Post # 1
My DH and I love to be involved in watching series TV so we recently got hooked on the Walking Dead and are catching up from the beginning. I have a serious question – really, don’t laugh! I don’t understand why the “walkers” are so decomposed. According to the Dr at the CDC, the virus kills a person then the brain stem re-animates. That send the person into a basic struggle for survival. OK, so obviously some of the Walkers are going to starve to death or die again from dehydration. Do they just keep coming back to life? Where’s all the decomposition coming from? Maybe I want too much of a scientific answer for a TV show, but it’s the premise that supposed to scare me and I need it to make sense. Any thoughts? Explanations I missed? I’m only at the point where Dale has come backto the farm with medical supplies for Carl and he killed the other farm guy in the process of surviving the school herd.
Post # 3
Presumably you get infected by other zombies so the bites and torn flesh etc can be explained that way. Also, consider they don’t have the brain function to do things like shower, change clothes, and protect themselves from the elements so there is a level of grossness and decomp there. On top of that, at the very least, you can assume it is kind of like leprosy where there is loss of nerve feeling and regenerative powers, so any little scrapes and sores etc do not heal or get better so as they are fumbling around they aren’t protecting themselves from things like tree branches or sharp objects that tear away at their skin and never heal.
I suppose that’s how I always figured the level of decomposition happened. If it is addressed more clearly in the show, I can’t remember.
ETA: reanimated just means basic function, not necessarily back to the way they were before in my hypothesis. One would assume there is a large loss of mental function through being dead for several minutes and a virus that has eaten away at the brain as well
Post # 4
I love this show, can’t wait for it to start up again, the weekend before my wedding, ugh! Anyway, from the walking dead wiki:
Despite still moving, zombies still decompose as regular corpses. The zombified Hannah, encountered by Rick Grimes outside of the hospital appeared to be immobilized after some kind of decay. Zombies are shown to become frozen, but one had thawed out enough to almost bite Glenn. In Issue 55 a zombie attempted to grab Rosita, yet it lacked the strength to keep his hold, pull her or stand up. This may be a sign that zombies will eventually decay to the point where they are no longer a threat to humans which would mean that the outbreak will eventually end on its own accord, assuming that new zombies are not being consistently created.
Post # 5
@lorie: love it! I have wondered this myself. I think they get all gross looking because their skin is kinda decomposing/fragile and they get into lots of scuffles chasing dafter food and stuff. I dunno…that’s my theory! Lol.
Cant wait for the new season to start!
Post # 6
I suggest you read Max Brooks’ Zombie Surival Guide or World War Z. He’s not a creator of the Walking Dead but he does a really good explanation of how and at what rate zombies decompose.
I can tell you that they don’t need water or food. All systems are completely shut down except for the primitive brain stem that allows them to walk. They don’t even need air and can wander around at the bottom of lakes and oceans for YEARS.
But decomp basically depends on how long the body has been re-animated. And i’m not going to be a spoiler but you’re going to find out soon what the scientist at the CDC whispered to Rick at the end of the first season.
Post # 7
First off, I have to say I LOVE the walking dead. Not only do I watch the tv show but I have also read all the comics currently available. The comics are way better than the show. Second, to answer your question, though the brain functions, the body continues to break down because of infection from the virus.
Post # 8
im so happy you posted this! i didnt know either thanks!!
Post # 9
OK, thanks everyone! The brain stem controls basic autonomic function like heart beating and breathing. From WIKI: The brain stem also plays an important role in the regulation of cardiac and respiratory function. It also regulates the central nervous system, and is pivotal in maintaining consciousness and regulating the sleep cycle. The brain stem has many basic functions including heart rate, breathing, sleeping and eating.
So if the brain stem reanimates in “walkers” they would need to breathe and eat…so this explains why they attack and eat people. And that’s also a good point about the body breaking down because of the virus.
OK this would scare the living hell out of me(!!) except for the WIKI reference above that in the case of the Walking Dead it’s brain stem regeneration that occurs so the above WIKI reference would apply to the needs to eat, breathe, sleep etc. I don’t even want to think about other zombie scenarios since this one stretched my personal fear factor to the max!
Post # 10
I have nothing to add except this might be the BEST show on TV (well, atleast tied for 1st with Downton!). So happy that season 2 FINALLY hit netflix this weekend. Pretty much watched all if it already. I dont have cable, so the wait for season 3 seems intolerable!!!
Post # 11
I love Walking Dead and I’d never thought of this! Great question and thanks to everyone who answered 🙂 Can’t wait until next week!
Post # 12
Did you mean to say that you are at the point where Shane comes back to the farm with medical supplies for Carl after shooting the other farm guy (Otis) at the school? If not, I’m confused and need to be set straight.
Squeeee! *running around in circles* I can’t believe it’s almost here!
Post # 14
Yes, I agree – no spoilers please!! And yes, we’re at the point where Shane has come back to the farm from the school with medical supplies. I agree that it’s a great show – sometimes I get too scared & creeped out to watch and DH has to tell me what’s happening. I have wondered if it would be even scarier if the zombies reanimated to a more normal appearance, which would definitely tug at heart strings like the black guy’s wife in the first episode. It’s got to be believable to be scary so that’s why the questions of why don’t some of the zombies die off from dehydration and starvation came up along with wondering about the decomposition. Also, why don’t they attack each other?
Best shows of all time in my opinion are Breaking Bad, Dexter and Six Feet Under. We’re hooked on Californication, Weeds (all gone, so sad) The Big C, Louie, and I love House of Lies. I know we must be missing other good ones but that’s what On Demand, Netflix and our Roku box are for.
Post # 15
@lorie don’t get too caught up in the specifics of how zombies funtion and how they come to be…they’re zombies! but I gave you quick answers to your questions
- Zombies don’t die from dehydration or starvation because they are already dead. They do eventually decompose/disintegrate.
- they are all falling apart/decomposing because they are dead, also the points above about how they would get banged up in different ways is good but really they are all gross and decomposing because they are dead and rotting.
- they only attack things that are alive, so they will eat animals as well but won’t attack other zombies because they are dead.
I completely second the recommendations to read the Walking Dead comic series (so, so good and even better than the TV series) and read World War Z by Max Brooks. That book is awesome.