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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:06 pm 
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Premise: Romero/Walking Dead style zombie apocalypse

Granted that we already know some basic facts of zombie behavior, such as predatory feeding on the living and not feeding on fellow zombies, what questions about zombie behavior would you want to know the answer to the most? For example, how close does a zombie have to get before triggering predation? (actually pretty close) Can a zombie balance walking along a one foot wide elevated path very far before falling off? (nope) Would very simple means of hiding fool a zombie, such as hiding in a box? (I think yes) Are they too stupid to figure out going around simple barriers like a chest high fence when chasing prey? (yep) Does fire deter them? (Dawn of the Dead suggests yes but The Walking Dead suggests no!)

Please reply with your own questions about Walkers, and (if you want to) how you could test that question and also what you believe the answers are.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:17 pm 
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Are zombie senses more or less effective than they were pre-reanimation?
Most zombie media seems to have eyesight down, smell and maybe hearing the same or better.

Which zombie types are subject to starvation in the late ZPAW?
28 Days infected yes, classic risen from grave zombies not so much. Where is the line?

Do classic risen from the grave zombies eventually become walking skeletons? If so, what behaviour and unknown / supernatural properties should we expect them to have in this state, given the decay of the sensory organs and muscles?

If the ambulatory functions of the undead are gone with the muscle mass, should we all move to the tropics and let insects and bacteria determine the WWZ endgame?

Is it just me, or were the zombies in the original Night Of The Living Dead the best dressed?

*Edited for spelling.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:08 pm 
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I think we can count on Hollywood to throw us a variety of zombies, most of which defy logic. In "The Last Man on Earth" (Vincent Price) he was besieged by vampire/zombies that could speak, but had poor mobility. Later, when the movie was remade into "Omega man" (Charlton Heston), the antagonists took on a more religious-cult aspect (less of a zombie). In the third remake "I am Legend" (Will Smith), while not completely zombies in the undead sense, the creatures were highly intelligent and agile.

In "The Walking Dead", the zombies are incapable of thinking and only respond to stimuli (usually sight or sound), as they consume only living flesh. (I do find it confusing as to when do they stop eating a corpse during the re-animation process, after all their new buddy is going to wake up soon after they begin to chow down).

I've scanned a few different low-budget types of zed movies, some take a light-hearted approach, and use them as butlers, slaves, and completely remove the cannibalistic nature. Some present zombies as logical thinking predators with super-human abilities.

I'm going to pick on TWD a bit. On the up side, they did come up with some scenario as to how and why the dead rise again. They use the premise that everyone carries the virus, which triggers a short time after brain activity has ceased. A bit far-fetched, but okay, somehow everyone contracted a virus and all of a sudden, it went into effect. (Pandemics don't exactly work like that, but it's Hollywood, we'll toss them a bone for trying).

On another note, we see zombies eating constantly. Since their hearts don't pump, it means their bodies aren't digesting the food. By the end of the second week of the zombie outbreak, we'd see bloated zombies with exploding bellies. The zombies have got to stink to high-heaven; and yet there's always a scene where they manage to sneak up and nab some hapless person. If you've ever smelled a dead anything, (especially something that been dead for weeks) you wouldn't get caught off guard.

My third point of TWD, is the rate of decay. Again, if their isn't a heart, then all of the blood would collect in their feet. Talk about swollen ankles and water balloons in their shoes, not to mention the top half of their bodies would dry up almost immediately, (there goes the ability to see, smell, and hear). We never see maggots or worms eating away at the dead flesh, nor do we see vultures or other scavenger pecking away. A pack of hungry dogs would make short work of any zed wandering aimlessly.

Assuming that the zombie outbreak triggered on day zero, and within a week or two, a vast majority of the world population died off (and rose again), it makes most of the zombies about the same age. Without a functioning heart, digestive track, or means of regulating body temperature; most of them would have died off by the end of the first summer, and only a handful would have lasted through the winter. Zombies of TWD are slow, thoughtless, and incapable of self-preservation.

Don't get me wrong, I like watching TWD because of the 'living' interactions, but as far as zombie-logic, it just isn't thought through by the creators. When it comes to Hollywood zombies, the ones that seem to work are the ones that don't actually die and rise again, but are transformed into a psychotic type of killer (as seen in "I am Legend"). The pathology of dead decaying things walking around eating people just doesn't usually work, in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:02 pm 
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Pax Zin2 wrote:
I think we can count on Hollywood to throw us a variety of zombies, most of which defy logic. In "The Last Man on Earth" (Vincent Price) he was besieged by vampire/zombies that could speak, but had poor mobility. Later, when the movie was remade into "Omega man" (Charlton Heston), the antagonists took on a more religious-cult aspect (less of a zombie). In the third remake "I am Legend" (Will Smith), while not completely zombies in the undead sense, the creatures were highly intelligent and agile.

In "The Walking Dead", the zombies are incapable of thinking and only respond to stimuli (usually sight or sound), as they consume only living flesh. (I do find it confusing as to when do they stop eating a corpse during the re-animation process, after all their new buddy is going to wake up soon after they begin to chow down).

I've scanned a few different low-budget types of zed movies, some take a light-hearted approach, and use them as butlers, slaves, and completely remove the cannibalistic nature. Some present zombies as logical thinking predators with super-human abilities.

I'm going to pick on TWD a bit. On the up side, they did come up with some scenario as to how and why the dead rise again. They use the premise that everyone carries the virus, which triggers a short time after brain activity has ceased. A bit far-fetched, but okay, somehow everyone contracted a virus and all of a sudden, it went into effect. (Pandemics don't exactly work like that, but it's Hollywood, we'll toss them a bone for trying).

On another note, we see zombies eating constantly. Since their hearts don't pump, it means their bodies aren't digesting the food. By the end of the second week of the zombie outbreak, we'd see bloated zombies with exploding bellies. The zombies have got to stink to high-heaven; and yet there's always a scene where they manage to sneak up and nab some hapless person. If you've ever smelled a dead anything, (especially something that been dead for weeks) you wouldn't get caught off guard.

My third point of TWD, is the rate of decay. Again, if their isn't a heart, then all of the blood would collect in their feet. Talk about swollen ankles and water balloons in their shoes, not to mention the top half of their bodies would dry up almost immediately, (there goes the ability to see, smell, and hear). We never see maggots or worms eating away at the dead flesh, nor do we see vultures or other scavenger pecking away. A pack of hungry dogs would make short work of any zed wandering aimlessly.

Assuming that the zombie outbreak triggered on day zero, and within a week or two, a vast majority of the world population died off (and rose again), it makes most of the zombies about the same age. Without a functioning heart, digestive track, or means of regulating body temperature; most of them would have died off by the end of the first summer, and only a handful would have lasted through the winter. Zombies of TWD are slow, thoughtless, and incapable of self-preservation.

Don't get me wrong, I like watching TWD because of the 'living' interactions, but as far as zombie-logic, it just isn't thought through by the creators. When it comes to Hollywood zombies, the ones that seem to work are the ones that don't actually die and rise again, but are transformed into a psychotic type of killer (as seen in "I am Legend"). The pathology of dead decaying things walking around eating people just doesn't usually work, in my opinion.


So my theory on the TWD style zombies is that if its a human verse one lone zombie, the person gets bit, runs away and later turns. If a person is trapped or cornered buy a zombie or two, they are bit, get chewed on and at some point whatever makes zombies not eat other zombies kicks in, and they leave that person alone and they eventual turn. So in theory, a horde of zombies would basically swarm and feast on a lone human, devouring him/her to the bone before they can even get a chance to change. That said I think you would have much more partially eaten zombies wander the ZPAW, zombies missing an arm or leg. I think you would have a bell curve at some point. A handful of zombies to start the pandemic, a large spike in the zombie population, but at some point when you have too many zombies and not enough people, you are going to get into a situation where new zombies are going to be so chewed up before they turned that they are not going to be good at spreading the virus. You would have tons of alpha zombies in the beginning, with arms and legs. Then they will be more Betas zombies that will be halfass because they are missing hands or an arm to grasp a victim, or partial feet/legs to effective chase a human down. Charlie zombie will be nothing more than slugs, and Delta will be the victims that are eaten whole and never turn. If the human race puts up a good fight against the alpha zombies, then the fight should get easier over time.

The rot and starvation thing also bugs me. If the zombies are just out of control psychotics, then they should dies of dehydration or hunger over time. If zombies are truly re animated dead and rot, then over time they should rot until they are inefficient Charlie zombies or just cease to function. Say some of the factors that speed up of decay do not exist in zombies, like flies/maggots and other living creature want to parts of a zombie. Still at some point the muscle cells with not have the proper chemical to function and more importantly stay structurally sound which is the basis of decomposition and autolysis . More importantly, even if there was a zombie way they can continually decompose without loosing mass, if exposed to the elements and no fluids their cells and flesh would simply dry up and they would be crispy, crunchy mummies and eventually cease to function.

Also I thinks a serious ZPAW needs to have at least semi smart, faster moving zombies, than can climb. I think in reality if there was a infestation of slow, dumb zombies that can't climb, they would be quickly contained and eradicated. Look at TWD, you are able to wander around a ZPAW on foot with minimal weapons, take shelter in a decaying society and if you run into a small amount of zombies, you can probably take them out. Yet somehow zombies were a problem when we had soldiers with tanks, secure buildings, tons of people, weapons and equipment to fight? It would be like a bad snow storm. Zombies hit town, you get every plow truck, bus, trash truck, dump truck, semi, big pickup in the town to just drive around and run over an zombie then see, then its a matter a corralling and killing the rest, while the rest of the population that can't fight shelters in place. Seriously how hard is that ?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:18 pm 
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Black Sheep wrote:
Are zombie senses more or less effective than they were pre-reanimation?
Most zombie media seems to have eyesight down, smell and maybe hearing the same or better.

Which zombie types are subject to starvation in the late ZPAW?
28 Days infected yes, classic risen from grave zombies not so much. Where is the line?

Do classic risen from the grave zombies eventually become walking skeletons? If so, what behaviour and unknown / supernatural properties should we expect them to have in this state, given the decay of the sensory organs and muscles?

If the ambulatory functions of the undead are gone with the muscle mass, should we all move to the tropics and let insects and bacteria determine the WWZ endgame?

Is it just me, or were the zombies in the original Night Of The Living Dead the best dressed?

*Edited for spelling.


The Zeds in the original had been buried for a while so they had full funerals. The question I'd want to know is how they all got out of a locked and sealed casket, steel or concrete vault and dug their way out of the grave.

I think this and the fact that people didn't really like the idea of long dead love ones rising from the grave.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:37 pm 
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I would say that the thing that bothers me the most is their response during feeding. Let's say that 5 zombies are just taking a person down and are beginning their feeding. Why would some of these zombies leave a meal to potentially miss the next meal they see? It just doesn't mesh. So if it is a predatory response, they would stay until they're finished feeding. If it's a subconscious need to spread the infection then we wouldn't see people being devoured like in TWD.

So, if someone could clarify that for me, I would appreciate it. Besides that I've been working on a bit of zombie fiction of my own and intend on clearing up some of this mess, as I see it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:18 pm 
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I have to agree here, the logic doesn't work. If a starving zed is chomping down on a recently killed creature, odds are, that he'd be oblivious to anything else except the corpse he's eating. If their entire focus is to 'eat people' then once they have one, there'd be no need for them to walk away from a meal. TWD brings up a point, that the 'dead' will eventually starve, but it doesn't go into the details except to say that it takes much longer than normal. Logically, if a zed were on the brink of starvation it *would* attempt to consume other zombies; if there is any self-preservation involved. To this end, would a zombie consume his own flesh, or attack the nearest zombie? Would the attacked zombie flee or attempt to defend itself?

I pose these ideas more of how it might 'logically' work.

Something that bothers me, (in reference to TWD), is the fact that no matter how recently killed, the risen zombie has that 'dead look'. Bloodshot eyes, angular eye sockets, pale skin, etc. In season 2, Shane had only been dead for a few seconds (maybe a minute or two), but when he arose, he looked completely different. Later, Merle arose after being dead for less than a half-hour, and his features changed. I think there should be some amount of decay... after there's been enough time for decay to set in. I'm not exactly sure why their eye color changes, or why their teeth suddenly get nasty; but then again, I guess they need to fill the budget for special effects and make-up artists.

Where it comes to 'deaders' filling in the role of zombie, I think it's a tough act to follow. Simply because they're super-natural creatures that defy logic and nature is always going to be self-conflicting. Dead is dead, it doesn't move, think, or have motivation, but a zombie is 'dead' that does.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:18 pm 
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Sorry for the long absence from this thread that I started.

I notice that most of the responses so far have focused more on zombie biology (zombology?) than zombie behavior. I guess that's understandable because we all assume zombie behavior is directly due to zombie biology.

Even though (as my friend Bob likes to say) at their core zombies work by magic and aren't truly subject to rational explanation, both the 1978 movie Dawn of the Dead and the current TV series The Walking Dead go to great lengths attempting plausible explanations rooted in the natural world rather than the supernatural for the cause of the zombie plague. I assume the same premise for the purpose of this thread.

Now if you think about the story scenario of a zombie apocalypse with zombies hordes preying on the living, than you have to have certain conditions otherwise the scenario (and drama) just breaks down. Which is why in my opinion the premise of the movie 28 Days Later breaks down too easily. [spoiler warning] Okay, the zombies in 28 Days Later aren't dead people, instead they are living people who suffer from symptoms of violent insanity caused by a highly infectious disease. Good, and a plausible enough explanation for why the infected are attacking the uninfected. But then why don't those violently insane people also attack each other? You could never get a zombie horde in 28 Days Later because the plague would be self-limiting as the infected would first destroy each other before they chanced upon any uninfected people!

Max Brooks with his book The Zombie Survival Guide, starts from the George Romero zombie premise and invents a viral disease to rationalize zombie biology; for example, to explain why the zombies don't just fall apart rapidly from natural decomposition. I applaud Max Brooks imagination, even though I don't necessarily agree with all his ideas. But at the heart Max had the right direction. Any explanation for zombie biology has to help make the zombie concept work, otherwise the whole effort of explanation is pointless.

We have already seen examples of zombie behavior in both Dawn of the Dead and The Walking Dead which lends itself to rationalizations for zombie biology. For example zombies in Dawn of the Dead seem more active and possibly stronger after having recently fed. Unquestionably a zombie which hasn't been dead for long is more active and has more memory from its past life than a zombie which is long dead. In The Walking Dead, zombies actually seem to shut down into a quiescent state in the absence of stimulation, and they also seem to retreat to shaded or indoor areas during daytime and become more active at night. All of this behavior could have at root a biological explanation.

But as presumed survivors of the zombie apocalypse, our concerns are more immediate and relate to continued survival from zombie behavior rather than an academic understanding of zombie biology. (and a slight aside: my theory of why large scavengers don't eradicate zombies is because a scavenger would be killed by the zombie it tried to eat.)

And it seems to me that a better understanding of boundaries of zombie behavior regarding predation of the living and non-predation of other zombies would provide excellent keys towards tactics for thwarting zombies. For example in the first season of The Walking Dead, [spoiler warning] they suggested that zombies (at least at close quarters) distinguish living human prey from zombies by the stink of corruption given off by a zombie body. So Rick and Glenn slipped through an active crowd of zombies by first smearing themselves all over with gore from a chopped up zombie.

That gives rise to other questions. Such as, how much disguise applied to human appearance could fool a zombie into ignoring prey? And how much simulation is required to fool a zombie into pursuing a decoy? Understanding either of those aspects of zombie behavior could greatly ease survival during a zombie apocalypse.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:22 am 
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I can see where zombie behavior is going to be reflective of their biology. TWD zombies are slow and stupid, and could be kept walking is circles if you tied a soda can to their leg. The only real threat they'd pose, is if several of them cornered you in such a way, that they could not be distracted (such as in the corridors of the prison). I could see using a laser pointer being used, to have them chasing a spot on the wall like you'd do with your dog or cat. The only counter to this, is how much is their desire to feed vs. the distraction?

Until TWD, I never considered zeds having a sense of smell, nor having it 'improved' to the point that they could distinguish their smell, from that of the living. As humans, we have a very weak olfactory sense. Being able to detect one or two living beings in a crowd of deaders really stretches the believability factor. Just like if we were in a crowded elevator, you might detect that someone farted, but pin-pointing who did it, is usually the guy giggling the most.

As far as TWD zeds going into the shade or being more active at night, I can't say that I agree with this. In season 1, they were swarming the streets of Atlanta. Later, they didn't seem to have any issues with walking during the hottest part of the day (in reference to Sophia's disappearance). There is some speculation that the 'herd' that walked by, actually was following the helicopter that flew by in the earlier Atlanta episode, and was the same herd that ran through Hershall's farm. Not that it is important, unless you want to speculate on the distractions, such as the gun-fire at the zombie's that were kept in the barn.

This makes an interesting case, if it is true; because it shows that the walkers will follow the direction of the greatest distraction. For days, they would have walked, even after the helicopter was well out of sight. The dead seemed to take the path of least resistance by following the highway. Had there not been a shoot-out at the barn, (which the walkers heard), then they might have continued without incident.

We also see that the walkers will 'shut down' if there is no stimuli. Season 3 opens up with a scene of some zed standing patiently in a house, staring at a wall, until Rick and his group bust in the door. Other's seem to be 'sleeping' or otherwise non-responsive until a noise or smell arouses them. This tells us that self-preservation is not high on their priorities, and they'd quietly 'starve' if no living creature caught their attention.

They also don't seem to act as a group, meaning, they don't coordinate, share, or assist each other. But somehow, they are respectful enough not to grab the food out of the hands or mouth of a nearby feeding walker. To counter this, with 'I am Legend' zombies, they act as a pack, surround their target, and seem to have a sense of community. Now some folks might not consider them zombies, in the same sense, but we have to include them as the more advanced type of zombie assuming that they aren't actually dead-come-to-life types.

I like using those examples because they cover pretty much the extremes of what we'd expect from zombies. Slow, dumb, lumbering deaders, or a physically advanced social collective.

Quote:
So Rick and Glenn slipped through an active crowd of zombies by first smearing themselves all over with gore from a chopped up zombie.


My first thought about this was that Rick and Glenn were travelling against most of the walkers. Some might have been standing around, but none of the zeds seemed to take notice. A quick sudden shower and the funk is washed off, leaving them vulnerable. Did anyone else get taken aback when one of the zombies climbed a chain-link fence to chase the guys? It is the only time in the series that I saw one move with that much speed and coordination. Most of the time, they can't even ascend a flight of stairs, but this one was over the fence faster than I could do it.

It's possible that 'he' was recently killed, and still had some memories of how to climb a fence. However, when Shane re-animated after a few minutes, he could have used his pistol if that were true. Instead, he growled and lumbered toward Rick and Carl. The persistence of memory has been shown a few times already, that the walkers do not retain any prior memories.

...what if they did?

What if a recently arisen deader did have thoughts or memories? Could they speak, question 'what happened to me?', or interact with each other? Would the memories fade soon after, or could they carry on throughout their undead existence? Now we start to humanize them, and for most zombie movies, having a mindless killer is better than rationalizing with them. At some point, a thinking zombie becomes a vampire (at least in the eyes of story-tellers).

I've listened to AM Coast to Coast, (I think it was Linda Moulton-Howe) spoke of semi-intelligent zombies that are currently walking the earth now. I'm not lending any credit to the claim, just raising it as a topic for discussion. Apparently, they can only be killed by head trauma, but are incredibly fast, strong, and intelligent. See this brief YT video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpxw6do74Dk I've also read that it's a cut-scene for a video game. One of the supporting stories for this was the supposed zombie in Miami that ate off the face of another man.

If these are the kinds of zombies we'd face in an apocalyptic event, then it's going to be a lot tougher than a TWD situation. I'd say there are hundreds of ways to keep 'walkers' running around in circles or falling into an open sewer drain. They're too stupid to figure it out, and would eventually starve themselves out. If it turns out that we'd face a faster, smarter zed, then we'd have to be more creative in our defenses and tactics.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:08 pm 
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Part of what makes zombies so much fun, in a dramatic sense, is the unpredictability factor. While it seems possible to predict on average how zombies will react to a specific stimulus, there always seems to be an x factor at work too. Out of a group of zombies, there always seems to be at least one which reacts in an unpredictable way. Instead of getting up and following a group of zombies it stays put or turns around and wanders off in the opposite direction. Or a feeding zombie gets up to pursue fresh prey.

When we look at examples of zombie behavior from Dawn of the Dead or from The Walking Dead, it is important to not confuse that random event with the more typical behavior. For example, just because you see a random walker out in about in broad daylight, doesn't mean I was wrong about zombies tending to greater activity after dark and seeking shade during daytime. Many times in The Walking Dead the streets seemed empty but then sound would draw out a crowd of walkers from inside nearby buildings.

And there could be good non-supernatural reasons for zombies to shut down and seek dark places. By staying out of the bright sunlight it reduces UV breakdown of the body and the sun baking out moisture from the body. Staying inactive also reduces whatever reserves the walking corpse draws from to keep it moving after death.

One thing I did like from the movie 28 days later [spoiler warning] was the characters realizing that once enough time passed by the zombie plague would solve itself as the infected insane starved to death since the zombies were living people.

Now the zombies of Dawn of the Dead/The Walking Dead are not living people, they are corpses which for unimaginable reasons keep moving and don't seem to decompose in a normal way. Possibly they could keep going forever, giving rise to such jokes as a zombie tied to a treadmill which turns an electric generator. But what if they aren't immortal creatures? Just slowed way way the heck down from normal.

Maybe zombies do gain something from the creatures they eat in order to keep going. Maybe zombies do finally completely rot and fall apart after enough time goes by. If that is the case, then the zombie plague by its very nature will at some point reach a peak of danger, and then slowly decline over time because the outnumbered living can't replenish all of the walking dead. That means in theory an isolated human colony could outlast the zombie hordes, and then reclaim the earth after the zombies finally rot away (years later?).

One thing that must be remembered about the zombology of Dawn of the Dead/The Walking Dead is that all humans reanimate after death, regardless of being bitten by a zombie beforehand. So if our hypothetical human colony reclaims the world they would still have to carefully handle those at risk of dying and those who die so that no one is killed by a freshly arisen zombie.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:39 pm 
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Pax Zin2 wrote:
I can see where zombie behavior is going to be reflective of their biology. TWD zombies are slow and stupid, and could be kept walking is circles if you tied a soda can to their leg. The only real threat they'd pose, is if several of them cornered you in such a way, that they could not be distracted (such as in the corridors of the prison). I could see using a laser pointer being used, to have them chasing a spot on the wall like you'd do with your dog or cat. The only counter to this, is how much is their desire to feed vs. the distraction?

Until TWD, I never considered zeds having a sense of smell, nor having it 'improved' to the point that they could distinguish their smell, from that of the living. As humans, we have a very weak olfactory sense. Being able to detect one or two living beings in a crowd of deaders really stretches the believability factor. Just like if we were in a crowded elevator, you might detect that someone farted, but pin-pointing who did it, is usually the guy giggling the most.

This makes an interesting case, if it is true; because it shows that the walkers will follow the direction of the greatest distraction. For days, they would have walked, even after the helicopter was well out of sight. The dead seemed to take the path of least resistance by following the highway. Had there not been a shoot-out at the barn, (which the walkers heard), then they might have continued without incident.


These are the kinds of things I was hoping this thread would focus on. How do zombies behave? Why do they behave that way? And how can we exploit this understanding to develop survival tactics?

I think the laser pointer is an excellent idea. I suppose that depends a lot on how well zombies can see, which there seems to be much debate about. My own guess is that motion is the most important factor in drawing a zombies attention. A laser pointer can do that well.

As far as smelling prey, from the examples scene in The Walking Dead, my guess is that scent only helps a zombie discriminate prey from other zombies at very close quarters. In fact it seems like zombies really aren't very observant at all and the very worst thing a person can do when facing a zombie is speak or run away as that seems to trigger predation. Which is why Mischonne managed to survive with the aid of her stinky 'pets'.

I mentioned before my theory of zombie aggregation. My guess is that motion draws zombies to it. Which means zombies would be drawn towards the motion of other zombies, gathering into groups moving in the same direction. But triggering predation from a zombie requires something more than that. Clearly zombies don't go into a faster chase mode just from the motion of another zombie further down the street.

And as for the low danger presented by a single slow zombie, that wouldn't be the case all the time. How dangerous is it when it is pitch black out because there is no power and you don't have a light? Or you are unarmed? Or the zombie is some big 300 pounder? Or you are trying to find a secure place to sleep? Yikes in all cases.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:59 pm 
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Mikeyboy wrote:
So my theory on the TWD style zombies is that if its a human verse one lone zombie, the person gets bit, runs away and later turns. If a person is trapped or cornered buy a zombie or two, they are bit, get chewed on and at some point whatever makes zombies not eat other zombies kicks in, and they leave that person alone and they eventual turn. So in theory, a horde of zombies would basically swarm and feast on a lone human, devouring him/her to the bone before they can even get a chance to change. That said I think you would have much more partially eaten zombies wander the ZPAW, zombies missing an arm or leg. I think you would have a bell curve at some point. A handful of zombies to start the pandemic, a large spike in the zombie population, but at some point when you have too many zombies and not enough people, you are going to get into a situation where new zombies are going to be so chewed up before they turned that they are not going to be good at spreading the virus. You would have tons of alpha zombies in the beginning, with arms and legs. Then they will be more Betas zombies that will be halfass because they are missing hands or an arm to grasp a victim, or partial feet/legs to effective chase a human down. Charlie zombie will be nothing more than slugs, and Delta will be the victims that are eaten whole and never turn. If the human race puts up a good fight against the alpha zombies, then the fight should get easier over time.

The rot and starvation thing also bugs me. If the zombies are just out of control psychotics, then they should dies of dehydration or hunger over time. If zombies are truly re animated dead and rot, then over time they should rot until they are inefficient Charlie zombies or just cease to function. Say some of the factors that speed up of decay do not exist in zombies, like flies/maggots and other living creature want to parts of a zombie. Still at some point the muscle cells with not have the proper chemical to function and more importantly stay structurally sound which is the basis of decomposition and autolysis . More importantly, even if there was a zombie way they can continually decompose without loosing mass, if exposed to the elements and no fluids their cells and flesh would simply dry up and they would be crispy, crunchy mummies and eventually cease to function.

Also I thinks a serious ZPAW needs to have at least semi smart, faster moving zombies, than can climb. I think in reality if there was a infestation of slow, dumb zombies that can't climb, they would be quickly contained and eradicated. Look at TWD, you are able to wander around a ZPAW on foot with minimal weapons, take shelter in a decaying society and if you run into a small amount of zombies, you can probably take them out. Yet somehow zombies were a problem when we had soldiers with tanks, secure buildings, tons of people, weapons and equipment to fight? It would be like a bad snow storm. Zombies hit town, you get every plow truck, bus, trash truck, dump truck, semi, big pickup in the town to just drive around and run over an zombie then see, then its a matter a corralling and killing the rest, while the rest of the population that can't fight shelters in place. Seriously how hard is that ?


Excellent points. I'm going to address the last.

You are right about the danger from a Romero/Walking Dead style zombie apocalypse. Where is the apocalypse?

Even if there was confusion early in the plague about the head-shot method of stopping a zombie, I agree that our society even if badly hit would contain and destroy the zombie menace. But what other places in the world? Places that aren't armed to the teeth like the United States? Places where society is already broken down from corruption, war, famine or disease? The world at large might end up pretty bad.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:33 am 
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Mikeyboy wrote:
Pax Zin2 wrote:
I think we can count on Hollywood to throw us a variety of zombies, most of which defy logic. In "The Last Man on Earth" (Vincent Price) he was besieged by vampire/zombies that could speak, but had poor mobility. Later, when the movie was remade into "Omega man" (Charlton Heston), the antagonists took on a more religious-cult aspect (less of a zombie). In the third remake "I am Legend" (Will Smith), while not completely zombies in the undead sense, the creatures were highly intelligent and agile.

In "The Walking Dead", the zombies are incapable of thinking and only respond to stimuli (usually sight or sound), as they consume only living flesh. (I do find it confusing as to when do they stop eating a corpse during the re-animation process, after all their new buddy is going to wake up soon after they begin to chow down).

I've scanned a few different low-budget types of zed movies, some take a light-hearted approach, and use them as butlers, slaves, and completely remove the cannibalistic nature. Some present zombies as logical thinking predators with super-human abilities.

I'm going to pick on TWD a bit. On the up side, they did come up with some scenario as to how and why the dead rise again. They use the premise that everyone carries the virus, which triggers a short time after brain activity has ceased. A bit far-fetched, but okay, somehow everyone contracted a virus and all of a sudden, it went into effect. (Pandemics don't exactly work like that, but it's Hollywood, we'll toss them a bone for trying).

On another note, we see zombies eating constantly. Since their hearts don't pump, it means their bodies aren't digesting the food. By the end of the second week of the zombie outbreak, we'd see bloated zombies with exploding bellies. The zombies have got to stink to high-heaven; and yet there's always a scene where they manage to sneak up and nab some hapless person. If you've ever smelled a dead anything, (especially something that been dead for weeks) you wouldn't get caught off guard.

My third point of TWD, is the rate of decay. Again, if their isn't a heart, then all of the blood would collect in their feet. Talk about swollen ankles and water balloons in their shoes, not to mention the top half of their bodies would dry up almost immediately, (there goes the ability to see, smell, and hear). We never see maggots or worms eating away at the dead flesh, nor do we see vultures or other scavenger pecking away. A pack of hungry dogs would make short work of any zed wandering aimlessly.

Assuming that the zombie outbreak triggered on day zero, and within a week or two, a vast majority of the world population died off (and rose again), it makes most of the zombies about the same age. Without a functioning heart, digestive track, or means of regulating body temperature; most of them would have died off by the end of the first summer, and only a handful would have lasted through the winter. Zombies of TWD are slow, thoughtless, and incapable of self-preservation.

Don't get me wrong, I like watching TWD because of the 'living' interactions, but as far as zombie-logic, it just isn't thought through by the creators. When it comes to Hollywood zombies, the ones that seem to work are the ones that don't actually die and rise again, but are transformed into a psychotic type of killer (as seen in "I am Legend"). The pathology of dead decaying things walking around eating people just doesn't usually work, in my opinion.


So my theory on the TWD style zombies is that if its a human verse one lone zombie, the person gets bit, runs away and later turns. If a person is trapped or cornered buy a zombie or two, they are bit, get chewed on and at some point whatever makes zombies not eat other zombies kicks in, and they leave that person alone and they eventual turn. So in theory, a horde of zombies would basically swarm and feast on a lone human, devouring him/her to the bone before they can even get a chance to change. That said I think you would have much more partially eaten zombies wander the ZPAW, zombies missing an arm or leg. I think you would have a bell curve at some point. A handful of zombies to start the pandemic, a large spike in the zombie population, but at some point when you have too many zombies and not enough people, you are going to get into a situation where new zombies are going to be so chewed up before they turned that they are not going to be good at spreading the virus. You would have tons of alpha zombies in the beginning, with arms and legs. Then they will be more Betas zombies that will be halfass because they are missing hands or an arm to grasp a victim, or partial feet/legs to effective chase a human down. Charlie zombie will be nothing more than slugs, and Delta will be the victims that are eaten whole and never turn. If the human race puts up a good fight against the alpha zombies, then the fight should get easier over time.

The rot and starvation thing also bugs me. If the zombies are just out of control psychotics, then they should dies of dehydration or hunger over time. If zombies are truly re animated dead and rot, then over time they should rot until they are inefficient Charlie zombies or just cease to function. Say some of the factors that speed up of decay do not exist in zombies, like flies/maggots and other living creature want to parts of a zombie. Still at some point the muscle cells with not have the proper chemical to function and more importantly stay structurally sound which is the basis of decomposition and autolysis . More importantly, even if there was a zombie way they can continually decompose without loosing mass, if exposed to the elements and no fluids their cells and flesh would simply dry up and they would be crispy, crunchy mummies and eventually cease to function.

Also I thinks a serious ZPAW needs to have at least semi smart, faster moving zombies, than can climb. I think in reality if there was a infestation of slow, dumb zombies that can't climb, they would be quickly contained and eradicated. Look at TWD, you are able to wander around a ZPAW on foot with minimal weapons, take shelter in a decaying society and if you run into a small amount of zombies, you can probably take them out. Yet somehow zombies were a problem when we had soldiers with tanks, secure buildings, tons of people, weapons and equipment to fight? It would be like a bad snow storm. Zombies hit town, you get every plow truck, bus, trash truck, dump truck, semi, big pickup in the town to just drive around and run over an zombie then see, then its a matter a corralling and killing the rest, while the rest of the population that can't fight shelters in place. Seriously how hard is that ?



Eat specifically not to mess up the victims zombieness. So just eat areas that a zombie may not need. You could even relate this to the brains thing and just assume they leave the lizard brain. Because they don't like the taste or something.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:34 pm 
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How close could we get to the stereotypical movie zombie?

What theoretical disease, treatment, accident, etc. might allow a human body to continue to walk about even after major wounds?

How would different physical makeup, blood type, genetics, eating habits, other disease, previous medical treatments, etc. effect the class of zombie created?

- Like living people, and most other things, the abilities of a zombie "depends". A blind, deaf, or otherwise handicapped human, will be a blind, deaf or handicapped zombie.

Babble follows…

Zombie Symptoms: Body sensory stimulation, response, and motor function without apparent functioning of circulation, digestion, or a requirement for respiration. Mental function appears limited to ability to control voluntary muscles toward a goal of attempting to eat.

There must be some aspect of the infection that provides an alternative source of digestion, "nourishment" and stimulation of the muscles. Although the zombie genre typically mention a virus, and sometimes a bacteria, in general neither of these are structured to be an viable arguable means to perform what that zombie infection appears to perform.

Could some version of a zombie apocalypse happen?

My suspicion is that the infection that "works" is a type of fungus. They can exist in "small" batches, or cover square miles. They can digest or infest whatever they encounter, but can also use their digestion to "aid" other organisms with which they establish a symbiosis. As a "goo", they can enter an organism thru any opening in the protective membrane, or they can be an airborne spore.

The fungus spore can be airborne, and can remain dormant for a long time, perhaps only becoming active when the infected entity dies and the "immune" system is no longer there to fight the spore in its attempts to mature. This could get the infection world-wide before health or other authorities even realized there was a problem. Deaths of those carrying the spore infection may, or may not result in the corpse rising, perhaps depending on the immune system status of the dying, or how well the spore can get mature fungus tendrils into body tissues before the tissue has deteriorated beyond ability to respond to stimuli.

The time period for re-animation from a bite would therefore vary. If the human died from the zombie infection, there might not be a clear cut point of "death", rather the person would just slip into zombie mode. If the person died from other means (other disease or injuries) again the tendrils may not have sufficient time to grow into all parts of the body before those parts are too far "gone" to respond to stimuli.

The physical abilities of the zombie would depend on the portions of the body successfully infested.

If lacking the feedback of pain, the zombie would pursue its goal disregarding injury, and perhaps for example hold a full-strength grip "indefinitely", where the muscles of a live human's hand would tire & release.

The stereotypical zombie bite would of course induce a significant load of mature fungus directly into the soon to be new zombie. Carried throughout the body by the circulatory system, it overwhelms the defenses.

A fungus could "digest" what the zombie eats, without the need for a human digestive system, and by digesting the bacteria that would otherwise rot a corpse, keep the dead "relatively" fresh. Thru fungus tendrils throughout a body, it could "feed" the cells of the body.

Although the meat the zombie ingests is in general within the confines of the digestive tract of the former human, in that the fungus (perhaps aided by symbiotic bacteria) is performing the digestive function we could expect the fungus digestive end result to be a foul liquid, which would emanate from any gap in the digestive tract, or either end of the former tract.

There are fungus which produce oils or alcohol, perhaps helping to stem deterioration of the still mobile corpse, and acting as an anti-freeze.

The fungus spore source may be a “side effect” of deliberate mutations during attempts to create commercial products using fungus, for example production of fungus based artificial meat…

The genre tends to show zombies (primarily) attack living humans, with the zombies essentially demonstrating no higher mental functions. When zombie brain function is mentioned, it is often commented that all the zombie has functioning is the "reptilian brain", the most primitive portion of the brain. Typically the “infection” keeps only this portion of the brain “alive”. For comparison, run a web search, I've found at least four fungus credited with taking over brains of ants until the ant ends up in a place beneficial for the fungus.

If this part of the brain is "hard wired" for instinctual functions such as eating and defense, could it be that "live" humans in either rushing at the zombie, or screaming and running are just acting such that they draw too much attention to themselves?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:09 pm 
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If we use the TWD walkers at one end of the spectrum, and the Dark-seekers from IAL, we could probably find a balanced zombie that probably moves and reacts much like we do. So let's assume for a few minutes, that the zombies are basically a group of people. We'd have to identify their overall motivations and their abilities, both physically and mentally.

The walkers are drawn to movement, sound, or scents; with the motivation that they'll have a snack. The dark-seekers, were self-preserving, and had a society where they viewed Richard Neville as 'the boogey man' i.e. some kind of mythical creature that randomly kidnapped and tortured them. He always seemed to vanish into the sunlight, and couldn't be followed or found.

As people, self-preservation is pretty high on the list. This means setting up a shelter, having renewable supplies, and working in small groups for defense/offense. As long as we have the basics, we are comfortable; when those things are threatened, we enter the fight/flight mode.

If we assume that the zombies fit into some kind of role that isn't in the extremes, we can probably make some projections of their behavior. They might have some sense of self-preservation, by avoiding the worst of weather extremes. However, once the 'feed mode' takes over, they might put themselves in harms way, just to get a snack. I don't know if things like 'water' would really be high on their list, or if they did need to drink, they wouldn't concern themselves with toxicity (or even if the liquid were water). When it comes to shelter, is it a place where they return to, or are they completely nomadic, and would only use a 'house' because it's where their last meal was had?

If their is any sort of zombie intelligence, then there is going to be some kind of society. Is it modeled after a 'wolf pack' with an alpha-male as the leader? Or would it be more militaristic, with sub-leaders or those that specialize in specific tasks? Again, if there is some amount of intelligence, then there is going to be some amount of logic. Could some zombies avoid humans, simply because it's safer; or would some go out to 'hunt' for them because they are an easy target?

The real key behind these questions is the greater their ability to reason, the more dangerous they are. Walkers are almost laughable as far as zombies go, because they can be easily tricked, distracted, trapped, or otherwise avoided. They'll walk into a burning building, if they think there's food. They are attracted to gun-fire, while most animals high-tail it out of there. There is so little as far as their thought process. See food, follow food, eat food.. see more food, follow food..etc.

Let's look at the dark-seekers for a moment. Once they saw how a trap works, they constructed one, and lure Dr. Neville into it. The good doctor was very bright, well educated, and experienced with his surroundings, yet, he was still able to be captured. Now if our mediocre zombies had that kind of mental abilities, it's not going to be so easy to avoid them all. Imagine for a moment, if the walkers had enough intelligence to spread out around Hershall's farm, slowly and quietly moved in, blocked the roads leading out, and the escape vehicles. Let's just say none of Rick's group would have made it out of there that night. (Unless everyone had Hershall's +1 shot-gun of everlasting shells).

If the walkers could think, even at a basic level, they could have coordinated a breaching the prison defenses; even if they couldn't communicate. Toss in the ability to use crude tools or weapons, and the threat level goes through the roof.

The writers of the show seem to be asleep most of the time. Everyday, there should have been more zombies outside the fence, than the day before. Yet, some days, it seemed as if a bunch of them decided to go to 7-11 and get a slurpee. In other words, there was very little distractions outside the prison, than there were inside. Just the general movements of the walkers should have been enough to at least keep them interested in staying nearby. Couple that with Rick making a farm, or the 'actions' going on in the guard towers, it was like ringing a dinner bell every time they stepped out of cell block C.

But back to our 'average' zombie. If they can think, then eventually they'll get smarter. Or we'd use the Darwinism, that assumes that the dumber ones will get themselves killed sooner. Either way, it's going to be harder to outsmart them, and old tricks or habits that worked before could be used against us. Someone mentioned earlier, that some zombies seem to get more active/stronger after they've fed. A smart zed, would use that to his advantage, and snack up before going into battle.

I watched one of those 'Life after people' shows a while back. It talked about chimps and pigeons co-existing in high-rise buildings. Somehow, the chimps learned that they could have a steady supply of pigeon eggs, if they left one in the nest. They could eat all the rest, but as long as there was one, it would hatch and the bird population would remain. I realize it was all hypothetical, and assumed that chimps would develop a sense of 'ranching' with time. Since this entire topic is about hypotheticals, I'll toss out the idea of what if zombies learned to do the same thing with their food sources (not necessarily humans)? If they aren't the mindless feeders, of TWD, then they might learn to cull the herd a bit. Avoiding some areas or habitats, to allow time for them to grow, then when the time is right, they'd stop by for a burrito or two.

It really boils down to the motivation of them. Is it all about feeding, or is there some degree of self-preservation? Couple that with their ability to think and communicate, and use logic, and their chances to persist increase. I've said before, I don't give any real validity to the dead-come-to-life type of zombies. Most likely, it's going to be a biological event that changes normal people into some kind of killer. Whether it's drug induced, a viral strain, or some kind of bio-toxin that affects the nervous system. It's not likely to be some dead guy that wakes up with the munchies.


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