Zombies. Without the need for introducing what they are, seem to have pervaded into many of today’s culture. A global phenomenon, the undead have been glorified in countless films, video games and literary works, and we seem to just love and at the same time fear them.
We seem to obsess a lot over the zombie apocalypse and all the horror and brooding drama it brings.
It is all fiction however but did you know that zombies in some sense could cross into our realm of reality and I mean the kind of zombies that work on viruses and parasites and not the kind of evil undead of fantasy works?
So, is a zombie apocalypse possible?
Science points out that yes it could happen and here are just but four of the biggest real-world reasons why that could be:
- Neurotoxins – Neurotoxins are substances or chemical agents that can cause damage to nerve tissue. It can affect the communication between neurons which could cause problems aplenty. You might be familiar with them because of chemical weapon attacks on the news even though they’re most commonly found in your beer or preferred alcoholic beverage but to a sort of lesser degree. With the right mix, it could slow down bodily functions until the person or organism afflicted reaches a deathlike state. Real world examples that carry neurotoxins so powerful that can leave you in this deathlike state are Fugu or Japanese blowfish and the pufferfish; with the right conditions. It’s something waiting to be weaponized and engineered to bring about zombie terror or an even far bigger zombie apocalypse but until then it isn’t that much possible of happening on its own.
- Brain Parasites – The most alarming example of this is Toxoplasma gondii. It doesn’t directly target humans per say but instead, rats. Once a rat is infected, the parasite takes control over its brain and then proceeds to seek out cats for it to breed inside of. These parasites by the way intentionally get the controlled rat killed or eaten in the process. What should really jump you is that the fact that more than half of the world’s population, and I mean humans, have Toxoplasma gondii allegedly due to their cats; over 60 million people in the United States has it alone. Links have been made around its alleged play in abnormal behavior of humans carrying it and if it were to evolve or be modeled around then weaponized, it could spell zombie apocalypse for that half and the remaining rest of the world.
- Neurogenesis – Stem cell research has lead to us being able to regenerate dead cells, decaying organs which could be a good thing but at the same time controversially also a bad thing. Neurogenesis is the method by which we can re-grow dead brain tissue and that’s because of stem cell research but it doesn’t work as well as you might think it could. Once the brain has decayed enough, unless the regeneration happens immediately after its decaying starts, the outer layer, the layer contains the things that give us logic, memory, and feelings, will also have been decayed and impossible to bring back but the inner layers, that which constitutes the brain stem which is responsible for the functions that keep us living such as breathing and our heartbeats, will most likely still remain. So if that specific kind of scenario plays out, we might see actual zombies, people whom lost the ability to think and are literally dead inside acting now on basic instinct.
- Diseases – Viruses, Bacteria, Fungus etc. – Mad Cow Disease is known to be a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of infected cattle causing them to be mindless and aggressive. This disease you should know can also be transmitted to humans and is known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Symptoms of the afflicted were changes in gait, hallucinations, disturbances in muscle coordination, twitching muscles, seizures, and dementia. Symptoms quite similar to the characteristics of a zombie, however, it hasn’t shown to cause any aggressive behavior. While the disease is rare and not that profound, it does have us wondering if it could mutate or evolve anymore to be truly frightening or if another virus or bacteria or fungus, by the way there’s a parasitic fungus called Ophiocordyceps that takes over the brains of ants through its spores and spreads itself by instructing it where to move as it’ll then release a stalk out of its head and when that’s done it’ll release mores spores so the cycle repeats, or what have you could come up in its stead signaling the zombie apocalypse.
You shouldn’t be too afraid, however. It would require some big real special unfortunate things to happen in sequence for any of these events to actually happen. And even if any of it does, governments and government agencies such as that of the United States of America already have their own sort of protocol in preparation for such a disaster. This list shouldn’t make you want to immediately shelter off from the world but rather it should inform you that a cataclysm such as a zombie apocalypse could very well dawn over us and happen.
This list shouldn’t make you want to immediately shelter off from the world but rather it should inform you that a cataclysm such as a zombie apocalypse could very well dawn over us and happen.