People who are skeptical that there ever could be anything even remotely resembling a zombie apocalypse point to the fact that, short of something supernatural, everything we’ve learned in grade 10 biology drives a nail in that coffin. It’s pretty clear, biological science confirms this view.
When something is dead, it’s dead. It is a cliff, that once fallen off, can not be scaled again.
But is it… really?
For your consideration, I give you Mike the Headless Chicken. While this might sound like a headline ripped from your trashiest news rag, this is essentially the headline from a highly regarded US publication in the 1940′s that covered this story (LIFE with Mike the Headless Chicken: Photos of a Famously Tough Fowl, to be exact. Time Magazine also covered this story.)
The media has published hundreds of photos, interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and hundreds of people had viewed this marvel. This was by no means a fabrication– this fowl survived without its head for 18 months.
On September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, made a poor attempt at beheading a chicken for dinner, and left the decapitated chicken body with most of its brain stem. The bird, though clumsy at first, was eventually able to perch and preen and attempted to crow, though the crowing consisted mostly of a gurgling sound made in its throat. Olsen cared for the bird by feeding it with an eyedropper and small grains of corn through its neck hole.
Mike the Headless Chicken eventually became a celebrity in sideshows, earning the owner a significant amount of money. Of course, as could be expected, copycats were attempted, but none were successful. It was truly lightning in a bottle.
Mike died in a less dramatic fashion. He actually choked to death on a piece of his food. Apparently he couldn’t perform the international sign for choking (which is holding your hands together under your chin. Without hands and a head, that would have been difficult).
Kelly Lambert and Craig H. Kinsley who wrote “Clinical Neuroscience (2005)” noted:
This is a good example of central motor generators enabling basic homeostatic functions to be carried out in the absence of the cerebral cortex.
So there you have it. When is dead, dead? Yes, we are talking about a bird brain. And something as complex as a human brain could never work with so much trauma, right? If you have been following our series of bleeding edge science, you might think differently. Drugs to revive the near dead; cyborg rebuilds of the human body and brain; the use of various established scientific methods to re-actuate “non-living organisms”; the development of entire organisms including a fully functional human brain, and you really have to wonder.
When is dead, dead? A head shot? Or a complete and utter decapitation? The Walking Dead would have you believe a stab in the side of the head will take down a walker. As we can see, this is still a dicey issue, so to speak.