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Mind-Control Zombie Germs!!

I read the essay on zombie evolutionary epidemiology that Ryan North pointed out in Dinosaur comics here. I also read an article in Discover magazine last night about Toxoplasma gondii, the bacteria in cat poop that pregnant women are supposed to be wary of that causes toxoplasmosis. Evidently, it takes up residence in many mammals, and in rats, it causes them to seek out cats, increasing the chance that the rat (and the T. gondii) will be eaten by the cat. The cat is the only animal in which the bacteria can complete their reproductive cycle. So they mind-control the rats into being their transport back to the cat!

Put these two ideas together, and what if a zombie bite infects a human with a similar type of germ? The best vector for this should be the inefficient zombie. It bites and infects a person, who escapes. The germ is not transmissible to other people, but the infected person produces some sort of pheromone or whatnot that causes people he comes in close contact with to seek out the zombies. This allows the inefficient zombies to have more chances to attack and either eat the brians of or infect more people. Eventually, the infected do become zombies, and the slow change also allows the zombie disease to travel where pure zombies couldn't (airlines, trains, busses, government buildings, etc.).

Too bad neither of the sites have a place to leave a proper comment. :( I started this as a comment to dinosaurcomics, but thought it better to spread the word of the mind-control zombie germs!! Spread the word!!!

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
sacramentalist
Jan. 13th, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
I don't have time to read.

Isn't that the same parasite that makes men stupid, and makes women attracted to men?
sacramentalist
Jan. 13th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
PS. I love mind control zombie stories. Well, most MC-themed stories.

mandydax
Jan. 13th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)
It's the one that can cause birth defects in foeti of pregnant women exposed to it. It's also recently been found to possibly have links to schizophrenia and OCD.
mega_d
Jan. 13th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
Now this is why I make it a personal rule to never, under any circumstances, eat dookie.

I'd never heard about this before, but I did once see something similar and equally creepy on a nature show. A fungus that is only able to reproduce by zombifying a particular species of ant. Once the ant is exposed it goes crazy and starts climbing up plants and things, something it would never otherwise do. Then the fungus sprouted right out of its eyeball scattering its spores below. Ew. Pictures.
mandydax
Jan. 13th, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's scary to think that we're just meat-puppets. Of course it can be argued that a chicken is and egg's way of making another egg.
gzachariah
Jan. 13th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
Silly human! Your brains are belong to us!
Apparently, there are more bacteria cells in you and on you than there are human cells in your body. (Bacteria cells must be smaller than most human cells.) AND they communicate with each other much more than previously thought, both intraspecially and interspecially. They do something called "quorum sensing" whereby they can tell if there are enough of themselves around to do some larger task.

It could be argued that primates (such as humans) developed strong social bonds under the influence of our bacterial guests so that bacteria could travel more easily from host to host and reproduce.
mandydax
Jan. 13th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Silly human! Your brains are belong to us!
Discover magazine has some wonderful (if disturbing) articles. I read about the bacteria within us, and how a large percentage of our body mass is actually bacteria, something like 40%, mostly in the gut. That article was mostly about how antibiotics can kill us by killing the good germs in us and allowing the bad ones to take over.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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