How Zombies Could Actually Happen: A Research Paper
Imagine a person infected with a disease to the point that they are some how no longer who they were before. The disease would take over the brain and make the body do only one thing, infect others. Sounds like a bad horror movie? Well think again. There are plenty of viruses, fungi, parasites, and chemicals in the world that affect the brain already and could cause such a thing to happen. The “zombie” wouldn’t be eating brains but it would want to spread the virus. Who is to say that a virus cannot mutate into something horrendous. This essay will show you that there are viruses, fungi, parasites, and chemicals that either can or have ...view middle of the document...
However these zombies can not necessarily spread their afflictions to anyone else. However they should be mentioned due to the fact that they are where zombies originated and they are accounted as real life zombies.
Another account of real life zombies is Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a fungus that infects ants. The fungus has a very strange way of acting, it takes over the brain and higher functions of the ant and makes it do its bidding. Katherine Harmon from Scientific American describes the process: “Once infected, the spore-possessed ant will climb down from its normal habitat and bite down, with what the authors call a “death grip” on a leaf and then die.” (Katherine scientificamerican.com). However where the leaf they anchor themselves on is pretty much the same every time an ant is taken over. Then the fungus would grow and sprout spores, reproducing and causing more to be spread. This fungus also gives us the first example of a possibility of an infection. Not only is there Ophiocordyceps unilateralis but according to Science Daily 4 more species of this fungus have been discovered, all doing along the same lines as the first one. (ScinceDaily sciencedaily.com). This could mean that somewhere, undiscovered in the world could be a fungus that could do the same to us. Also through common animal mutation, which fungi follow, it could adapt to infect the much faster, much more versatile human being and take over us. We would be nothing more than a pawn to this fungus. However this idea isn’t even the scariest. We already have many pathogens that can infect humans, and it could be anything. But fungi aren’t the only kind of living organism that infects others.
Parasites have been around for millions and millions of years. There are some parasites that are feet long and there are some that are very small. Now imagine if over half the population of the planet is infected with a parasite that resides in the brain. Tough to imagine? Luckily you do not have to, it already exits. It’s called toxoplasmosa gondii and it can affect how people and animals react. It begins with a rat. The rat that is infect with this parasite would want to go towards the cats, not away from them like a normal rat. This would cause them to get eaten and the cats to spread the parasite in their stomach. But humans can get infected too. Carl Zimmer says:
Some scientists believe that Toxoplasma changes the personality of its human hosts, bringing different shifts to men and women. Parasitologist Jaroslav Flegr of Charles University in Prague administered psychological questionnaires to people infected with Toxoplasma and controls. Those infected, he found, show a small, but statistically significant, tendency to be more self-reproaching and insecure. Paradoxically, infected women, on average, tend to be more outgoing and warmhearted than controls, while infected men tend to be more jealous and suspicious. (Zimmer corante.com)
Also it has been shown to lead to...