Our Decomposing Bodies Are Altering Earth’s Chemistry
It’s not only in life that humans leave their mark on nature. In death, our decomposing corpses alter the chemistry of precious soil. Whether our bodies are buried or cremated, they leach iron, zinc, sulfur, calcium, and phosphorus into ground that might later be used as farms, forests, or parks.
They are essential nutrients, but human funerary practices mean they are being concentrated in cemeteries instead of being dispersed evenly throughout nature, according to new research.
This means that in some places the nutrients may be over-concentrated for optimal absorption by plants and creatures, while lacking in others.