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Zombie Apocalypse – Humans Or Animal
By now, TV & movies have saturated our entertainment with zombies of all kinds. There are slow ones, fast ones and even once in a while, intelligent ones. By and large though, zombies are characterized as non-thinking with their primitive impulses tied to the need to feed on non-infected humans. At the end of the day, however, given ample opportunites and resources, they can be outsmarted.
But what if the zombie infection isn’t human but rather some other earth creature. Enter the raven, the most intelligent bird on the planet, linked to death and darkness throughout history and sometimes known as a supernatural messenger.
Seriously, folks. This is a bird that is being studied by Neuroscience. Let me throw a few facts at you, gleaned from research so far. Until recently, neuroscience had not seriously considered ravens for study subjects because of one outstanding fact. They have no neocortex. This is the brain structure in humans and other mammals that is believed allows for cognitive abilities. But ravens have still developed these abilities within their brains and this indicates there are different ways that intelligence can and does develop. So, if humans can be zombies, why can’t ravens?
Reminiscent of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “The Birds” and even more currently the attacks displayed in one of the ‘Resident Evil’ movies, we can get an eerie glimpse into not only a creature that would be a formidable adversary when congregating in numbers, simply by taking the time to observe them as they presently are. Watch them closely and you may notice them communicating with one another by their vocalizations. One raven calls out and another one answers! They are consciously controlling their calls to their favor. They are not sitting by idly singing away. They are working things out! They have the ability to learn, show gratitude by gifting and also exhibit signs of being unforgiving to those who offend them.
It appears from current folklore that you have to die to become a zombie or the process itself kills you then reanimates the body with limited and selective brain control. It will never happen. Ridiculous, right? Consider the latest findings of science. Scientists have successfully reanimated a pig’s brain ten hours after death. It is currently an established fact that brain cells begin to die within 5 minutes after death due to lack of oxygen. This experiment showed not only the cell breakdown stopping, but oxygen intake by the remaining cells began as well as generation of carbon dioxide. It is important to note from this experiment there was no noticed celluar communication, meaning no awareness or perception, basically what we would describe as thought. But isn’t this similar to what we describe a zombie being, robot-like drive by the basest of impulses?
The degree of cerebellar degeneration would lead to many of the apparent walking difficulties of the zombie infection. If the cortical motor areas and basal ganglia pathways of the brain remain intact, the zombie can move sufficiently enough to drive it to its source of food (uhmmm, by that I mean us, just why hasn’t been defined). If the zombie is a raven, it could still use its main motor movement, that is, flying. A flock of flying zombie ravens would constitute a formidable challenge to move around, even if they no longer possessed a cognitive ability to coordinate an attack.
But we can handle a bunch of birds, right? Well, consider the current coronavirus spreading around the globe. From what is known, it is not an airborne disease but is transferred between people via contact by respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing within six feet of another person. Infection can also be caused by contact with saliva, blood, phlegm, etc. Dr. Jeffrey D. Klausner, professor of medicine and public health at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA states most masks won’t prevent coronavirus infection. “The viruses are too small, and the air readily flows around the bridge of the nose and on the sides of the mask,” Klausner explained. “So those masks are not really designed to prevent people from inhaling viruses. What they are designed to do is to prevent people from coughing or sneezing respiratory viruses that they might have outward.” Well, there goes the market for creating little bird masks!
This is scarey enough in itself, but what happens when a virus, which loves to mutate as viruses have been known to do, starts to be transmitted between animals and humans. One such example today is a bird-to-human contractable disease called Histoplasmosis, spread by fungal spores released into the air when contaminated soil or droppings are disturbed. Breathing the spores may lead to a lung infection. That is where a classic zombie apocalypse really takes off. You don’t have to be physically attacked to be affected. Now you have reason to fear those ravens!!! The next opportunity you have where you encounter one, pause for a moment and take notice. It’s their icy cold stares and lack of fear for human presence, the sentinel appearance but most of all, the communication with other ravens. Their calls are with degrees of variance indicative of language. Maybe Alfred Hitchcock was on to something all those years ago.
Getting back to human zombies, the movie industry has really taken liberties to the entertaining extreme. In the world today we have alien experts, paranormal experts, bigfoot experts, etc. but at least with hypothetical zombies, some science can be applied as follows:
1) a zombie will continually decay on its own to a point where its muscles cannot function
2) since the brain controls the body’s actions, shooting it there should disable it permanently. They wouldn’t feel pain however you could immobilize them by targeting the limbs.
3) they would not be particulary strong, but would appear to be due to no longer being restricted from lactic acid buildup in the muscles from extended exertion.
3) they should not be able to run. Decomposition of muscles should prevent that increasingly.
4) they are not grouping up, they are all just pursuing the same food source for them, ignoring each other as if the others weren’t there.
5) they are not intelligent, they are reactive (your advantage to outwit them & survive)
6) since zombies cannot reproduce they could only “recruit” new members from attacks, time would be on mankind’s side to eliminate them by steadily decimating their numbers.
In my opinion, a world-wide zombie epidemic could be successful if it exploits the most major weakness the human race has exhibited so far….. the inability to work together for the benefit of all!