Because Science: Why The Walking Dead Zombies Don't Decompose (As Much as They Should)

Sunday, 06 March 2016 - 10:36AM
Sunday, 06 March 2016 - 10:36AM
Zombies are supposed to be the "living dead," but if that's the case, then why don't they decompose? Nerdist's Kyle Hill attacks this subject in the latest Because Science, and apparently there is an explanation that's kinda-sorta based in reality, at least as much as you can expect from a zombie show:

It's a slight exaggeration to say that the zombies of The Walking Dead "don't decompose," as they have been shown to become more decomposed (and disgusting) over time. But realistically, they would have decomposed to the point that they were no longer a threat, especially since the show takes place in Atlanta. The Georgia heat and humidity would have sped up the decomposition process, which means the walkers would have maybe one week after they turned before they'd be too decomposed to move (or bite). And yet the show takes place over the course of about two years, and there are still enough zombies hanging around that they must be holdovers from the original apocalypse.

Opening quote
So why don't the rotting corpses on The Walking Dead fully decompose? Shouldn't they get to the point where muscles and bones turn "walkers" into "sitters"? Or just bug food?
Closing quote

While The Walking Dead has stubbornly refused to explain the cause of its zombiism, other works, such as World War Z, explain it as a virus. According to Hill, this actually makes some modicum of sense, as virus phages in mucus have been shown to kill bacteria, which would include the bacteria that carry out the decomposition process. So if a virus persisted in the body (somehow, as the body would presumably stop making mucus once metabolism had ceased), then it could significantly slow down the decomposition process, which would explain how the walkers are still able to walk after all this time.
Science of Sci-Fi

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