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Introduction

Introduction

Do zombies exist in nature, and if so, what are they, and how do they enter this state of "undeath?" The word zombie first came into the English language in the 1800s, when poet Robert Southey mentioned it in his History of Brazil.

Special Cases

Special Cases

  1. One case study says the situation of a 53-year-old woman who "was complaining that she was dead, smelled like rotting flesh, and wanted to be taken to a morgue so that she could be with dead people."
  2. Another says 65-year-old man believed that his organs, including his brain, had stopped working and the house in which he lived was slowly but steadily falling apart. The man's suicide note revealed that he wanted to kill himself as he feared spreading a deadly infection to the villagers who resultantly might suffer from cancer.

Zombie Plants

Zombie Plants

The bacteria — which insects disseminate — infect plants such as goldenrods, which have yellow flowers. The infection causes the goldenrods to put out leaf-like extensions instead of their usual blooms.

Researchers have studied the activity of phytoplasma, a type of insect. Phytoplasmas can grow leaf-like growths that attract more insects, which allows the bacteria to "travel" widely and infect other plants. Researchers are fascinated by how this transformation can bend the host's "will" to make it grow the elements they require to thrive.

The Reanimated Virus

The Reanimated Virus

  • In 2014, researchers from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique at Aix–Marseille Université in France dug a fascinating organism out of the Siberian permafrost: a so-called giant virus, about 30,000 years old, which they named Pithovirus sibericum.
  • P. sibericum is a DNA virus that contains a large number of genes — as many as 500. The size of giant viruses, as well as the fact that they contain such a large amount of DNA, can make them particularly dangerous. Scientists warn that there may be similar giant viruses buried inside the permafrost that could prove dangerous to humans.

Zombie Ants

Zombie Ants

Ophiocordyceps is a species of fungus that infects, controls, and kills carpenter ants. The parasitic fungus takes control of the insect's mind, altering its behavior to make the propagation of fungal spores more likely. Mycologists are counting the species of Ophiocordeps, which has over 200 species.



Human Zombie Cases

Human Zombie Cases

Dr. Douyon and Prof. Littlewood examined the three “zombies,” and found that they had not been the victims of an evil spell. Instead, medical reasons could explain their zombification.

  • The first "zombie" had catatonic schizophrenia, a rare condition that makes the person act as though they are walking in a stupor.
  • The second person had experienced brain damage, and also had epilepsy.
  • the third appeared merely to have a learning disability

Zombi Spiders

Zombi Spiders

French researchers have created artificial "cocoons" for Zatypota wasps, which lay eggs on the abdomen of A. eximius spiders. When the egg hatches and the wasp larva emerges, it starts feeding on the spider and begins to take control of its body. The insect turns into a zombie-like creature that is compelled to stray away from its mates and spin the cocoon.

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