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WHY ZOMBIES ARE LIKELY SILENT

Animal behaviorists commonly refer to predatory killing as the “quiet bite” because it is never done in a fit of rage.  Furthermore, extensive brain research shows that the rage circuits in the brain are shut off during a predatory hunt.

In her Bestselling book, Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin, Ph.D., explains that attacks meant to kill for the purpose of feeding are nothing like the growling, loud encounters that animals have when trying to protect themselves or their territory:

“We know from observation that the killer on the hunt is always quiet and expressionless.”

This evidence reinforces an existing theory that zombies likely don’t have the rage-filled and growling facial expressions seen in most fictional depictions (see: Zombie Don’t Snarl).

It also adds weight to the argument that zombies likely don’t moan.  Grandin states clearly that animals on the hunt have no strategic reason to make any sound.  In fact, noise puts them at a marked disadvantage, and so is avoided at all cost.

So remember, just because the zombie at you front door isn’t moaning and growling doesn’t mean it’s not interested in eating you alive.  On the contrary, it may be more focused on just that than even the most realistic Hollywood ghoul.

14 comments

  1. The behavior of predatory animals is irrelevant when discussing zombies. Zombies are not animals hunting for their dinner, they are mindless, enraged and hungry automatons that are not in control of their own behavior. Whatever pathogen is bringing them back from the dead is also manipulating those parts of the brain that control aggression and hunger (the hippocampus and amygdala, I believe) in such a way that the host becomes little more than a mindless vehicle for the distribution of the pathogen to new hosts.

    • I agree with ZombieM, i think they would act more out of a direct need to spread the infection. although seeing as how the pathogen is still using our brain, a human brain, there is still room to believe that some of our instincts might be used, if only controlled by said pathogen. our brain is much to complex to assume that the cause for infection would completely over ride all brain function, or that it can only use certain parts. the hunting instincts we have built in to us are still there, even if most of us dont use them today that doesnt mean that thousands and millions of years of evolution are erased. but whether these are erased in death? well only the big fella upstairs knows that.

  2. If that was the case, and I don’t think it is, wouldn’t they also be separating smaller victims from the “herd” and laying run-arounds and ambush point? Preditory animals do this all the time based on pure instinct. Nah! Moaning and growling is good for me! Any other way and we are screwed!!!

  3. This post, and others along the same lines, seem to rely on one of two unstated assumptions. Either the authors are assuming that zombies have evolved behaviors similar to other populations of hunters (an unlikely prospect, since zombies do not ‘evolve’ in a strict genetic sense), or they are assuming that the human brain, with its higher processing centers disabled or altered by the zombification agent, would fall back onto an earlier state of programming as a primitive anamalistic hunter. Given human evolutionary history, though, there is no evidence to support the ‘silent pre-human’ hypothesis. Humans likely evolved from small omnivores, not strict hunters. To draw parallels between modern hunting strategies of predator animals and our pre-human ancestors is a stretch. The authors need to show more evidence to support their unwritten assumptions.

    It is also possible that the authors are assuming that a zombie virus, possibly a retrovirus, would alter the DNA of the host, and that the virus itself would evolve to cause behaviors parallel to those of wild hunter animals. However, I would propose that the silent hunting observed in animals is a product of a genetic predisposition activated through a biological development process, so altering the DNA of an adult animal to include the silent hunting gene(s) would be ineffective in producing the desired behavior.

    • I don’t know about you and your ancestors , but when I hunt deer, I make as little noise as possible.

      • When you hunt deer you make as little noise as possible..
        Yes, you may do that, because we have LEARNED to do that. It isn’t in our genes. We aren’t hunting animals, we descend from apes, which are primarily herbivores. So on a genetic level we don’t have the capabilities to chase after and take down a deer. Hence, you probably use a gun. (Not very quiet at all).
        So if a zombie is basically a simplified human, it’s not necessarily going to be the best tactical predator, so most probably would not be silent.

        Also, if you think about people from the stone age, their kind of hunting would have involved communication between the hunting party to take down large animals. Much akin to moaning between zombies.

  4. Don’t forget that the tiger roar may cause the pray to get paralyzed

  5. Whereas I am in no position to question the hunting habits of living predatory animals I have to disagree with the silent zombie model when applied to the traditional slow somnambulist.

    A lone ghoul may well be mute, but where there are large undead populations (for example in an overrun city), vocalizations could serve as a rally signal to nearby zombies, indicating that prey is in the vicinity.

    Certainly in large scale outbreaks (Class 3 to Class 4), pack hunting and an accompanying rudimentary communication will likely arise as an emergent behaviour.

    We all know a single zombie poses little threat to a healthy living person; only in cases of uncertain mortal condition, or sheer overwhelming numbers would it pose a risk to the vigilant…

    Picture the scene: you step out of the alleyway into the main road, and goddammit you’ve been spotted. The zombie starts wailing, causing nearby undead to turn and move towards the noise to see what all the fuss is about, simultaneously adding their own voice to the chorus. Before long a wave of moaning has spread through a massive area, and the whole city is converging on your location.

    Famed zombie researcher Max Brooks posits that wandering ‘herds’ of zombies might result from groups of moaners whose target has escaped – these groups would aimlessly follow the sounds of each others voices across the countryside until finding new prey, posing a real risk to those surviving secretly in rural areas during the latter parts of an outbreak.

    In this situation it is through mindless persistence (locating) and overwhelming numbers (capturing) that zombies are most likely to corner any remaining prey

    • Splendidly put. In addition, research about living, rational beings (no matter how intelligent) is of limited use when discussing the undead. Evolution may have weeded out loud predatory animals, but wouldn’t help much with zombies, methinks.

    • I would add that pack behavior is crucial to a zombie’s “survival”. You would not think twice about walking up to a lone zombie, and putting a hatchet in its brain pan. Group 50 of them together, and you tend to choose flight over fight. Groups of zombies will outlast lone wanderers.

  6. Definitely more terrifying because instead of being on a screen in front if you, they’re about to eat you…. And silently at that….

  7. you are right kind sir, zombies don’t moan, and to see then acting “normal” would be more terrifying than the hollywood way maybe .

  8. thats a good point!

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