Ever walk by a graveyard have cold shivers run up your spine?
“The reason is, on a very instinctual level, we all know that zombies could exist,” said Chris Stevens, biologist in Los Angeles. “It turns out that instinct was right all along; in fact, science now tells us that ‘sleeping’ zombies already exist in our society.”
Is a zombie apocalypse actually in our future?
Science tells us that there are brain parasites in animals that turn affected creatures into mindless, slobbering zombies – worse, these parasites are mutating and evolving. One of these parasites, with the unfortunate name of toxoplasmosa gondii, is weirder than anything you’ve seen in a horror movie.
These insidious little bugs infect rats and mice. In order reproduce it needs to nest in the intestines of a cat. In true zombie-like fashion, the parasites take over the rat’s brain and actually command it to present itself as dinner to the nearest cat. And while every fiber of the rat’s being resist this command, eventually the rat is overpowered, scurries over the nearest cat, and sacrifices itself.
And now the bad news: according to the Center for Disease Control, over 60 million men, women, and children in the U.S. carry the Toxoplasma parasite, but very few currently show symptoms. Studies shows that those infected often see changes in their personalities, and have a higher chance of psychosis and dementia.
Here is where it gets really scary. Parasites, like other organisms, are in a constant state of mutation and evolution. On the DNA level, rats and humans share many genetic similarities – which are why rats are our first choice when testing experimental new drugs. It seems only a matter of time before a mutated version of the toxoplasmosa parasite shows up and overrides our current immune system defenses.
While the mutation and evolution process can take decades, or even centuries, they can also happen literally overnight.