Stage Time after death Events Confirmed in zombies? (If so - what examples?)
Pallor Mortis 15-20 minutes Paling of the skin Yes Marvin Branagh
Algor Mortis Varius Body temperature reduced to ambient temperature No Breath condensation - will discuss further.
Rigor Mortis 12-60 hours Stiffening of muscles Yes The zombie shamble in general is rather indicative
Livor Mortis Starts: 20mins-3hrs, lasts up to 12 Lack of heartbeat leads to blood being affected by gravity. ? No confirmation
Putrefaction Starts: 2-3 days Body begins to bloat and soft tissue begins to liquefy No Aside from the epic case of cataracts blinding the zombie (yes, they're pretty much blind), we don't really see putrefaction. It could be a stylization choice for reasons of Taste.
Decomposition Organic body broken down into simpler materials Yes We've seen a few rotten zombies.
Skeletonization Tissue gone; skeleton is visible. Some
Bows ch

What are you doing?

Anyway, long story short, I noticed something today. Zombies do not exhibit Algor Mortis. When the body has died, it will decrease by about two degrees celcius in the first hour, proceeding to decrease by one degree per hour until the body is equal to the ambient temperature, whether this be a room or the woods. Now, the normal human body is at an average of 37°C, with the average room temperature being approximately 23°C, some 14°C lower than the body temperature. That would meant that, based on this information, it will take a human corpse thirteen hours to reach ambient temperature, were it in a room at a consistent temperature of 23°C. Let us take note that the outbreak at the Arklay Laboratory began on May 11th, and continued to transform employees for as long as a month into the event - there was still another month before S.T.A.R.S.' investigation of the Cerberus' killings would lead them to the mansion. Surely their bodies would have reduced to ambient temperature by then. It's not like the zombies in the west wing routinely shamble to and from the residence and cabin (Although that Kitchen scene does prove that they know how to open doors).

Anyway, we all know enough about breath condensates to understand that when the environment is significantly cooler than your body temperature (or at least the temperature in your respiratory system), the water vapour in your breath will condense upon contact with the air in such a manner that the process can be seen by the human eye. I'd like to point out that you cannot see this take place then you're in a building at room temperature, so the zombies' bodies must be more than 15°C warmer than room temperature for it to occur. Regardless of whether or not the Spencer Mansion has paid its heating bill, the zombies have failed to loose their body temperatures.

Therefore, I am bringing up the hypothesis that the t-Virus infection does not lead to Algor Mortis; at least not to the extremes that an uninfected corpse will experience.

  1. The zombies have experienced Algor Mortis normally; Capcom simply forgot to take into account that the breath condensation would only make sense for an individual walking outside from a warmer building.
  2. My own hypothesis - they haven't experienced Algor Mortis and their respiratory organs are in use to some degree.

I think I prefer my own hypothesis, as it at least answers what water vapour is doing in a stiff after so long. I'll have to talk to my Biology friends regarding that last sentence, to be honest.