An Australian scientist have found that after studying a corpse for 17 months that dead bodies can continue to move for more than a year after death.

For a period of 17 months, Alyson Wilson studied and photographed on of 70 corpses stored at a “body farm” outside of Sydney.

The goal for them was to improve a common system to estimate the time of death according to AFP.

Wilson told ABC Capricornia ” “One arm went out and then came back in to nearly touching the side of the body again,” 

Because the position of a victim’s body goes into consideration in the mapping of a crime scene. These findings have the potential to help forensic investigators to more accurately estimate a body’s time of death. It could also assist in preventing misinterpretations of crime scenes.

Dr. Xanthe Mallet of the University of Newcastle in Australia told ABC that crime scene investigators operate on the assumption that the position a body is found in is the same position that it died in.

According to Mallet: “I think people will be surprised at just how much movement there was,” she continued telling ABC  “because I was amazed when I saw it, especially how much the arms were moving. It was astounding.”

Researchers was completely surprised as they expected some kind of movement in the very early stages of decomposition, not the continual movement.

They said in the study: ” “We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition, as the body mummifies and the ligaments dry out.”

Image Credit: Stewart Black