Zombies and Electricity (Monster Science)

For a potent example of real-life stink stealth, we turn to the world of silverfish. It's a zombie's world and human survivors have to scrounge out a living as best they can, all while avoiding the endless hoards in their midst. It's much like trying to scrape out a myrmecophilic ant-loving living inside an active colony of army ants -- which is just what the silverfish Malayatelura ponerophila does by masking its smell form the near-blind ants [source: According to a study published in the journal BMC Evolution , the silverfish invader rubs up against freshly-metamorphosed adolescent ants in order to leach their chemical coating of CHCs cuticular hydrocarbons.

Without one, thieving intruders are killed and expelled. Just like our strong-stomached zombie-killers, Malayatelura ponerophila coats itself in the stink of its adversaries to avoid detection. In either case, however, replication is necessary to avoid the following fate:. Monster of the Week is a - you guessed it - regular look at the denizens is of our monster-haunted world. Sometimes we'll focus on the cultural aspects, but mostly we'll look at the possible science behind a creature of myth, movie or legend.

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Be sure to explore the Monster Gallery as well as the Monster Science video series. The Odorous Zombie" 1 December Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. Undead is a special word that describes an entity which was once alive in the full meaning of that word, then died, and was then re-animated e.

The zombie was not re-vivified, that is, brought back to life, but its bare biological systems were re-started. But the frog leg example is insufficient, because the electrical shocks are external, and not part of an organism.

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In the case of a zombie, the electrical shocks that trigger muscle movement are, as with a living being, generated internally by metabolic processes and neural pathways. At the other end of the spectrum, how about a person who has a heart attack and, due to a delay in resuscitation, temporarily experiences cardio-pulmonary-death and brain-death: The person is, for a moment, clinically dead. That person is then successfully revived. Though their biological functions ceased, for a variety of reasons the destructive postmortem processes were delayed long enough to allow total system restoration.

Instead, we want to understand whether or not a moving, metabolizing, stimulus-responding corpse is alive.

Zombies: Can You Kill the Undead? - Science Not Fiction : Science Not Fiction

It is more accurate to say that the pathogen inside the zombie is alive, while the corpse itself is dead. The corpse, as noted in my description of a zombie, is in a constant state of decomposition. While decomposition may be slowed by the pathogen, the process is not stopped. Most important to the entire discussion, however, is brain activity.

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  • Though the body and some parts of the brain stem are reactivated, a zombie is, quite literally, brain-dead. In a zombie, organs function independently to a minimal degree and reflexes such as balance exist to some extent. Thus, while the zombie pathogen would do more than our current medical technology can do for a beating-heart cadaver, it neither reverses brain-death nor does it properly maintain basic conditions of life like metabolic processes or homeostasis. Some specific stimulus response systems are re-animated, but this is an illusion of bodily life, not an actual case of life.

    Thus, a zombie is a dead body that affects some life-like behavior because it is being controlled by a living pathogen. Promotional Image via AMCtv.


    If I understand this correctly, the undead brain lacks many of the fuctions of a living brain, but the zombie pathogen still allows enough brain activity to control motor functions albeit poorly , and enough sensory function to allow the undead to seek flesh by whatever means I would assume vision is the primary means of target identification and a few other basic thought processes.

    If all this is correct, then it stands to reason that the physical destruction of the brain would disable these capabilities and render the zombie, if not un-undead, at least inert. Any major damage to the central nervous system should do the trick. For that matter, a functioning brain implies a functioning heart, lungs, kidney, etc. Vampires and Light Joanne Olson. Frankenstein's Monster Christopher L.

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    Zombies and Electricity

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