Zombie Apocalypse: Only 273 Humans Left After Three Months, Study Says

Physics students have conducted a study to determine what would happen if a zombie apocalypse and real life Walking Dead situation were ever to happen, and the conclusion they reached is a grim one as they found that there would be less than 300 humans left living on Earth after three months from the start of the zombie outbreak.

Phys.Org report that students from the University of Leicester Department of Physics and Astronomy presented the findings of their zombie apocalypse study to a peer-reviewed student journal which is run by the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. This journal enables students to gain experience with writing, publishing, editing and reviewing scientific papers.

Dr. Mervyn Roy, the course tutor, explained the purpose of his students’ zombie apocalypse study.

“Every year we ask students to write short papers for the Journal of Physics Special Topics. It lets the students show off their creative side and apply some of physics they know to the weird, the wonderful, or the everyday.”

Zombies take part in "Fleshmob" in London, England on April 7, 2007.
Zombies take part in "Fleshmob" in London, England on April 7, 2007. The University of Leicester has conducted a zombie apocalypse study to see how long the human population could survive. [Image by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]

In their zombie apocalypse study, students from the University of Leicester investigated what would happen to Earth as we know it if a zombie virus was unleashed. In order to do this, they used the SIR model to determine what the spread of the disease would look like throughout the population. In their estimation, if a zombie apocalypse really did ever happen, by the hundredth day there would be a mere 273 humans still left roaming the planet. These human survivors would also be outnumbered by zombies at a ratio of a million to one.

In their study, students used a model which split the population of Earth into three separate categories: those who were susceptible to the zombie infection, those that have been infected by the zombie virus and the people who have either died or miraculously recovered. The model then looked at the rates at which the zombie infection spread and then died off as humans came into contact with each other.

As part of their formula, the University of Leicester students looked at the susceptible population, the dead population and the zombie population. They also looked at the time frame with which humans encountered one another in the population.

The zombie apocalypse study at first did not take into account any natural birth or death rates as the zombie outbreak happened over 100 days, which would have resulted in natural births and deaths being somewhat negligible, especially when compared with the zombie virus outbreak within such a short space of time.

If humans were not able to fight the zombies, the students calculated that with equally distributed populations around the globe the entire human race could be wiped out in less than just one year. However, in a follow-up zombie apocalypse study, the students looked into the SIR model that they had used with the zombie epidemic and changed the parameters. The parameters which were changed included the rate at which zombies could be killed by humans and the rate at which humans would be giving birth to natural non-zombie children. These new parameters made survival seem a little more feasible.

Participants in the Zombie Walk Duesseldorf along the Rheinuferpromenade on September 6, 2015 in Duesseldorf, Germany.
Participants in the Zombie Walk Duesseldorf along the Rheinuferpromenade on September 6, 2015 in Duesseldorf, Germany. [Image by Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images]

The team studying the zombie apocalypse then began to factor in whether humans would be less likely to become infected by the zombie virus after they had been fighting off the zombies for awhile. In this way, the students decided that it may actually be feasible for the human population on Earth to survive a zombie apocalypse and wipe out the zombie population with humans being the winners in the end.

If a Walking Dead scenario ever were to happen, do you think that this study of a zombie apocalypse would be helpful and do you think you would manage to survive a zombie outbreak?

[Featured Image by Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images]