# CTE Resource Center - Verso - Forensic Technology Task 575511318

CTE Resource Center - Verso

Virginia’s CTE Resource Center

Describe the stages of postmortem tissue degeneration, including autolysis and putrefaction.


Description should include
  • fresh stage (e.g., livor mortis, rigor mortis, algor mortis, first arriving flies)
  • bloat stage (e.g., anaerobic bacteria leads to putrefaction [organ breakdown by bacteria] and autolysis [self-breakdown of individual cells])
  • active decay stage (e.g., deflation and larvae feeding)
  • advanced decay stage (e.g., most of the flesh and odor is gone, skeletonization)
  • dry decay (e.g., nearly odorless, bones, mummification).

Process/Skill Questions

  • Why is it important to be able to distinguish the stages of decomposition?
  • What factors can affect the decomposition process?
  • What does insect feeding tell us about decomposition?
  • What does the location of livor mortis say about the body in death?
  • How does rigor mortis tell us about the time of death?

Related Standards of Learning



The student will investigate and understand the chemical and biochemical principles essential for life. Key concepts include
  1. water chemistry and its impact on life processes;
  2. the structure and function of macromolecules;
  3. the nature of enzymes; and
  4. the capture, storage, transformation, and flow of energy through the processes of photosynthesis and respiration.


The student will investigate and understand relationships between cell structure and function. Key concepts include
  1. evidence supporting the cell theory;
  2. characteristics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells;
  3. similarities between the activities of the organelles in a single cell and a whole organism;
  4. the cell membrane model; and
  5. the impact of surface area to volume ratio on cell division, material transport, and other life processes.


The student will investigate and understand life functions of Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. Key concepts include
  1. comparison of their metabolic activities;
  2. maintenance of homeostasis;
  3. how the structures and functions vary among and within the Eukarya kingdoms of protists, fungi, plants, and animals, including humans;
  4. human health issues, human anatomy, and body systems;
  5. how viruses compare with organisms; and
  6. evidence supporting the germ theory of infectious disease.


The student will investigate and understand that the phases of matter are explained by kinetic theory and forces of attraction between particles. Key concepts include
  1. pressure, temperature, and volume;
  2. partial pressure and gas laws;
  3. vapor pressure;
  4. phase changes;
  5. molar heats of fusion and vaporization;
  6. specific heat capacity; and
  7. colligative properties.

Other Related Standards

ITEEA National Standards

14. Medical Technologies


TSA Competitive Events

Biotechnology Design