Rigor Mortis Mortis= death Rigor=stiffness. By Natalie Rochette. What is it?. One of the recognizable signs of death (mortis=death) chemical change in the muscles after death which cause the limbs of the corpse to become stiff and difficult to move.
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By Natalie Rochette
The cells no longer have the energy to pump calcium out of the cell and so the calcium concentration rises, forcing the muscles to remain in a contracted state. This state of muscle stiffening is known as rigor mortis and it remains until the muscle proteins start to decompose.
Meat that is butchered and immediately frozen or eaten is usually tougher than meat that is butchered, and then "aged" in a cooler for a period of time due to the concept of rigor mortis.