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Just How Possible IS a Zombie Apocalypse? [Infographic]

Zombies are kind of a big deal right now. From the stumbling corpses on 'The Walking Dead' to the sprinting rage puppets seen in the gaming world, zombies have made a real imprint in our culture of late. They are ugly, deadly and strangely loveable in their own special way and their arrival is usually heralded by some catastrophic event of globally devastating proportions.

But is a zombie apocalypse actually possible? Or at the very least, plausible? All the science (though much of it is purely speculative of course) would terrifyingly suggest so. To compound the science, we are quite obviously living through the end times (how else can one explain Miley Cyrus?) and Hollywood has taught us all that the end of days can only mean one thing. Hordes of the undead.

Fact or fiction?

In any zombie film, game, book, comic or show, the cause of the outbreak is always a little different but the base cause can always be boiled down into 3 categories. Science gone wrong, natural causes or the classic 'god did it' religious explanation. The very idea of the modern zombie actually stems from a half-truth. In the 1930's in Haiti (where there has been a strong Voodoo presence for hundreds of years) there were reports of a woman who had died 20 years earlier, walking about as if she had 'risen from the grave'. It transpired that the woman in question actually just bore a striking resemblance to the deceased, but her actions (slurred speech, glazed over eyes, stumbling about) were actually the result of strong psychoactive drugs. Thirty years later in the same country, perhaps the most famous case (and the case that directly influenced George A. Romero's seminal 'Night of the Living Dead') also transpired when 'Clairvius Narcisse' was found roaming his local village a supposed 18 years after his death.

The modern zombie

Modern zombies have gone through numerous iterations. From the traditional lumbering corpses of The Walking Dead and the 'Resident Evil' games to the sprinting, rage fuelled maniacs of Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later' and through every possible tangent in-between. These modern zombies are generally more powerful because they are significantly more plausible than the zombies depicted by Romero et al. Where those zombies were the results of a nondescript religious apocalypse, the zombies in Resident Evil for example are the results of genetic engineering. The 'T' Virus that produces the 'zombification' in the famous game and film franchise actually has its origins in truth with the 'toxoplasma gondii', a genuine parasite that has the potential to transform infected victims into mindless drones. In 28 days later too, the 'Rage' virus is derived from a series of legitimate brain disorders.

In the info graphic below, Wish.co.uk have included examples of a number of pop culture zombies and have pontificated on exactly how likely each potential outbreak might be 'in the real world'. The results might very well shock and appal you... or you could just take it with a pinch of salt as a bit of ghoulish fun.

Zombie Invasion


A freelance copywriter from Manchester in the UK, Chris Hoole has always feared the zombie apocalypse above all other potential apocalypses.