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15 January 2004 @ 11:41 am
Zombie Domain Knowledge Answers, and Readiness Exercise Wrap-up  
Zombies can speak languages they knew in life

False (p. 16) - Zombies are non-sentient, and the ability to speak or interpret language is beyond their mental capacities

Zombies react to the movements and actions of other zombies, and work in "herds"

Trick Question (False) - Zombies react to sensory stimuli in virtually identical patterns. This does not imply communication or a herd mentality - but it can provide the illusion that they cooperate as units within a team.

A zombie's moan is a sign that it has found food

True (p. 16) - It seems to be an instinctive reaction to living flesh, and its origins are unknown. Zombies lack the mental faculties necessary to manipulate their vocal chords (provided they are intact), but a moan does not require them.

Zombie's can recognize their loved ones / Zombies can recognize their surroundings

False (p. 14-16) - Zombies are non-sentient, have no memories, and lack the capacity for emotion found even in lower mammals. While the virus responsible for zombie animation creates a semblance of life, it does not create life itself. Many victims in an outbreak will fall prey to the illusion that zombies rising from the bodies of loved ones will not attack them - this is a dangerous myth to believe in.

A zombie is full after eating a certain amount of flesh

False (p. 11-12) - Zombies know only an internal compulsion to feed on the living. They do not process food taken in, and so can never be "full". Eventually, a zombie's gastro-intestinal system will rupture from the amount of flesh taken in.

Zombies are afraid of fire

False (reference pending) - Zombies are non-sentient, and incapable of fear. They have no memory, and can not remember that fire will eventually destroy them. Zombies also feel no pain, and so a zombie on fire will take no action to extinguish the flame.

It takes a zombie in temperate climes about 5 years to will perish by natural decomposition

Arguably True (p. 10, 178, and others) - An American cadaver, circa 1995, takes 10-18 years to decompose in a sealed coffin. Zombies decay at a faster rate in temperate climes for the following reasons:

1. Zombies are unable to replace worn and destroyed muscle tissue through metabolic processes.
2. Zombies are continually exposed to weather, moisture, bacteria, and microscopic scavengers. The natural process of decomposition is accelerated under these conditions.

Obviously, zombies in a jungle will decompose at a faster rate; zombies in a desert, at a slower rate.

Zombies can climb cliffsides and similar structures

Functionally False (p. 14) - The act of difficult climbing requires dexterity and agility that the nervous system and necrotic flesh of a zombie are incapable of supporting; however, zombies are perfectly capable of climbing over each other. As zombies assemble around a barricade with living creatures inside, the sheer number of zombies climbing over each other will eventually overflow the barricade, leaving the inhabitants to fend the zombies off.

Zombies have excellent hearing

True (p. 7)- Unlike humans, zombies are not visually oriented. They use all of their senses in concert to find their prey. Footsteps, scrapes, twigs snapping, and the report of a firearm will all tip a zombie off to your location.

Other open issues will be added and addressed.

Addendum: As mentioned previously in comments, my primary source of zombie lore is The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. You will find it filed in the "Humor" section. I highly recommend it as a reference guide for those who have an unhealthy obsession with vanquishing the undead.
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on January 15th, 2004 09:43 am (UTC)
It seems that the decomposition barely needs to be taken as a factor--after all, if the zombie devours a significant share (let's be conservative & say a quarter) of even one person, that would be more than enough to rupture even the hardiest digestive tract--especially considering that a zombies digestive enzymes must be prezumed to be inactive.
XCorvisxcorvis on January 15th, 2004 09:55 am (UTC)
Ah, but zombies aren't very good at eating, either.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 15th, 2004 10:04 am (UTC)
The decomposition is important, because sometimes you just want to push a bunch of zombies into a pit or off a cliff. It's also a good indication of the levels of zombie activity you can count on in areas deserted for several years or more.
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on January 15th, 2004 10:25 am (UTC)
But surely groups of zombies in isolation winnow down over time on their own, since zombies bereft of the flesh of the living turn on each other for dead flesh.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 15th, 2004 10:27 am (UTC)
Zombies are not interested in dead flesh.
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on January 15th, 2004 11:58 am (UTC)
Yes, they are. Or, at least, they are generally portrayed as such in many of the prominent canon representations of zombies. Zombies should not eat salted meat, but can be fed dead meat, and will choose it as a source if living flesh is not available.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 15th, 2004 12:49 pm (UTC)
I didn't think that was canon for zombies that are borne through viral means, although I might be wrong. This quiz specifically dismisses voodoo zombies and certain hollywood ideas as unsound.
(Deleted comment)
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 16th, 2004 08:45 am (UTC)
If Bio-zombie is wrong, you don't want to be right? I can deal with that.
In that case, if zombies eat dead meat, we get a better situation for survivability, because zombies eat each other. I don't mind that at all. Mel Brooks' son could be wrong - it's not like he's been out of his dad's shadow for so long that he has a track record (in my mind) for me to appeal to as an authority on zombies.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 16th, 2004 08:46 am (UTC)
Having never seen it, where else does it contradict?
ninja in the shadows: opusrocksseiryu_16 on January 15th, 2004 10:19 am (UTC)
NOW I can tell people that I had FAR more reason to be scared of zombies where I grew up! Swell.

Heh. Good work, Doc. I give you an A+ on all this crazy zombie goodness. Even though the record shows that I loathe the undead.
Sabrinasophiaserpentia on January 15th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC)
So I guess zombies are unlike the living dead?

Ah, well, live and learn...
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 15th, 2004 11:21 am (UTC)
Hollywood Myths are Dangerous ;-)
Better now than too late to live and learn, though.
Sabrina: stylizedsophiaserpentia on January 15th, 2004 12:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Hollywood Myths are Dangerous ;-)
It's a shame, though. One of my favorite lines from any movie of the eighties is "Send. More. Paramedics."
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 15th, 2004 12:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Hollywood Myths are Dangerous ;-)
I don't remember where that's from - it sounds good, though.

My favorite line from the 80's is a tie between "We're gonna need some more FBI guys" and "I hope that's not a hostage".
Abra SWcloudscudding on January 15th, 2004 11:29 am (UTC)
Desert Zombies
Not to be confused with dessert zombies. Which are rather disgusting.

But anyways, the petrification process undergone by bodies in the desert, particularly unburied ones, would likely render zombies into a mummy-like state. So desert zombies are mummies, except they're interested in braaaaiiiins instead of soooouuuulllsssss.

Damn you, you've given me a story idea. Zombies in the desert. Well, it's someplace to start.

grumble, grumble...do you know how much research into native american desert culture I'm going to have to do now? Bastard. (and I mean that in the nicest way)
ninja in the shadowsseiryu_16 on January 15th, 2004 12:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Desert Zombies
I have a bigass book of myths at my disposal. Plus I'm FROM the Southwest, and have done my share of perusing the native cultures (hint: if you're gonna go ancient Native Americans in the AZ area, it's the Anazazi, Mogollon, and Hokokam - my favorite is the Anazazi, because they just up and disappeared one day). Let me know if you need some fact checkin'. I'm eager to see with what you come up with... hell, I'd even love to collaborate with you, if you'd let me. Weee!
Abra SWcloudscudding on January 16th, 2004 09:46 am (UTC)
Desert Zombies
Well, I'll most definitely be using you as a source if any questions come up, then. I'll also be using the book of zombies that discoflamingo gave to elfdope. That's if he ever lets me read it.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 16th, 2004 09:57 am (UTC)
Re: Desert Zombies
I have two copies at home in case he won't let it go.
Abra SWcloudscudding on January 16th, 2004 11:25 am (UTC)
Re: Desert Zombies
That might be necessary....
ninja in the shadowsseiryu_16 on January 16th, 2004 10:37 am (UTC)
Re: Desert Zombies
Swell. I'ma need me that book, too. Yar. I think I want to buy it not only to HAVE it, but to read it very obviously on places like airplanes or the bus. "Look, I always have extra seats!" Heh.
XCorvisxcorvis on January 15th, 2004 02:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Desert Zombies
The Book of Skulls, by Robert Silverberg. No zombies, but I promise you'll like it.