1. #1

    Is THAT decapitation scene realistic?

    The Assassins Creed Unity co-op trailer has a fairly graphic decapitation scene, I was wondering, is this realistic? I found some pretty convincing reading to suggest that yes, it is! I found this interesting, wondered what you guys thought. For those of you who prefer to not watch the video, here's the text I found:

    http://blog.soulwire.co.uk/notes/mis...d-of-languille

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  2. #2
    I always thought that the thing that the head briefly stays alive after decapitation was a legend, but even the straight dope guys aren’t sure: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...r-decapitation

    I’m not a doctor but I think that the shock of being decapitated is enough to immediately render the brain unconscious and any movement are just spasms... like chickens’ bodies sometimes run around after being decapitated.
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  3. #3
    JustPlainQuirky's Avatar Senior Member
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    What gin0r said.

    It's just body spasms.

    you don't actually proccess anything me thinks.
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  4. #4
    Aphex_Tim's Avatar Senior Member
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    That's the frustrating thing. No one lived to tell about it.
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  5. #5
    An interesting read there, thanks.

    I think some twitching etc is undoubtedly caused by spasms, as obviously the spinal cord has just been dealt a massive blow, I don't tho think that that covers all movements, ditto. shock.

    Purely for the sake of discussion I'd like to mention a couple of points, without laying any claim that what I posit is 'the truth'.

    You may have heard of phantom pains associated with limb loss, where someone who has lost a limb can still complain of pain from that limb, or even report sensations of it moving and still being there. One theory is that neurological pathways that would normally report sensation for such stimuli still exist within the brain, and if neighbouring neurons/pathways are stimulated, the activity can be picked up and misinterpreted by the brain.

    It is also widely accepted that the brain lives for several minutes without oxygen, CPR simply wouldn't work if this was not the case.

    I'd say that for some time after decapitation, the brain is still going to be active, in a lot, maybe the vast majority, the shoch may well easilly be enough to cause a total shutdown, but I'd be inclined to believe that some at least would actually have an inkling of what just happened, then maybe a delayed shock would kick in.

    On the flip side tho, as a species we are incredibly adept at reading facial expression/language, to the point that we can and will 'see' language that isn't actually there, an instance is when we 'see' human expressions on a dog/cat. they don't have human expressions at all, but we anthropomorphise what we see so it makes sense.

    It is entirely possible that someone witness a decapitated head will 'see' emotions and expressions that don't actually exist from the point of view that the head is trying to express something, but instead subconsciously making sense out of involuntary movements.

    Either way, when I first saw the scene I did think it was a bit unrealistic, possibly gratuitously so, I'm forced to think my initial view was wrong
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  6. #6
    Reminds me of a news story lately in which a Chinese chef was killed by a snake head he had chopped off twenty minutes earlier: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-n...-after-4088634

    On the topic I don't really know, not sure I want to think about it too much
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  7. #7
    I could have sworn I read somewhere that they did experiments about this during the French Revolution. In which they would ask the head of a victim to blink and they would on command. And other such similar things. I always thought they confirmed that the brain lives for minute or two after a swift decapitation such as guillotine or saber.

    That's the whole reason they hold the head up after. Not so the crowd can see. But so the last thing the victim sees is the crowd.

    It's for the uncertainty as to if they are alive for that minute or two that guillotines are considered cruel and unusual punishment in most countries.
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  8. #8
    1.) There have been experiments with decapitated heads with one being done in the early 1900s. A doctor got the decapitated head of a prisoner and kept yelling at it to keep its eyes open. The head responded to his yelling for several minutes.
    2.) Russia performed some rather heinous experiments some time ago (want to say the 1940s to 1950s) concerning taking the head of a puppy and attaching it to the body of an adult dog. The two lived for several days before finally dying. It was said the older dog actually got bored of the puppy trying to play. X-Files did a movie (I Want to Believe, I think. The second one at any rate) regarding it. Truth is stranger than fiction. While the movie's fictitious, the experiment the movie's based on happened.

    The Russia experiment, as gruesome as what it was, proves the head doesn't die immediately upon decapitation and can live long enough to be reattached. The other experiment shows the head can respond to interaction for several minutes. If the former were just spasms, then the latter wouldn't be true. The puppy would have died before being attached to the adult dog and then would have killed the adult dog a lot faster.

    If the severed head's movements were only spasms, then yelling at it wouldn't really effect it any. That's like yelling at your knee and expecting it to jump without being hit. You have to hit your knee for it to move. That's like the myth of sneezing or coughing causes avalanches. Yeah ... no.

    At any rate, no one ever lives to tell the tale so possible we'll never know ... especially since it's considered to not be a pleasant way to die.

    ... I really know too many random things. Really wish I didn't know the above. It gives me nightmares, especially since I'm an animal lover.
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  9. #9
    HiddenKiller612's Avatar Senior Member
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    takes 6-10 seconds or more for your brain to comprehend that it is dead or removed from the body.
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  10. #10
    Aphex_Tim's Avatar Senior Member
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    In the end I think it's just the lack of oxygen that kills the brain after a couple of seconds.
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