Forensic pathology

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Author: Mikael Häggström [note 1]

Estimation of time of death

An estimation of the time of death is made by postmortem changes of the body. A very approximate rule of thumb for estimating the postmortem interval is as follows:[1]

  • Warm and flaccid: less than 3 hours
  • Warm and stiff: 3 to 8 hours
  • Cold and stiff: 8 to 36 hours
  • Cold and flaccid: More than 36 hours.


  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Patholines:Authorship for details.

Main page


  1. Senior, T (2018). Forensic ecogenomics : the application of microbial ecology analyses in forensic contexts . London, United Kingdom San Diego, CA: Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-809360-3. OCLC 1023028365. 

Image sources

  1. Image(s) by: Mikael Häggström et al. - using source images from multiple authors (full list is located at image page in Wikimedia Commons.
    Attribution 4.0 International license