We’ve seen them in movies, video games, song, poetry, and other forms of art. They’re frightening, they’re menacing, and they threaten to wipe out humanity. Who are they? Zombies, of course. Since the early ‘Night of the Living Dead’ series, zombies have become the key ingredient of every Saturday night horror flick.
It’s no wonder that scientists have begun to take such a huge interest in zombies and of course, the impending zombie apocalypse. A team of student from the Lancaster University, who are, perhaps, very fond of zombie games/movies/books has put together a most unusual project whose purpose was to determine if humanity can survive a zombie apocalypse.
The rules of engagement are simple to follow. A person can transform into a zombie after being infected with a highly virulent pathogen. To make the matter sound ever more sciency, the students used an epidemiological model called the SIR model.
The SIR approach is used to study how a pathogen infects a human or animal population. Using this model and the fact that Umbrella Corporation will soon open the lab door and release the next Black Death, the students started their experiment.
They have assumed that a zombie can infect a single person per day. Moreover, the odds of becoming infect is over 90 percent. Taking into account that the lifespan of a zombie is around 20 days, the students have calculated that in just 100 days, the human race could disappear from the face of the world, minus a few hundred survivors.
Basically, if we were to take for granted this prediction, in just three months and ten days, there will be only one or two hundred uninfected individuals. Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it?
There’s also a piece of good news. When studying the effects of a zombie apocalypse, the students failed to account for the rate of birth and the human fighting back. After integrating these variables into their system, the students have found out that more than a few hundred will survive if people decide to grab their chainsaws and kill zombies.
Although such a scenario is very unlikely to happen, the same principle can be used to study the outbreak of any pathogen as virulent and dangerous as the one turning people into zombies. So, will we survive a zombie apocalypse?
Yes, we will, but first, we’ve got to kick some major cans.
Image source: Pixabay