly slower or faster under certain conditions, highlighting the complexity of this process.

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