These days, it can feel like Zombies are just about everywhere you look. From TV, to movies, to video games, undead brain-munchers have been invading popular culture for decades now, proving that the zombie genre is as hard to kill off as the creatures that live within it.
Thanks to the likes of The Walking Dead and Dawn of the Dead, we all know that science fiction has a pretty bleak outlook on what a zombie plague could do to humanity. But, it turns out that real science has an even more depressing prediction.
According to a recent peer-reviewed study, a Zombie apocalypse would take just 100 days to reduce our planet’s population to a mere 273 people. Published in the University of Leicester’s Journal of Physics Special Topics, the analysis assumed that each zombie would successfully infect at least one human per day, 90% of the time. With this assumption, coupled with the estimation that any given zombie could survive 20 days without a fleshy treat, the team of undergraduates found that a single zombie could lead to a pandemic-level event in just 20 days, before going on to wipe out most of humanity. Variations on what happens next depend on the level of geographic isolation for the event, but whichever way you look at it, things don’t look good for humanity.
The paper admits that the one major factor not taken into account in its analysis is the human ability to fight back. Should a decent proportion of Earth’s population be able to unlock their inner Daryl Dixon, humanity could significantly slow the relentless march of the zombie plague.
In a follow-up paper, the team found that the human ability to fight back against the zombies could eventually stop the plague in its tracks, but only after we come dangerously close to extinction.
Moral of the story? Dust off your crossbows and start asking yourself WWDD (What Would Daryl Do?), because it might just save your life.