Should a real-life zombie apocalypse happen like the one portrayed in the AMC series The Walking Dead, a new study suggests the majority of the human population would be eaten or otherwise dead in a little over three months. Using a statistical formula based on how contagious disease spreads, researchers discovered a deadly zombie infection would kill all but a few hundred people in the first 100 days of the epidemic.
A team of researchers with the University of Leicester in the U.K. predicted that an infected zombie would find at least one person each day and would likely spread the virus to the new victim, turning them into another death walker. For the study, it was estimated that a zombie would live in an undead state for about 20 days.
At that rate of infection propagation, the human race would be reduced to around 200-300 survivors at the end of 100 days. Of those, all would be dead or “zombified” within six months. With a human population approaching eight billion, a zombie apocalypse would be quite the pandemic.
As bleak as that may sound, the researchers did provide some hope by suggesting the possibility that humans will ultimately still be around after a zombie apocalypse. Once the initial shock of the outbreak wears off, people will become more aware of the virus and cautious of hungry zombies, while developing new skills to survive.
According to the report, the odds of surviving get better as humans adapt to the new environment and learn how to fight back. While learning forced skills to endure and outlast the zombie apocalypse, humans will eventually be able to reproduce and repopulate the planet.
In a second study done by the same research team, they changed the numbers to represent a zombie living for one year and giving a human a 10 percent chance of killing one member of the undead each day. Also included in the new calculation was the ability for women to have a baby once every three years.
This new prediction provided even more hope for the human race. While the population was still decimated within the first 100 days, the zombies were all back in the grave after two years and the human race would be on the road to recovery in about 27 years.
While it is interesting to speculate how easily and quickly a zombie apocalypse would play out among the human race, it should be noted that the formula used is not perfect. It assumes that the Earth’s population is evenly distributed, which is entirely not the case. In theory, people living in cities and other densely populated areas are likely to be turned into zombies way before someone living in more rural, mountainous areas like middle Montana.
Before the zombie apocalypse arrives, experts suggest a few simple items should be gathered to help you survive. As reported by the Daily Mail, Professor Lewis Dartnell, author of the book The Knowledge: How To Rebuild Our World From Scratch, says survival gear made up of “a fire-starting kit, water bottle, small knife, rope, and food” are essential for continued existence in the new zombie-filled world. He also suggests survivors make their way to the beach or the grocery store to increase the chance of not becoming a death walker.
People living at the beach will find raw materials such as sand, chalk, and seaweed that could be useful during a zombie apocalypse. Anyone seeking refuge inside a grocery store would have enough to eat for at least 55 years, according to Professor Dartnell.
The simulated zombie apocalypse studies were published in the Journal of Physics Special Topics. Do you think you have what it takes to survive a real-life zombie outbreak that could potentially devastate the Earth’s human population in less than six months?
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