In the first multi-year controlled experiment on insect infestation of dead bodies, Melanie Archer of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Melbourne, Australia, placed five pig carcasses in scavenger-proof wire cages and observed them for insect activity regularly for four months. She then repeated the experiment each season for two years.
Unexpectedly, the life cycles of several commonly observed carrion insects varied considerably from one year to the next, depending on variations in climate, local insect populations, and, potentially, a variety of other currently unknown factors. This could lead to significant margins of error in forensic estimates of time of death.
"The estimates are not as tight as some forensic scientists imply in court," Archer has concluded. "We need to introduce some rigour."
Yes, that's right — she's calling for more mortis rigor.