We’ve already established the likelihood that zombies can’t survive past the first level of decomposition (see: Fresh Stage Decay & The Zombie Lifespan). Inspired by a reader’s comments, the ZRS team recently looked at the The Lost Colony of Roanoke to establish a potential outside limit to the longevity of the undead.
If the settlers on Roanoke Island were in fact overrun by a deadly zombie outbreak, then there are certain important date markers to note. They landed at their new home on July 27, 1587, and exactly one month later the ships that delivered them sailed back to England. Then, on August 18, 1590, the ships returned to bring supplies and support to the new colony, but they found not a single living soul. ZRS Researcher, Lou Welker, continues:
“Even if the Roanoke zombie plague began just days after the ships sailed, the lack of human remains found upon return indicates that an outside estimate for the zombie lifespan would be two years. It could obviously be much shorter, but two years is a probable max.”
The notion is that there must have been enough time for zombies to completely overrun the colony, leaving no one left alive, and then wander the island aimlessly until they slowly decayed back into the earth. By the time the reinforcements arrived, there would rightly be nothing for them to discover.
Though the Roanoke lifespan theory relies heavily on hypotheticals, it may be the closest we have yet come to finally uncovering a concrete timeframe for the coming zombie threat. As always, more research is required…