ByMichelle Sweetness, writer at Creators.co
UK fangirl, loves a twitter @chellewoodhouse
Michelle Sweetness

Season 4 of The Walking Dead witnessed the introduction of 3 new faces on a mission to Washington DC:

My favourite being the proud mullet-sporting Eugene! The man of very few words! Lol.

Very little is known about Dr Eugene Porter, only that he is going to save the world! Before the outbreak, Eugene would have likely worked for the federal government in the scientific field of disease and outbreak. At some point Eugene has cleverly figured out the cause of the Apocalypse and knows a potential way to reverse it. (Or does he? We shall see.) Having contacted what was left of the U.S. Government via satellite phone a convoy was tasked to take him from Houston, Texas across the country to Washington.

So if Eugene knows the cure, what actually happened? Here we look at 5 possible SCIENTIFIC REASONS for the Zombie Apocalypse!

#5. Brain Parasites as seen in Resident Evil IV

Parasites that turn victims into mindless, zombie-like slaves are fairly common in nature. There's one called toxoplasmosa gondii that seems to devote its entire existence to being terrifying. This bug infects rats, but can only breed inside the intestines of a cat. The parasite knows it needs to get the rat inside the cat, so the parasite takes over the rat's freaking brain, and intentionally makes it scurry toward where the cats hang out. The rat is being programmed to get itself eaten, and it doesn't even know.
How it can result in zombies:
Half the human population on Earth is infected with toxoplasmosa, and don't know it? Hey, maybe you're one of them. Flip a coin. Oh, also, they've done studies and shown that the infected see a change in their personality and have a higher chance of going batshit insane.
Chances this could cause a zombie apocalypse:
Humans and rats aren't all that different; thats why they use them to test our drugs. All it takes is a more evolved version of toxoplasmosa, one that could to do us what it does to the rats. So, imagine if half the world suddenly had no instinct for self-preservation or rational thought.
If you're comforting yourself with the thought that it may take forever for such a parasite to evolve, you're forgetting about all the biological weapons programs around the world, intentionally weaponizing such bugs. You've got to wonder if the lab workers don't carry out their work under the unwitting command of the toxoplasmosa gondii already in their brains. If you don't want to sleep at night, that is. You may be protesting that technically these people have never been dead and thus don't fit the dictionary definition of "zombies," but we can assure you that the distinction won't matter a whole lot once these groaning hordes are clawing their way through your windows.

#4. Neurotoxins as seen in The Serpent and the Resident Evil 5 video game.

Neurotoxins are certain kinds of poisons that slow your bodily functions to the point that you'll be considered dead, even to a doctor (okay, maybe not to a good doctor). The poison from fugu (Japanese blowfish) can do this.
The victims can then be brought back under the effects of a drug like datura stramonium (or other chemicals called alkaloids) that leave them in a trance-like state with no memory, but still able to perform simple tasks like eating, sleeping, moaning and shambling around with their arms outstretched.
How it can result in zombies: "Can?" How about "does."
This stuff has happened in Haiti; that's where the word "zombie" comes from. There are books about it, the most famous ones by Dr. Wade Davis (Passage of Darkness and The Serpent and the Rainbow).
What is definitely true is the story of Clairvius Narcisse. He was a Haitian guy who was declared dead by two doctors and buried in 1962. They found him wandering around the village 18 years later. It turned out the local voodoo priests had been using naturally occurring chemicals to basically zombify people and putting them to work on the sugar plantations (no, really).
Chances this could cause a zombie apocalypse:
On the one hand, it's already f**king happened! So that earns it some street cred right off the bat. But, even if some evil genius intentionally distributed alkaloid toxins to a population to turn them into a shambling, mindless horde, there is no way to make these zombies aggressive or cannabalistic.

#3. The Real Rage Virus, as seen in 28 Days Later.

In the movie, it was a virus that turned human beings into mindless killing machines. In real life, we have a series of brain disorders that do the same thing. They were never contagious, of course. Then, Mad Cow Disease came along. It attacks the cow's spinal cord and brain, turning it into a stumbling, mindless attack cow. And, when humans eat the meat ...
How it can result in zombies:
When Mad Cow gets in humans, they call it Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Symptoms include changes in gait (walking), hallucinations, ack of coordination (for example, stumbling and falling), muscle twitching, myoclonic jerks or seizures and rapidly developing delirium or dementia.
Sure, the disease is rare (though maybe not as rare as we think) and the afflicted aren't known to chase after people in murderous mobs. Yet. But, it proves widespread brain infections of the Rage variety are just a matter of waiting for the right disease to come along.
Chances this could cause a zombie apocalypse:
If the whole sudden, mindless violence idea seems far-fetched, remember that you are just one brain chemical (serotonin) away from turning into a mindless killing machine (they've tested it by putting rats in Deathmatch-style cages and watching them turn on each other). All it would take is a disease that destroys the brain's ability to absorb that one chemical and suddenly it's a real-world 28 Days Later.
So, imagine such an evolved disease, which we'll call Super Mad Cow (or, Madder Cow) getting a foothold through the food supply. Say this disease spreads through blood-on-blood contact, or saliva-on-blood contact. Now you have a Rage-type virus that can be transmitted with a bite.

National Geographic also talks about the possibilities of the Rage Virus.

#2. Neurogenesis as seen in laboratories around the world.

You know all that conversy out there about stem cell research? Well, the whole thing with stem cells is that they can basically be used to re-generate dead cells. Particularly of interest to zombologists like ourselves is neurogenesis, the method by which they can re-grow dead brain tissue.
How it can result in zombies:
Science can pretty much save you from anything but brain death; they can swap out organs but when the brain turns to mush, you're gone. Right? Well, not for long. They're already able to re-grow the brains of comatose head trauma patients until they wake up and walk around again. Couple that with the new ability to keep a dead body in a state of suspended animation so that it can be brought back to life later, and soon we'll be able to bring back the dead, as long as we get to them quickly enough.
That sounds great, right? Well, this lab dedicated to "reanimation research" (yes, that's what they call it) explains how the process of "reanimating" a person creates a problem. It causes the brain to die off from the outside in. The outside being the cortex, the nice part of you that makes humans human. That just leaves the part that controls basic motor function and primitive instincts behind.
Reanimation research (artist's rendering)
You don't need the cortex to survive; all you need is the stem and you'll still be able to mindlessly walk and eat and enjoy Grey's Anatomy. This is how chickens can keep walking around after they've been beheaded (including one case where the chicken lived for 18 months without a head). So, you take a brain dead patient, use these techniques to re-grow the brain stem, and you now have a mindless body shambling around, no thoughts and no personality, nothing but a cloud of base instincts and impulses. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we like to call a real, live, undead fucking zombie. So there.
Chances this could cause a zombie apocalypse:
Under every legal system in the world, all rights and responsibilities are terminated at death. All it takes is someone with resources and a need for a mindless workforce of totally obedient slave labor.

#1. Nanobots as seen in Michael Crichton's novel Prey, The PS2 game Nano Breaker

Nanobots are a technology that science apparently engineered to make you terrified of the future. We're talking about microscopic, self-replicating robots that can invisbily build--or destroy--anything. Vast sums of money are being poured into nanotechnology. Sure, at some level scientists know nanobots will destroy mankind. They just can't resist seeing how it happens.
How it can result in zombies:
Scientists have already created a nano-cyborg, by fusing a tiny silicone chip to a virus. The first thing they found out is these cyborgs can still operate for up to a month after the death of the host. Notice how nano scientists went right for zombification, even at this early stage. They know where the horror is. According to studies, within a decade they'll have nanobots that can crawl inside your brain and set up neural connections to replace damaged ones. That's right; the nanobots will be able to rewire your thoughts. What could possibly go wrong?
Chances this could cause a zombie apocalypse:
Some day there will be nanobots in your brain. Those nanobots will be programmed to keep functioning after you die. They can form their own neural pathways, meaning they can use your brain to keep operating your limbs after you've deceased and, presumably, right up until you rot to pieces in mid-stride.
The nanobots will be programmed to self-replicate, and the death of the host will mean the end of the nanobots. To preserve themselves, they'd need to transfer to a new host. Therefore, the last act of the nanobot zombie would be to bite a hole in a healthy victim, letting the nanobots steam in and set up camp in the new host. Once in, they can shut down the part of the brain that resists (the cortex) and leave the brain stem intact. They will have added a new member to the unholy army of the undead.
Now, it should be more than clear by this point that our goal is to be responsible researchers. We don't want to create a panic here. All we're saying is that on an actual day on the actual calendar in the future, runaway microscopic nanobots will end civilization by flooding the planet with the cannabalistic undead. Science has proven it.

So Dr Eugene, please tell us what caused the Apocalypse and how on Earth we can stop it!

Poll

Which do you think is most plausible?

Fantastic sources:

">http://www.cracked.com/article_15643_5-scientific-reasons-zombie-apocalypse-could-actually-happen_p5.html

http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/Eugene_Porter_(TV_Series)

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