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Establishing the time since death is critical in every death investigation, yet existing techniques are susceptible to a range of errors and biases. For example, forensic entomology is widely used to assess the postmortem interval (PMI), but errors can range from days to months. Microbes may provide a novel method for estimating PMI that avoids many of these limitations. Here we show that postmortem microbial community changes are dramatic, measurable, and repeatable in a mouse model system,doi:10.7554/elife.01104 pmid:24137541 pmcid:PMC3796315 fatcat:ixzi4fijvrb2xpsntvkg2ob7s4