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Zombies

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This article is about the zombies in the series. You may be looking for Notable Walkers or other Themes.
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"You all know how this shit works. You get a bite, you get any kind of wound from these things, something from them gets in you... and you fucking die."
—Negan to The Saviors about the zombies.[src]

The zombies, usually referred to in-universe as walkers, are the eponymous main antagonists of The Walking Dead.

DefinitionEdit

Zombie: A deceased human body that has somehow become reanimated and autonomous, yet no longer has sufficient brain or vital functions to be considered alive or capable of thought.

"These things ain't sick! They're not people! They're dead! Ain't got to feel nothing for them, 'cause all they do---they kill!"
Shane to the group about what zombies are.[src]

"Walking Dead" ZombiesEdit

Zombies within The Walking Dead universe are Robert Kirkman's version of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead zombies. Robert Kirkman wrote that "Romero's evolving zombies are his spin. Mine just keep rotting."[1] Kirkman's zombies are relatively weak and unintelligent as individuals, but are dangerous in large numbers, and are the main antagonists within the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead. The great zombies out-number humans about 5,000 to 1.[2]

ReanimationEdit

Following classic Romero rules, the dead corpse of anyone that dies for any reason will reanimate as a zombie, unless the brain of that individual is badly damaged or destroyed. When a person dies, the infection they carry reactivates critical areas of the brain that support necessary vital systems, resulting in reanimation. Because only a portion of the brain is reactivated, the reanimated person retains only a physical resemblance to their former self.

Though a different reality of the Walking Dead universe, according to the CDC's Dr. Edwin Jenner in the TV Series, a corpse can reanimate between three minutes and eight hours after death. Some reanimations have occurred faster than Jenner's three-minute benchmark; after being stabbed, Shane Walsh reanimated after less than two minutes and Woodbury resident Michael Coleman reanimated in approximately 45 seconds. Executive producer Glen Mazzara hinted that the time it takes for a corpse to reanimate depends on how full of life the person was before they died.

Zombie PathogenEdit

Most if not everyone on the planet within The Walking Dead universe somehow contracted a mysterious pathogen that, for reasons unknown, brings the dead back to "life." It is unknown how the disease is spread, though its almost-total infection rate worldwide suggests it is either water-borne or air-borne. There are no known cases of immunity and no treatment currently exists. According to Jenner, the exact taxonomy of the pathogen is unknown (virus, prion, bacteria, or hitherto unknown microbe), and all known attempts to create a cure or vaccine have thus far failed. Jenner's research has proven to have been futile.

"There is no hope. There never was... This is what takes us down, this is our extinction event...""
Dr. Edwin Jenner.[src]

The first cases of infection progressed through a state of fever, aches, and internal bleeding, and this illness ultimately was fatal. As seen on the MRI of Candace Jenner, the virus apparently spreads into the brain like meningitis. It apparently infects synapses, mostly concentrating on those in the brain stem. It eventually causes the adrenal glans to hemorrhage and the brain to shutdown, all brain activity would cease, followed by the major organs and the body would be clinically dead: no measurable brain activity, no reflexes, and no respiration or pulse. A variable time later, the pathogen through some means would revive synapses it infected and reactivate the brainstem of the dead body, but only the brainstem and not the cerebrum or cerebellum. The person would be dead, literally and figuratively, no respiration, pulse, or higher mental function, driven by subconscious survival instincts only. In this reanimated state, the dead body is able to wander around instinctively trying to feed itself even though it had no digestive or circulatory activity. A reanimated body responds to stimuli such as light, scent, and loud noises. Oddly, even if the head was separated from the body, as long as the brain was intact, the head would still attempt to eat anything within reach. The body was truly dead, which meant that it did not feel pain, had no reflexes, and wounds to it (apart from those directly inflicted on the brain) did not heal; its rate of decomposition slowed somewhat while reanimated, but the breakdown process continued. There is anecdotal evidence that some Walkers retained vestigial elements of memory and personality such as clinging to possessions. A Walker was also once observed to use a brick as a tool, but there has been only one observation, and that was in the field.

Robert Kirkman wrote:

The rule is WHATEVER it is that causes the zombies, is something everyone already has. If you stub your toe, get an infection and die, you turn into a zombie, UNLESS your brain is damaged. If someone shoots you in the head and you die, you're dead. A zombie bite kills you because of infection, or blood loss, not because of the zombie "virus."

InfectionEdit

In response to:

"Negan  recently has his guys dirty up weapons in zombie gore for infection attacks. I'm curious if this works due to "Phillip" kissing a zombie and Tyreese and other characters getting bloody all over their face, but nobody changing. This also made me question Dale's "tainted meat" logic back during the Fear the Hunters arc.

Are you explaining that stuff soon or is Negan unaware of that method probably doing no harm? In other words, can zombie blood or spit change you after apparently having no effect on characters previously?

"The weapons would create an open wound, and getting that material in an open wound and have contact in that way would be bad news. Kissing a zombie, getting stuff on you... not so much. It's more like direct contact with the blood stream. Make sense?"[3]

Zombie BitesEdit

Zombie bites are not necessarily fatal because of the zombie pathogen, but rather the unsanitary nature of their mouths due to diet and decomposition. Scratches cause similar infections for similar reasons. Their mouths and saliva often contain several septic factors, specifically the bacteria: E. coli, Staphylococcus sp., Providencia sp., Proteus morgani, P. mirabilis, and multocida. The rapid growth of these bacteria tends to cause extremely virulent strains that are highly resistant to antibiotics, and most often lethal. Though the pathogen itself does not cause death or symptoms, it is believed that it weakens the immune system of human hosts considerably, leaving them lethally susceptible to even mild diseases if not properly treated.

It should be noted that zombie saliva and scratches are not guaranteed to kill, as both Tyreese and the Governor have came into contact with both and were unaffected.

Symptoms of infectionEdit

The first form of the infection was the transmission of the pathogen from an undead host to a living body via bites and scratches. The second form is already contained within all living people, and merely requires the death of the host to activate the zombie condition. The pathogen causing reanimation is not independently fatal and lies dormant within a host until the host dies of another cause. In the case of Walker attacks, the cause of death is generally infection by necrotic biological debris and other infectious agents contained in that debris (for example, saliva from a bite).

Symptoms of this massive and multiple infection include:

  • Fever/Delirium/Hallucinations
  • Chills
  • Nausea/Vomiting.
  • Pale skin.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Soreness.[4]
  • Fluid discharge.
  • Fainting.[5]
  • Loss of hair and missing scalp pieces.
  • Dehydration. [6]
  • Coughing up blood. [7]

Because of antibiotic resistance or inefficacy, and extremely fast growth rate of said bacteria, immediate amputation of the wounded limb is usually the most effective method of preventing systemic infection that eventually leads to death. Bites to the neck, head, or trunk are invariably fatal and cannot be treated.

If the wound is not properly cauterized, cleaned, and/or wrapped, however, amputation may not be enough to stop the lethal infection without medicine, and even then, survival rates are not easily estimated, as only one person (in each format) is known to have survived an amputation of an infected limb [8].

Killing the UndeadEdit

Because a Walker is derived from a human form, it is limited physically by many of the same constraints that a human has. But because a Walker is, by definition, dead, it slowly rots and decays like other dead organisms. Over time, flesh and muscles deteriorate, and the Walker becomes less and less formidable. Though unconfirmed, it is assumed that a Walker will eventually decompose on its own until only its skeleton remains. A Walker may be neutralized by severe damage to or removal of part or all of their body below the skull. However, in The Walking Dead universe, they are only truly killed by damaging the brain, a common theme in many zombie variations. A severed Walker head will remain animated and aggressive until the brain is destroyed or eventually disintegrates from decomposition. Detached Walker heads have been observed to remain animated even after long term submersion in water as long as the brain is undamaged. Though they can continue functioning without an intact spine, anything below a point of severing will be paralyzed. A typical headshot or headstab is the most common method of killing a zombie, though any heavy damage to the brain is effective; blunt force, electricity, and fire are effective, albeit less reliable than a definitive, piercing head wound.

Because it is impossible to explain, the story or characters never address or discuss how the human body is capable of surviving after death (especially in cases where the zombie is decapitated yet still alive), being that the brain requires oxygen from the lungs, blood flow pumped from the heart, and glucose for energy in order for it to function at all--even in the basic ways that the Walking Dead zombies function. This area remains a mystery, and is open to the wild imagination.

PhysiologyEdit

Comic BookEdit

In the comic book, the group commonly encounters two zombie types: wandering, noise attracted "roamers", and lethargic "lurkers". In the first volume, a lurker is seen eating a deer. It ignores Rick and Shane. In volume 5, a lurker bites Allen as he carelessly passes it by.

In volume ten, Eugene studies a lurker that is too weak to move, suggesting that after time and lack of food, roamers become lurkers that become less alert and active as time passes.

In a recent letter column, Kirkman promises more hints of zombie physiology, and in a recent column he confirmed that "...whatever is making them walk around is also keeping them from rotting to bones in a matter of weeks."[9]

TV ShowEdit

In the show, It has been demonstrated that zombies don't require sustenance by eating, but have a strong desire to do so (despite the fact that they have no digestive or circulatory activity, making them unable to digest whatever flesh they consume). 

In both universes, zombies have the ability to detect scents and differentiate between the living and the dead, and prefer to feed on living flesh. Covering one's self in the scent of decay can act as a camouflage. They can also use sight to distinguish living from the dead, although they seem to have poor eyesight as their irises fade and decay, but they make up for it in very heightened senses of strong hearing and smell. They can also determine a human presence by feeling certain cues such as the breathing movements or a heart that is beating at an irregular pace from a scared human. Individual zombie strength depends on the physical makeup of the individual and on how long they have been "reanimated". When attacking, zombies often become more lively, exhibiting full-body effort, and can produce enough force to quickly overwhelm an adult human. As zombies decay, however, their muscles, and consequently their entire body, becomes slowly, but surely, weaker. Zombies feel no pain, and though their bodies are no stronger or weaker than a non-decomposed human body, they can absorb all manner of physical damage, even when badly decomposed, and anything other than a head attack, spinal cord severing, or dismemberment leaves them seemingly unphased. As long as their brain remains intact, they can continue functioning as normal.

Other than a mostly intact brain, zombies don't appear to require any vital systems or organ functions to survive, although their ambulatory functions do decrease as their level of decomposition increases.

In "Walk With Me", it is revealed that zombies starve, but at a significantly slower rate than humans. When a living person goes into starvation mode from lack of nourishment, their body begins breaking down fat tissue, followed by muscle tissue and converting it into energy. Eventually, the body will begin breaking down the tissue of vital organs and the person eventually expires when those organs cease to function. In theory, it is possible that the 'zombie pathogen' could cause a break down of body tissue, converting it into energy and delivering it around the body (although this is impossible since a reanimated body has no circulatory activity), until they basically wither away to nothing. 

As with all myths, the precise details can vary by author. This information pertains specifically to The Walking Dead television series.

IntelligenceEdit

Though zombies retain a physical resemblance to the living, cognitive similarities are almost non-existent beyond low-level functions, though there are examples of behavior that suggest zombies may retain small fragments of memory of their past lives. Zombies have enough intelligence to walk upright, to use their bodies to break objects, and to climb around or over somewhat small obstacles such as chain-link fences. In the first season, they are also capable of climbing ladders, using door knobs and display very limited problem solving capability and understanding of simple tools, such as using a rock to break a pane of glass. In "Made to Suffer", a walker is seen putting it's hands up to block an attack by Sasha, indicating that some are capable of defending themselves to a degree, and other than biting and tackling, zombies are shown to be able to punch and claw their victims in "All That Remains". Mostly, zombies are void of any emotional expression and thought. When stimulated, whether by noise, sight of prey, or simply encountering a problem they cannot solve, such as being unable to open a locked door, they quickly descend into a state of murderous rage. If they spot prey when stimulated, they can pursue them ceaselessly, showing ravenous hunger. They are not hunters, however, and take no concern in alerting potential prey. Zombies seem to be drawn to noise, presumably because they attribute the source of the noise to be caused by possible prey. Zombies also tend to form groups and stick together, and mimic the actions of other zombies, giving them a mob mentality. This can lead to zombies forming "herds", large hordes of zombies far more dangerous and aggressive than smaller groups. In "Guts", zombies retain a further animalistic trait within their "herds", appearing to "sniff out" or examine new-coming zombies before leaving them be, as they do to Rick and Glenn, which may indicate that zombies seem to be able to familiarize themselves with their own kind and be cautious of ones they do not recognize. This behaviour may also simply indicate that Rick and Glenn did not smell or act sufficiently zombie-like for the zombies of the herd to quickly and easily determine whether they were alive or 'dead'. As shown in "Seed", Zombies are also shown to possibly have a predatory instinct of "playing dead", lying inanimate, even after being shot and knowing the living are nearby, only to attack them when they get close. 

Robert Kirkman wrote on Reddit:

...In the beginning of the show we saw walkers do things like using a rock to help bash the doors in or turning a door knob, is there a reason we've stopped seeing them do that?

"Older zombies are less together and capable or doing things like that. Fresher zombies, which there were more of in season one, are able to do more than older, more rotted zombies.

In "Infected", it is shown that walkers can be conditioned. Walkers surrounding The Prison have gathered at the fences because Lizzie was feeding them live rats at night. As displayed with Michonne's "pet" walkers, zombies do not legitimately need to feed or attack. If their jaws and arms are cut off, zombies typically descend into a state of inaction and odd calmness, still grunting and gurgling when stimulated but making no effort to attack any prey they may see.

Eating HabitsEdit

Zombies prefer to eat living flesh: animals and people. If living food isn't available, zombies will eat meat from dead corpses, unless, in the case of humans, the corpse reanimates as a new member of the undead. Zombies do not digest food. When their bodies are "full", the undigested meat will be forced out through the anus.[10] As zombies are dead, it is assumed that their bodies will continue to rot even if they are well-fed. If no sustenance is available, zombies will starve, ultimately contributing to the rate of decomposition. Unlike humans, however, who can only live about a month without food and a few days without water, zombies can survive for perhaps years without any nourishment. Walking Dead Zombies are never shown in any media to exhibit cannibalistic tendencies, even after going through long periods without food, and only show interest in animals and living humans.

If the zombie loses the ability to feed, they evidently lose the desire to do so - a behavior observed in Michonne's pet Walkers. The presence of many zombies being partially consumed or missing limbs also indicates that zombies, though they seem perpetually hungry, do not always devour prey fully, meaning that, at least for a short period of time, can feel "full" and not want to eat. In the TV series, the Walker that consumed Lori Grimes' body was lethargic, sated and full, and did not attack Rick when he arrived on the scene. Still, they can be driven to attack and consume live prey due to the sheer aggressiveness the reanimative contagion seems to have given them.

MovementEdit

Compared to humans, zombies have rather limited mobility. Unstimulated, zombies stand still or shuffle around rather slowly. When in this state they are referred to as "lurkers," as they can quickly activate and attack and kill. Some "living" zombies can also be found lying on the ground or in piles of other bodies, often appearing dead until stimulated. However, if they are pursuing a possible victim, zombies can move somewhat more quickly, roughly equivalent to a very light jogging pace. They can lunge very short distances to grab close prey. Often times zombie mobility can be impeded by an injury sustained before or after reanimation. Injuries often cause a zombie to shuffle awkwardly or even sometimes drag a damaged appendage as they move. Due to limited intelligence, zombies have difficulty overcoming various obstacles. Zombies can ascend and descend stairs and climb up ladders, but they cannot do so gracefully or quickly. Though they can climb over short objects and vehicles, they cannot climb taller obstacles, such as chainlink fences without great difficulty. and usually prefer to simply push over or break through any complicated obstacles they come across. Even if they lose sight of prey, they may remain stimulated for a short period of time and search the general vicinity, but will quickly lose interest and return to a lurker state. As zombies do not require sleep or nourishment, they are constantly ready to respond to stimuli even when in their "lurker" state.

NicknamesEdit

While the term "zombie" does exist within The Walking Dead universe, it is seldom used. In the comic book, when Rick's group discover the prison, both Rick and Tyreese discuss how it still sounds funny to use the word "zombie". Likewise, in the Telltale video game, the term is used but very rarely. "Zombie" has been used once in the TV series; when interviewed, Lauren Cohan stated that Romero movie zombies never existed in the popular fiction of the TV Walking Dead universe.[11] The characters within The Walking Dead TV series and comic books come up with their own monikers and categorizations for the undead.

The term "zombie" originated with the Haitian practice of voodoo and refers to a person who is reanimated as a slave in the thrall of another person. Those zombies are still clinically alive and can be restored, where the "walkers" of The Walking Dead are in fact dead, not under any control, and cannot be restored.

Walkers

'Walker' is a term for a member of the legions of the mobile deceased, who have come to dominate the world following the outbreak of the contagion that spawned them. This is the term used most frequently by Rick Grimes' and Lee Everett's survivors group, and to refer to reanimated corpses who are not dormant.

Roamers

Roamers are known to "roam" around looking for food. They are the most commonly encountered type of zombies. The term "roamer" is used most frequently in the Comic Series.

Lurkers

Lurkers are the zombies that just sit around playing "dead" until something approaches them, and they bite. Lurkers can be the real threat because they can appear to be a dead corpse. One of them was responsible for Allen's death. In the TV series, Hershel had his leg bitten by a lurker and had to amputate it to survive. Oftentimes, lurkers have suffered some type of major injury or are otherwise in some kind of a weakened state, preventing them from walking around. The term "lurker" is used most frequently in the Comic Series.

The term "Lurkers" is also used by some in Woodbury and by the cabin survivors from Season 2 of the Video Game.

The Herd

As described by Eugene in the comic book, a herd is when a group of Walkers acts with a mob mentality. One zombie might brush his hand on a door knob, and another will see this and mistake it as an attempt to get in. Then he will beat on the door to get in, and the first zombie will see this and try to get in. This will spark a chain reaction. An example of this is in the start of the Season 2 finale where a zombie sees a helicopter and follows it to Hershel's Farm.[12]

Biters

Alice, Dr. Stevens' assistant in Woodbury, mentioned that her original group of survivors referred to the zombies as "biters", because, while some do lurk or roam, they will all bite, so to classify them into separate groups was considered a silly practice. "Biters" is what Woodbury call the zombies, as seen in the novel and comic series.

Floaters

Floaters are zombies that became bloated after spending a long period of time in the water. One was first encountered by the survivors at the Greene Family Farm in the TV series where it was found trapped in a well. Fearing that shooting the floater might result in polluting the well, the survivors decide to pull it out. This proves to be futile as it gets stuck on the lip and splits in half, the bottom part of its body (and most of its innards) falling back into the well.  

Lame-Brains

The term "lame-brains" was first used in the TV episode "Nebraska" by Dave and Tony, strangers that walk in the local bar not far from the Greene Family Farm. It seems to be a broad category for all zombies, equivalent to the term "Walkers".

Geeks

In the TV Series, Daryl, T-Dog, Shane, and Glenn have been known to call zombies "geeks." This name is also used by Molly from the Video Game. She says she calls them geeks because, just like carnival geeks, they will eat anything. This name isn't used in the comic series. More recently however, the term has been abandoned.

Monsters

In the video game, Chet, Clementine, and Brenda call the zombies, "monsters", Rick also calls the zombies "monsters" once in the Comic Series. In "When the Dead Come Knocking", when Milton and Andrea wait until Mr. Coleman turns, she realizes that Milton’s never seen a loved one turn into a Walker and said: "There is no unconscious mind, Milton. When they turn, they become monsters, that's all. Whatever they once were is gone".

Meat Puppets

This name is used by a Savior. Since he is part of The Saviors, it is presumed that the nickname is a common one amongst the group. The name most likely originated from the fact that the zombies' intelligence levels are very low, so they are just considered mindless puppets of meat.

Empties

When Paul Monroe was saved by Abraham and Michonne as he was sleeping in an abandoned car, he used the name "empties" to refer to the zombies that were trying to get into the car.

Deadie

The name was used by Albert as he panics after eating Dale's leg, whom was bitten. The term is also used in the Video Game by Andrew St. John when recalling them getting caught on the electric fence surrounding the St. John's Dairy Farm. Sam in the TV Series Indifference used this term in conversation with Rick & Carol.

Creepers

The name is used by Merle Dixon in "Walk With Me". Merle uses this term when he is about to kill multiple Walkers.

Swimmers

This name is used when Dale and T-Dog encounter a bloated zombie trapped in the depths of a well while living at Hershel's farm. The exact quote is "Looks like we've got us a swimmer."

Dead Ones

This is used several times to describe a group of zombies.

Eaters

This term is used by Daryl Dixon to describe the zombies during the earlier stages of the outbreak in The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.

Ghouls

This term is used by Tyreese in the Comic Series (Issue 7) while talking to Rick about how he fears more the living than the "half-rotten ghoul trying to eat my flesh." Carley from the video game also calls them this when Lee asks if Doug saved her. During Survival Instinct, Kessler says that he locked himself up from the 'damn ghouls'.

Psychos

This name is used by Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, during his talk with a cop called Jimmy Blake, who is hiding in a shelter on the roof of a building.

Wanderers

This term, though not said as much, is used describing unseen or roaming walkers.

Abomination

Used by Merle Dixon in the Survival Instinct game.

Creepy-Crawlies

Used by Chuck in the Video Game.

Goons

In Survival Instinct, The remaining Survivors in Oakview calls the zombies, "Goons".

Decays

In The Walking Dead Webisodes: The OathKarina calls the zombies "Decays".

Swarms

Used in The Walking Dead Webisodes: The Oath, a small horde is called a "swarm" by Paul and Karina.

Walking Bodies

Gale Macones, in The Walking Dead Webisodes: The Oath, calls the undead, "walking bodies".

Walking Corpses

Is used often in The Walking Dead Social Game and is frequently used by Harlan.

Skin-Eaters

Used to describe the undead by Sam and Ana in Season 4, Indifference.

The Infected

Used by the U.S. Military and CDC personnel such as Dr. Jenner as a blanket statement for all zombies, as well as all human beings believed to be contaminated by the zombie pathogen.


FAQEdit

Q: Can humans ever win, and rebuild civilization?


A: Yes. If somehow humans were able to survive, reproduce safely, kill off, dispose of, and hold out long enough for all the zombies in the Walking Dead universe to become incapacitated due to decay or outright death, humans could rebuild civilization, albeit with intense effort and time. However, there is still a possibility that one or a group of humans could die unexpectedly when no one is around, and having to destroy the brain of every person who dies every minute in this new world, 24/7/365 would prove to be a tasking, hard to keep-up-with obstacle to overcome. As there is no cure, and everyone that dies reanimates as a zombie, the threat of another zombie apocalypse taking over the world will always loom. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the pathogen would not mutate again and cause a new doom.


Q: Do zombies eat animals? If so, would we see 'zombified' animals?


A: Yes, and No. In the Walking Dead universe, zombies will eat any live creature they can get their hands on. However, animal remains will not reanimate, as whatever caused the outbreak, virus, parasite, fungus, etc., is limited to humans and humans only.


Q: Can zombies be killed by fire?


A: Yes, in theory, fire can damage zombies and incapacitate them. If a zombie's head is exposed to high heat from a fire, their brains can suffer enough damage to effectively kill them. However, the zombies trapped in the Governor's "Walker pit" when Milton set fire to it using gasoline as an accelerant were still functional despite having the equivalent of third-degree burns over their entire bodies.


Q: Can the victim of a zombie bite be saved by cauterizing the wound?


A: Probably not. This might be possible in theory, but the victim's wound would have to be cauterized immediately after the wound is sustained for the operation to have any chance of being effective. Bacteria and contagions transmitted by a zombie bite would enter the bloodstream rapidly, meaning that more often than not, cauterizing the bite itself would prove useless. Also, it was stated by characters on the show while observing an unconscious and recently amputated Hershel  that 'the shock would kill him', finishing the job of the bite, even with it gone, and this can very well affect/hurt many people of various ages.


Q: Can zombies breathe? If not, how do they smell?


A: Yes, but no. Though unconfirmed, one would assume that zombies must breathe somehow, as breathing is required to make growling noises, to utilize the sense of smell, and to collect oxygen - a necessary chemical used by cells to produce energy. However, it is proven that walkers DO NOT need oxygen in the comic and television series, the character known as The Governor places zombie heads in fish tanks as trophies or items of sick amusement, and, after smashing one of the tanks in a fight with Michonne, the heads snapped and growled at her, still 'alive'. Also, when The Governor killed the character Pete Dolgen and sunk his body to the bottom of a nearby lake, he came back at least 24 hours later and stared down at him, his reanimated corpse gnashing and flapping it's arms up at him, proving that zombies are incapable of drowning, at the very least. The logical explanation is, at least partly, that all cranial nerves arise in the brain-stem, including the 10th cranial nerve, which innervates the heart and diaphragm, among other things. Breathing is an autonomic (unconscious, passive, and involuntary) function of the body, so requires no cognitive skill. In theory, then, a zombie's heart might also beat. However, a zombie can still function after sustaining critical damage to its lungs, implying that although zombies can breathe, they do not need to. Since a zombie's body continues to otherwise function even if it's lungs are damaged or even destroyed, it is possible that they do not, or do not need to, utilize oxygen collected from their lungs in order to function. A possible explanation is the 'zombie pathogen' somehow having the ability break down tissue within the body and transform it into energy without the use of oxygen.


Q. Can anyone survive a Zombie bite?


A. Yes, while extremely difficult, it is possible to survive a bite from a zombie if many steps are taken. Amputation is the only reliable way to survive a zombie bite on an appendage, though if a zombie bite occurs on the body itself, the likelihood of survival is extremely low. The "zombie bacteria" is highly resistant to all modern antibiotics, and there is no known immunity to the Zombie Pathogen, nor the bacteria individual zombies transmit.


Q. If we get infected and die, how do we see? Feel?


A. As the body is, technically, dead, all sense of touch, heat, cold, and pain would be gone. Though one could still "see" as a zombie, the zombie pathogen completely overtakes the brain, leaving very, very little behind of individuals' past lives. Zombies are driven on by the pathogen and sheer animalistic instinct, to feed.


Q. Why do zombies eat people?  

A. It is possible they do this to survive, with little thought put into it. It has been shown and even stated that the zombies will both decay and 'starve', (at a much slower rate than humans), over time, leading to the possibility that the zombies consume flesh, mainly from humans, having the perfect ratio of physical scale and population numbers, to feed their hunger and to continue 'living' as if being controlled by a flickering impulse left behind/placed by the cause of the reanimation process. 

Q. Why 'burn the bodies' of killed zombies? They're already dead, so why waste the gas and effort?

A. Many people who are reanimated have died from disease, as mentioned above. All zombies who have been dead for a significant length of time have been decomposing and festering, increasing the number of dangerous pathogens they carry. The heat of burning the bodies destroys these pathogens, and none will return to the scorched flesh. Burning the dead bodies, then, is a way of preventing the spread of disease within the camp, and does not need to be done (and is not done) for zombies killed outside the camp. Preventing the spread of disease is a major reason that people in any time period dispose of corpses, and while in the U.S., burial is the generally preferred form of disposal, it is time-consuming and labourious. That is why the group often chooses to "Bury those we love; burn the rest." Burning the corpses possibly also has some zombie-related effects: perhaps zombies might otherwise be attracted to the smell of dead flesh if looking for food, or if they are attracted to the smell of other zombies because they like to travel in herds, as mentioned above. It may also be psychologically less disturbing to live near burnt corpses than still-rotting ones that look like zombies.

Characters That TurnedEdit

The following is a list of characters from The Walking Dead that have all died and reanimated as a zombie. The video game section shows all characters that can potentially turn undead, regardless of player choice.

Comic SeriesEdit

TV SeriesEdit

Season 1Edit

Season 2Edit

Season 3Edit

Season 4Edit

WebisodesEdit

Telltale GamesEdit

Season 1Edit

"400 Days"Edit

Season 2Edit

To Be Added

Survival Instinct GameEdit

Novel SeriesEdit

Social GameEdit

TriviaEdit

  • In Issue 38, Robert Kirkman wrote "there is ONE zombie who's appeared no less than three different times in the book"[13]
  • Michonne kills a walker going into a car with a T-shirt that says, "Youngblood",[14] (a superhero comic published by Image Comics).
  • In the TV series, walkers are shown mainly in "Guts" and "Bloodletting" to run at a very light jogger's pace, despite the fact that Kirkman has stated in the past that all zombies run at the same pace than those seen in the Romero films.
  • It is speculated that the more violent the trauma of a victim (of either a walker or living killer), the quicker they re-animate. This is backed up by Shane rising just minutes after being stabbed in the chest by Rick in "Better Angels", but Amy taking several hours to do so from a bite to the arm and to the neck.
    • A similar thing occurs in TV series where there are two eye types. Newly-reanimated and zombies that have not decayed much appear to have golden\yellow-green eyes with a dark black ring around it. Older and severely decayed zombies appear to have no irises at all. Instead only a pupil remains. 
  • In the TV Series, the walkers can apparently use tools. This is shown in "Guts," where a zombie is using a rock to smash open the department store doors. This is a possible nod to the Night of the Living Dead (1968).
    • It is also shown in this episode that walkers are capable of climbing small scale objects such as chain fences.
  • In Season 1 of the TV series, the walkers' eyes were generally gray or yellow with a red limbal ring, but in the Season 2 webisodes, "Cold Storage" and the later episodes of the TV Series, their eyes are generally gold. Older and more decayed walkers, however, have mostly or completely faded irises, leaving only dark pupils.
  • In the comics, for obvious reasons the zombies eye color are not discernible. However, the latest issues show that zombies no longer have irises or pupils for that matter. Instead there eyes are now blank. In the earlier issues, zombies did have irises and pupils, but as the comic progressed, they are gradually fased out by blank eyed zombies. The most likely reason for this is that most if not all zombies' eyes have deteriorated and clouded over by cataracts and decomposition as the latest issues take place two years since the beginning of the comic.
  • According to Robert Kirkman in Episode 2 of Talking Dead, in the world of The Walking Dead, the works of George A. Romero were never made, and thus zombies do not appear in fiction.
    • However, Romero has remarked that the Night of The Living Dead was "basically ripped off from a Richard Matheson novel called I Am Legend." In 1954, I Am Legend was adapted to film as The Last Man on Earth and was arguably the first zombie film ever made. This is highly debatable however as I Am Legend and most of its film adaptations are about sentient creatures attempting to kill the main character for being the last regular human while he combats them by fighting or devising a cure.
  • In the Webisodes, it is rumored that terrorists caused the "infection." This is most likely not true, as Kirkman himself never intended to explain the source of the outbreak and thus is just what is: a rumor.
  • The term "Zombies" is never mentioned in the TV series; they are simply referred to as "walkers".
  • Robert Kirkman said, "I think the zombies that survive are maybe a little quicker on the uptake than the ones who don't. I think there is still survival of the fittest, even among the zombies".
  • Walkers are some of the many amputees in The Walking Dead. For other victims, see Amputated Victims.
  • Walkers seem to be somewhat tame-able. As Milton explains to The Governor, "...Take away their arms so they can't grab you and take away their jaws so they can't bite you. Take away their ability to eat, they lose interest in doing so". Examples of this are Penny Blake and Michonne's pet walkers. Additionally, Michonne uses her pet walkers to carry her supplies in the Season 3 premiere.
  • On Talking Dead, Robert Kirkman stated that the makeup used on the Zombie extras in Season 3 is more grey to show further decay.
  • Scott Gimple believes the walkers' decaying vision attracts them to fire. Fire represents two of the only things walker can still see: light and movement.[15]

External linksEdit

VideoEdit

The Walking Dead - Walker Zombie Kill Count Season 1 2(07:27)
Walker Zombie Kill Count Season 1 and 2
RedchairAdded by Redchair


ReferencesEdit

  1. Issue 47, page 27, "Letter Hacks".
  2. The Walking Dead, Official Site, Issue 10 description.
  3. Robert Kirkman Q&A on Reddit
  4. Jim in the TV Series episode, "Wildfire"
  5. Lee in the video-game while he was bitten
  6. Duck after being bitten, and Jim on the TV Series
  7. Duck a while after being bitten on the video-game
  8. Dale Horvath in the comic series; Hershel Greene in the TV series
  9. Issue 121: Letter Hacks.
  10. Issue 111: Page 26; Letter Hacks.
  11. Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2012, interview panel with Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun
  12. For the concept of a "zombie herd" being carried to the horrifying extremes, see David Moody's Autumn series.
  13. Issue 38, page 27, "Letter Hacks".
  14. Colorized photo Issue 52, page 10.
  15. Talking Dead, Inside the Dead, Season 4, Episode 14. The Grove
Themes
Abstract BetrayalCliffhangersDenialDepressionDistrustDiscriminationEnvyFearForeshadowingForgivenessHumanityHumorHopePrideRegretReligionRevengeSacrificeSanitySecrecyTeamwork
Realistic AmputationsCannibalismHeroismLeadershipNicknamesPunishment

Start a Discussion Discussions about Zombies

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