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Return to Zombic Sociology
|Night of the Living Dead (1968)|
Fact: Despite appearances to the contrary, a person infected with the zombism virus never actually dies before awakening as a zombie. For instance, zombic circulation is taken up by the skeletal muscles, rendering the heart inert.
Fact: Most zombies live less than a year. Even if they manage to remain fed and avoid extermination, they will eventually either starve to death as their GI tract becomes too necrotic to absorb nutrients, or die from respiratory failure. While vampires often fare better than zombies due to their speed, intellect and agelessness, they too are far from immortal.
|I Walked with a Zombie (1943)|
Fact: Like their vampiric cousins, zombies are created by the transmission of a virus.
Fact: Well-fed zombies can afford to be discriminating, as they will generally eat the more nutritious brains and bone marrow and leave the rest of the corpse untouched. However, hungry zombies will leave only the bones. On a related note: as touched upon in Return of the Living Dead, zombies do in fact experience chronic pain, and the various neurotransmitters found in human brains and bone marrow provide them temporary relief. Unlike that movie, however, zombies are unable to speak.
|Tarman from Return of the Living Dead|
Fact: While toxic chemicals and radiation are quite effective at cooking flesh and causing cancer, sterility and birth defects, they absolutely cannot create zombies. In high enough doses, it's even lethal to them.
Mitochondria requires oxygen and glucose|
to produce long-term cellular energy.
Fact: Although slowed to minimal levels, zombies do in fact require all of the above in order to create enough adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for long-term muscle movement and brain function. If zombies had to rely on anaerobic respiration and autodigestion, they wouldn't last very long at all, and would be far too weak to pose much of a threat. Furthermore, if they had zero circulation, all the blood would pool into the hands and feet, causing them to swell and necrotize faster, rendering the zombie even more immobile and unable to hunt.
Fact: If the former were true, zombies wouldn't even be able to stand, let alone walk and capture prey. As for the latter, zombies are actually surprisingly social creatures.
Fact: Not only do zombies lose all of their hearing within a couple months, their powerful sense of smell allows them to sniff out prey within a mile-wide radius. As a result, unless you're able to mask your scent, it doesn't really matter how quiet you are.
|The Walking Dead|
Fact: Unless the brainstem is hit, zombies can survive multiple gunshots to the head and keep coming—though not without some reduced functionality in sensory and movement. Essentially, you need to remove a zombie's head from its body to stop it, preferably with a shotgun (or a sword). Using anything else requires more precision, such as a pistol in the mouth or a sniper round through the base of the skull. Automatic weapons tend to be rather wasteful, and are better suited for vampires anyway.
|A severed zombie head being "put down"|
Fact: While it's true that zombie heads can remain conscious for up to a minute after decapitation, any movement after that is purely reflex action.
|Bub the zombie from Day of the Dead|
Fact: Although true for early-stagers, zombies ultimately become less intelligent as they decay and lose brain function.
Fact: Zombies do in fact sleep, if only for a couple hours at a time. A long string of catnaps is probably the best way to describe their sleep cycle.
|Michonne and her "pets"|
Fact: "Disarmed" zombies, overwhelmed with panic and confusion, will actually thrash around violently until they pass out from exhaustion, sleep for a while, then wake up and repeat this cycle until they die of starvation. Even if that weren't the case, zombies operate mostly on scent to distinguish prey from themselves, and it takes a lot more than being near a zombie to mask it. Which brings us to our next entry:
The latest fashion of the|
modern zombie hunter?
Fact: Experimental "deadsuits" employ the suppression and filtration systems of the modern wetsuit to mask the human pheromone, while the addition of several non-toxic plant extracts used to simulate the scent of rotting flesh transforms the wearer into a "zombie." These have functioned wonderfully in the field, with the only real drawbacks being heat discomfort from the suit's insulation and breathing difficulty in the respirator equipment. Maximum time in the deadsuit is about 3 hours.
|An orgonite pyramid|
Fact: Unless you drown them in it, orgone water has absolutely no effect on zombies or vampires. As for orgonite itself: while aesthetically pleasing, you'd be better off using it as a paperweight.
Fact: Because zombies travel slowly between towns and cities and break down quickly without food, most outbreaks are strictly local and last only a week or two at most. Furthermore, the virus isn't airborne and takes at least 8 to 14 hours to create a zombie; and ingesting contaminated water rarely results in infection. Basically, it would take considerable human effort to cause even a statewide pandemic.
|A submerged zombie head surveying its surroundings|
Chemicals secreted by the parasite slow the growth of necrotizing bacteria. Limited circulation still takes place in the walker's cardiovascular system via skeletal muscle contraction, both to supplement the parasitic circulation and to keep too much blood from pooling in the extremities. Thanks to these redundancies, walkers can function for years while intact and well-fed—or at least several months as just severed heads, until they shut down from starvation.
As for why humans die from walker bites: a deadly cocktail of oral bacteria and a neurotoxic venom produced by the parasite.