Why don’t living things rot? © iStock

Why don’t living things rot?

Rotting bodies are reserved to horror movies, aren't they?

They do, we just call it an infection. All living things are under continual attack from bacteria and fungi but they are mostly able to repel these invaders through a combination of the physical barrier of their skin and the cells of the immune system that attack anything that gets inside.

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If a microorganism manages to gain a foothold somewhere, cells die and the body begins to decompose. It doesn’t look quite the same as a rotting corpse because the living cells of the body are constantly battling to repair the damage. Dead things don’t resist the invaders.


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