Is zombie apocalypse possible? What are the expectations of scientists? Read this sample essay about zombies to get the answers.
With the zombie-horror genre quickly becoming a mainstay in American culture, many are wondering – some even worrying – about the likelihood of the undead walking the Earth. Cracked.com, an American humor website, provided scenarios that could possibly lead to such a catastrophe. The first scenario provided is brain parasites, namely toxoplasmosa gondii or rather, an evolved strain of it. Essentially, this parasite infects rats, but can only breed in cats’ intestines, so it warps the rat’s brain to make the rat intentionally go to a cat and get itself eaten. And this brain parasite doesn’t solely exist in animals.
About half of the human population is currently infected with toxoplasmosa gondii, on which research conducted has shown personality changes and higher rates of insanity among the infected. While it may never naturally evolve to the point that it would result in a zombie apocalypse, one can’t deny the fact that there may potentially be institutions out there that may be attempting to weaponize such parasites.
Another potential scenario is the case of neurotoxins. There are extant poisons that restrict bodily functions to where it medically resembles death. If the subject is then given datura stramonium, the subject can “come back to life” in a trance-like state and perform basic tasks. Such was the case of Clairvius Narcisse, a Haitian man who allegedly after being declared dead and buried, wandered back into his village 18 years later after working on a plantation in a zombie-like state. Researchers believed that he had been initially administered pufferfish toxin and had been dosed with datura stramonium after his body had been recovered. The threat level is low due to the fact that even if this method can turn people into mindless zombies, their seeming lack of aggression and cannibalistic instincts indicates they pose no grave threat.
As seen in the film 28 Days Later, the “rage virus” that makes people become unthinking monsters is a possible scenario. An example is what happens when humans ingest meat from cows with mad cow disease, resulting in, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; though it’s quite uncommon and doesn’t result in a cannibalistic horde, it proves that a disease that could inhibit one’s ability to absorb serotonin could result in the aforementioned horde. Neurogenesis, the regeneration of dead brain tissue, is another potential zombie apocalypse scenario. Scientists have already begun reanimation research, but it results in the cortex basically dying, leaving the individual with only basic motor functions and primitive instincts. The idea that the implementation of nanotechnology, namely nanobots or “microscopic, self-replicating robots,” that can potentially repair damaged neural connections is another possible doomsday scenario. The fear comes from the idea that nanobots could possibly manipulate a deceased human host, even seeking out another host as the current one decomposes, (Sloth and Wong).
A similar article from Cracked.com presents a counterargument to the zombie apocalypse scenarios, listing several reasons as to why a zombie apocalypse would never happen. One, zombies would have too many potential “predators” for the outbreak to become the end of the world. Without the human’s intelligence and survival sense, a zombie would fall prey to not only animals but to insects that feast on dead flesh as well.
The decomposing flesh of a zombie would also not be able to withstand the constant heat from the summer sun, nor the freezing winter. The heat would speed up the timeline of decomposition and the cold would freeze the remaining water in the body. Also, the decomposing host body would not be able to recover from any damage it received. Another reason the zombie uprising would fail is the world’s topography is basically zombie-proof. The cities are full of high-rise buildings and the rural areas have mountains, rivers, etc., that a mindless zombie would not have the mental capacity to navigate. Most importantly, humans are good at killing. The number of gun-owning citizens in the U.S. alone – 14 million as of 2004 – gives credence to the idea that a zombie uprising would never develop into a full-blown zombie apocalypse.