Reasons Why The Walking Dead Scares the Crap Out of Me

A friend recently turned me on to AMC television series The Walking Dead.  I normally find television shows to be vapid and degenerate, but I like this one. One reason is that, unlike most shows, I find its happenings mostly plausible. Even Newsroom features dialogue that one could never expect to hear out of actual humans’ mouths. The zombie show is a closer approximation of real life.

The zombie apocalypse serves as the setting more than as the central driver of the plot, which features such themes as “people are more dangerous than zombies” and “the demise of the state’s monopoly on violence and the return to interpersonal/tribal security dilemmas will plunge us into a brutal Hobbesian state of nature.”

But what scares me the most is that some sort of zombie-creating infection is not outside of the realm of possibility.  Exhibit A:

The female A. borealis flies will inject their eggs into a honeybee’s abdomen soon after coming into contact with the bee, the researchers saw in their laboratory. About seven days later, up to 25 mature fly larvae emerge from the area between the bee’s head and thorax. In the wild, no more than 13 larvae were observed busting from a single honeybee.

The researchers found that parasitized bees in the wild abandon their hives and congregate near light sources, where they begin to behave strangely. A bee near death typically will sit in one place and curl up, but these infected bees walked around in circles, appearing disoriented and with little equilibrium, often not being able to stand up.

“They kept stretching [their legs] out and then falling over,” Andrew Core, biology graduate student at San Francisco State University and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “It really painted a picture of something like a zombie.”

Exhibit B:

Originally thought to be a single species, called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, the fungus is actually four distinct species—all of which can “mind control” ants—scientists announced Wednesday.

The fungus species can infect an ant, take over its brain, and then kill the insect once it moves to a location ideal for the fungi to grow and spread their spores.

And Exhibit C (which I found while searching for examples of Exhibit B!!!!):


  1. […] year I wrote that The Walking Dead hits a bit close to home because there are real and deadly parasites that […]

  2. […] of previous posts about how the zombie genre hits closer to scientific home than most of us realize, […]

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