I love how popular the idea of zombies have become, but how there has never been any scientific evidence to back it up. The power of people’s imagination eh?
But the problem with imagination is that it doesn’t take care of the details… why are there only ever zombie people, not zombie dogs or zombie horses? What happens when all the real people have been eaten – do zombies eat zombies?
Anyway, there are a few ways that zombie *could* form, mostly to do with diseases of the brain we don’t understand, like parasites (lots of animals have them), a rage virus (like Mad Cow Disease for humans) , or poisons that effect your brain. Chances are, scientists would be able to catch it and quarantine it before it became an apocalypse though.
First – could zombies happen? Second – could they cause an apocalypse?
There’s actually some real things that have contributed to the whole idea of zombies. Apart from them being a kind of deep rooted psychological fear of most humans (we don’t want to become mindless zombies), they form part of several religions across the word. One place is in haiti, where they actually make some kind of…stuff… that can make people ‘appear’ to be zombies.
There are lots of diseases or viruses that give /some/ of the symptoms of being a zombie – like some reduce your body temperature a lot so it might appear that you’re dead, things like rabies can burst blood vessels and make you go a bit mental.
Films like 28 days later and more ‘modern’ zombie fiction tend to focus on a possible pathogen that turns people into zombies rather than it being more of a supernatural thing. But we don’t know of any real examples of zombie diseases.
2) Modelling zombie apocalypses is actually quite interesting and widely researched. it has applications in real pandemics, where a virus or disease is spread very fast. You can change variables like how fast the carriers move, how long the virus takes to incubate (invisibly) so could be carried on planes, things like that.
There’s a really good book called World War Z by Max Brooks (now being made into a film) that is kind of a ‘realistic’ account of a zombie apocalypse. (It also talks about some of the points Leila makes about zombies eating zombies and dogs and things like that!)
People that do do research into this kind of thing say that it could well happen (if zombies existed) unless we were able to deal with it really quickly.