Last updated September 8, 2017 at 10:31 am
Urrrnnngghhhhgggghhhh… Zombies have earned their place in popular culture and science fiction, but is there any science to these fictional creatures? Short answer: not hugely, but it’s fun to speculate!
I love zombies. I think they’re the greatest monster in fiction. Zombies – classic Romero zombies – are strong, they’re relentless, and they’re hungry. Stories about them let us examine our nature as human beings, and as a crew on Spaceship Earth. And while not everyone shares my passion for zombies, I usually find that people have at least one burning question about them. So here they are, my top three FAZQ.
Frequently Asked Zombie Questions
How do zombies spread?
The most logical way a zombie plague would start is through zoonotic infection – basically a disease that transfers from animals to humans. These types of infection are really common – bird flu, swine, the flippin’ plague. The zombie infection is spread through bodily fluid contact, so it’s probably a virus, not a bacterial infection. There is plenty of math in how a zombie infection would move like an epidemic – starting with a small amount of cases, and then before long growing exponentially.
Do zombies poop?
I used to think that if they did, it would be mechanical more than anything. My theory went that when zombies are eating, all they are doing is sort of forcing the flesh into their bodies, but not digesting it. They may manage to keep packing it in enough to force it all the way through their former digestive system, but I figured it would come out pretty much the same way it went in. But then our scientific knowledge of the gut microbiome exploded. So now I think they would poo, but it would still not be properly formed. The flesh still wouldn’t be chewed up, so the bacteria wouldn’t be able to do their job properly. Plus, the zombies would be at a much higher risk of heart disease.
How do I survive the zombie apocalypse?
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, and there are a few things that I don’t think most zombie fiction covers properly. So along with all of the really obvious stuff – stockpile supplies, get out of populated areas, don’t get bitten – here are the tips that Big Zombie doesn’t want you to know.
- Activewear! Be grateful for the athleisure revolution – you don’t want loose garments that zombie fingers can lock around, or fabrics that restrict and weigh you down in the long run. One of the first places I’m looting is definitely a sports store. (and while I’m there I’ll be grabbing energy gels, protein powder, and baseball bats). If you really don’t want to get caught in those zombie clutches, I’d also recommend chopping off ponytails and man-buns.
- GET ON YA BIKE MATES. Bikes are where it is AT. They are basically silent but they can move so fast – not that you even really need to, you’ve just go to be faster than zombies. Bikes don’t need any fuel (except food, but ultimately you can grow that – you can’t grow petrol). And, since it’s the zombpocalypse, no one will knick your wheels, so you can ride into town, jump off the bike, do your supply run or whatever, and jump back on the bike all without slowing down to lock and unlock it.
- Easy kills. If you see a zombie and you can kill it, kill it. So often in zombie fiction, the character will creep past a lone zombie that doesn’t see them, or they’ll walk past a zombie that’s stuck in mud or something. But that zombie will notice them later, get out of the mud somehow, or even worse infect other people and create new zombies. If humanity is going to survive, you’re going to eventually need to wipe out all zombies, why not do it as you go.
Want to see how you’d really face the zombie apocalypse? Check out Zedtown.
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