The question of the reality of zombies has been asked since the 18th century. Could this menace we see in movies come to haunt us in reality? Is there a possibility that zombies could hit us tomorrow? The answer is yes. Already, there are organisms capable of hijacking the nervous systems of small animals and making them act abnormally.
The world renown Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has a containment/backup plan for a zombie outbreak. This shows that our fears maybe real. Already, rumours are flying about, saying the CDC has been experimenting on various organisms and mutation them at an unnatural speed.
What are those organisms that may pose a threat to humanity tomorrow? Read on and find out.
1. Mind Controlling Fungi
Some fungi, members of the Ophiocordyceps genus have evolved a spectacular mechanism to get around the extreme heat and humidity of the rainforests. They zombify host ants and make them seek out the perfect environment for growth. They also kill the poor ants and grow a triumphant stalk out of their head.
Numerous different Ophiocordyceps species have been described that differ in their choice of host and killing. O. unilateralis, another zombie organism for example, infects carpenter ants (Camponotus). After parasitizing this usually arboreal species, the fungus manipulates it in such a way that it abandons its tree house and heads for the sheltered underside of a leaf. But not just any leaf- a leaf with ideal conditions for the fungus to grow. Here, the ant bites down on the leaf, usually on a vein, performing what is known as a “death grip.” As the name suggests, this location will be the final destination of the ant as the parasite kills it.
Next, the hyphae (tubular fungal structures) grow inside the host, eventually tearing through the back of the head. Spores are then released from the fungus into a small area below the leaf referred to as an “infectious killing field,” ready to start the process over again.