Animal and Human Zombies

National Geographic has a cool little halloween feature highlighting those animalia who hop, slither, crawl and swim away from near death. (“Stay away from the light…” )

091028-01-american-wood-frog-zombie_big

My personal favorite are these woodfrogs that survive the intense experience of being turned into little froggy ice cubes during colder months and hop away with nary a scratch, but perhaps a little emotional trauma (ribbit!).

Although, there are more surprising examples than those that nat geo highlighted, including yeasts and bacterias that have been found to be viable after millions of years of dormancy. There’s even  a beer created from a strain of 45 million year-old yeast. Check out the associated story here.

However, if we’re on the topic of zombies, Hatian culture has long embraced the concept of zombification in their stories and myths. There were anecdotal stories about people who turned into real-life mindless zombies, some by the application of “zombie powder”. It turns out one of my favorite authors – Zora Neal Hurston – actually went to Haiti in 1937 to explore zombies and voodoo (the voodooism/black magic theme showed up in much of her writing).

A researcher by the name of Wade Davis, a very colorful character, wanted to explore the whole phenomenon.Based on his analysis of said “zombie powder”, he ultimately suggested human zombies might be created from unpleasant mixtures of ingredients including things like tetradoxin (TTX) – a poison originating in puffer fish – and hallucinogens like datura. He certainly has his detractors, as there are some reasonable arguments against his research.

To learn more about the whole zombie thing, including Davis’ work and arguments against his findings, check out this fun how stuff works webpage:

How Zombies Work

But we all know you have to catch a virus to become a real zombie; it’s been confirmed in at least 25 movies…

Checking out, and Happy Halloween!

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……………………………….   BRAINS!!!!

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