It’s widely accepted that zombies can’t speak because their limited brain function doesn’t allow for complex thoughts. However, watch almost any zombie movie made in the past 50 years, and you’ll hear them moaning up a storm. Very scary on the big screen, but are real zombies able to make primitive utterances? And if so, how? A hypothesis put forth by ZRS Member, Gregory Pickman, may hold the answer.
Pickman suggests that zombies are able to make noise for one simple reason: they breathe. He asserts that because a zombie is technically dead, it doesn’t need to take in oxygen to continue “living”. Therefore a zombie can hold its breath for any numbers of hours or days, allowing it to do things like walk under water, and function without lungs or a wind pipe.
But Pickman argues that breathing serves two important functions for zombie survival: 1) It substantially slows the speed of decay, by keeping the body tissues somewhat oxygenated, and 2) it allows the pre and post rigor zombie to move at greater speeds, approximating human adulatory velocity. The moaning, then, is just a byproduct of a less-than-perfect respiratory system trying to do its job.
How and why do you believe zombies generate their signature sound?