Monday, September 12, 2011

The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us! Well, if you're a Gypsy Moth Caterpillar that is.

   I stumbled across an article today about scientist identifying a virus which cause the gypsy moth caterpillar to turn into mindless zombies!!!
    Nobody panic! It does not turn them into brain eating worms, it just causes them to crawl off and die.
   In a nutshell, these caterpillars eat high in the tops of trees at night and crawl down to the ground during the day to hide from predators.  The virus causes them to crawl to the top of the tree (even in the day) and just stand there. They don't eat or move... just stay there till they die and liquefy (or are horribly masticated by predators). By them dying in the top of the tree (where the other non zombie worms eat) they spread the virus all over the leaves and it continues.
*For full details see the article HERE*

   This is disturbing to me for several reasons. Apparently this virus has come about naturally as a way for population control of the caterpillars. How long is it before nature comes up with something similar for us!?!? Could you imagine what would happen to us if the same virus attacked humans? We would stop what we are doing and head to the nearest McDonald's where we would stand near the counter and drip in the food as it comes out.
Photo credit: Kathryn Findlay
   You may argue that we are safe because the virus only effects caterpillars. Need I remind you that some of the most terribly viruses originated in the animal kingdom (HIV from chimps, H1N1 in birds, etc) ? It most likely will not hop straight over and start being a human strain virus, but it's one mutation away from jumping ship to another species. Life could get sticky if that happened.
   Looking beyond the nature aspect of this whole Zombie Virus mess, we have to look at the human influence. I can just imagine some guy in a cave in a third-world country with a cage full of zombie caterpillars. He is probably laughing like a maniac as he declares war on the infidels with his soon to be perfected Zombie Virus! 

   Too far fetched for your tastes? How about a government bunker out in the dessert somewhere in Arizona? A jeep rolls up delivering a unmarked package.... a package containing ZOMBIE CATERPILLARS! 
   If that were the case and some egg-head super scientist in a bunker were truly working on this for Uncle Sam, I am sure it is for the greater good and protection of this great nation of ours. You know the saying though. The road to damnation is paved with good intentions......
   I know this post has been more on the funny side rather than the dark and creepy, but I for one could use a little humor to start out the week. 
    It is a very real subject and I ran across another blog that details some other scientific cases of zombie like situations in nature. The article comes from Miss Cellania's Files and can be accessed HERE . It's a creepy read indeed! 
    Since zombies make terrible gardeners (and I am all out of my zombie making virus), I am off to do battle with the lawn! I hope I don't run into any zombie wildlife while I am out there!

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