5 Real Life Zombies

Posted on 07/02/2010
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The thought of our bodies walking around and operating without our personal conscious or as the more spiritual believe without our soul is an idea that has intrigued and captivated the minds of human beings for centuries. Whether it be the living-dead and body snatchers of Hollywood movies or the stories of voodoo priests using potions to turn rivals into mindless drones to do their bidding, myths, movies, and stories about zombies have been a mainstay in human culture. But the idea of our bodies walking around without freewill or after we have passed may be closer to the realm of the natural than we all thought.

1. Zombie Spiders

We have all been in the situation where we see a hideous bug in our sink or bathtub and instead of squishing it we take a more timid approach and turn the water on and drown the pest. Imagine you try to that and you watch the ugly sucker spin down the drain. You return to the bathroom later to make the horrifying discovery that the bug had returned from the dead. There are two possibilities: either you have a bathroom infested with bugs or you are dealing with a wolf spider, whose appearance is even more terrifying than its name.

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Scientists at the University of Rennes in France collected 120 Wolf Spiders and submerged them underwater and waited for them to die. After all signs of life left their little spider bodies (some stayed submerged for 40 hours) the scientists laid the corpses out to dry so they could later weigh them.

A few hours later the spiders rose from the dead. Even though they were not craving brains, the spiders still appeared to be zombies. When threatened with drowning the spiders enter a comatose state where their metabolism virtually stops and all signs of life cease (the description of this comatose state sounds like death). After things get dry they awake and carry on with their business as if nothing ever happened.

2. Zombie Wetas

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The weta is s large insect (some species growing as large as 4 inches long) that are native to New Zealand. They have a very painful bite and can inflict painful bacteria laced scratches with their spiny legs. Their physical appearance is cricket-like but with a few distinguishing features. These creatures mere existence is terrifying but combine that with the fact that these insects are undead and you have one formidable zombie bug.

The tree weta have a protein in their blood that prevents water from freezing. Weta can survive being frozen alive for months at time in temperatures as low as -10°C by putting themselves in a suspended animation, like Sly Stallone in Demolition Man.

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This is an impressive feat, but it is also important to note that while in this suspended animation the weta’s heart and brain dies then recovers upon thawing out. This bug is technically a zombie.

3. Zombie Roaches

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The jewel wasp is a solitary wasp that is known for its bizarre reproductive practice. The wasp stings a roach, herds it like a sheep into its nest, and then proceeds to lay an egg on the roach’s abdomen so its little baby will have plenty to eat upon hatching. So how does this relate to zombies?

The jewel wasp systematically stings the roach in the abdomen. This temporarily paralyzes the roach’s front legs so the wasp can now finish its work. Next, the wasp stings the roach in the brain. The venom of the wasp then disables the roach’s escape reflex getting rid of the cockroach’s will to live.

The wasp has created a zombie roach, but it is not done. Eventually the roach can walk again, but now has no desire to run from the wasp. The wasp then begins walking the roach like dog using the roach’s antenna as a leash. What happens next is perhaps best described by science writer Robert Zimmer: “The zombie roach crawls where its master leads, which turns out to be the wasp's burrow.” Once there the roach allows the wasp to lay an egg on its abdomen. Then the zombified cockroach quietly sits in the wasps burrow and awaits the egg to hatch. Once the egg hatches, the wasp larva will live inside the roach until it emerges from it as an adult. Good luck getting to sleep tonight…

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