I know, it doesn't need to feed, but it does anyway. It acts on an urge so it can spread the virus, not keep the host alive.
In most scientific myths, the "zombie virus" burns through the blood streem and takes over the human body when it has replicated enough to take over the brain. In this case, it is possible for the virus to live off of eaten flesh by an interconnected chain thoughout the host's body. The virus would take the flesh the zombie has eaten and pass the nutrients though the interconnected chain so the virus may continue to live and replicate. At times where the zombie has no food supply the host's body may become food for the virus until there is nothing for the virus to live off of then the corps may become either dormant or gone for good, depending on what nutrients the virus feeds off of. If the virus does not consume muscle tissue it could possibly either repair minor parts of muscle tissue or even consume lactic acids (the acid humans produce that break down muscle tissue during working out or use of the muscles) to either stop or slow down the process of breaking down of muscle tissue to keep the body mobile.
"At times where the zombie has no food supply the host's body may become food for the virus until there is nothing for the virus to live off of then the corps may become either dormant or gone for good, depending on what nutrients the virus feeds off of. If the virus does not consume muscle tissue it could possibly either repair minor parts of muscle tissue or even consume lactic acids (the acid humans produce that break down muscle tissue during working out or use of the muscles) to either stop or slow down the process of breaking down of muscle tissue to keep the body mobile."
According to George A. Romero & Max Brooks - our TWO leading and only authorities on the outbreak....
The ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE page 2
Solanum (the virus) works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood, the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered "dead". The brain, however, remains alive but dormant, while the virus mutates its cells into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this all-important resource, the undead brain can utilize, but is in no way dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body. Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a form that bears no resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely. This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.
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Despite legends and ancient folklore, undead physiology has been proven to possess no powers of regeneration or healing. Cells that are damaged, muscle, skin, bone, etc stay damaged. Any wounds, no matter what their size or nature, will remain for the duration of the body's reanimation...
"...for example, every time we physically exert ourselves, we tear muscles. With time, these muscles rebuild to a stronger state than before. A ghoul's muscle mass will remain damaged, thus reducing its effectiveness every time it is used."
The people need facts if they are to survive the Z-pocalypse. We must provide accurate, documented truths, or we will be sending people to their deaths.
Yes it may say that in the zombie survival guide, but it is going off a single point of view of single virus. There are several theoretical zombie viruses that man has "made up" most with the same effect. There for there is no definite determination of how or which virus would effect a dead body completely. Yes in all of them the heart stops beating, the virus takes over the body reanimating the corps and a bite with infected blood or body fluids would infect a wound of another person but, the virus may even adapt to the persons physiology. Who is to say that the virus may not create a bi-product that may very slowly repair muscle connections so it may maintain its slow and almost "steady" mobility. Im not nessesaraly talking about the T-Virus where the zombies mutate so they can dig, climb or grow extra limbs or a larger mouth. Just minor things that would be practical for a corps brought back to life could try to sustain itself if it has the food nessesary. If it doesnt have the nutrients it needs though it may reverse the process and break down the zombie even more until there is nothing left for the virus to feed on, leaving nothing but a dormant or rotting corps.
I have not been around much, but for what it is worth...
Brooks and Romero can put forth their theroies, but the information they have collected is at best second hand and any experimentation conducted was flawed. The virus can blow out part of the brain and alter behavior, but it is not capable of obliterating life's systems. What hearasy is this I write? Well, zombies must maintain a basic metabolism. Every biological activity from nerve cells to shuffling down the street is essentially "work". We have three choices.
1) Zombies are batteries. They have a set amount of energy and when it is gone it is gone. The zombie become deanimated and are essentially a corpse
2) again like a battery, but it has the ability to recharge itself by taking in "food". It is not a perpetual motion machine, nor does it eat three square meals a day. But, it MUST feed.
In the case of (1) or (2) the zombie virus resets the metabolism of the victim. Humans are warm-blooded. But, to conserve energy, the virus modifies the host to become cold-blooded. By becoming cold-blood a HUGE amount or basal energy is conserved and the zombie can go longer between meals. This has a profound affect on behavior. As the metabolic rate slows, the body cools. But, the musculature of the zombie is still optimized for running at the human's 98.6. Just like anyone who has experience cold in the extremities like the hands, manual dexterity drops as does strength and other abilities. This fall in temperature is large part of the collapse of runners to shamblers to in exteme cases a frozen stiff.
Oh, and the third option? That is magic. They ignore the laws of thermodynamics and are recharged through magic.
I appreciate your well-thought input, and really admire your candor. I think I like option three - magic. Yes, it has to be magic, because Romero's knowledge of the walking dead is NOT flawed, as he is the 'creator' of the very creature's we now discuss. ALL other 'zombies' from all other films, books, games etc are knock offs of the original design.
When creating the Night of the Living Dead film (originally penned Night of the Flesh Eaters), Romero admits to having swiped the Last Man on Earth vampire apocalypse; only he did not want vampires as the villains, and so he concocted the 'ghoul' or 'walking dead' - note - they are never called 'zombies' in the film, or in Russo's book.
As someone who has lived his life in obsessive fear and dread of the Z-pocalypse, I have dedicated the last 30 years of my life to making my preparations and steeling my mind for what my therapists say is almost a hallucinogenic or delusional - irrational fear of the imaginary. However, the laws of Resident Evil, Dead Snow, even Return of the Living Dead are not the laws by which we (by 'we', I mean 'me') apply our knowledge.
It is my hope that the end never comes this way... it is my secondary hope that if it does; it happens to be Romero's zombies we fight, and not the ever-mutating, running, speaking, thinking types we see in other films and video games.
You can say it, its okay, my family says it all the time - I'm nuts.
Ehhh... 1)maybe 2)maybe 3)maybe but a crude look into a more unlikely senario considering you might just want to kill the necromancer and hope for them to die or if they dont die then kill them off and not nessesaraly worry about getting bit due to it being magic and not a contagious virus unless it sets a rune or transfers the magic through getting bit, but even in that case you might not want to get anywhere near melee range if that is so because who knows, if they even touch you will it transfer the magic or is it a signature bite? with 1 or 2 would it be less ethical to kill a zombie? The brain is still functioning in that case and the virus would have to kill off the entire memory portion of the brain and rewrite other parts for basic behavior (to find food(human flesh? yes, no?[would human flesh be seen as food in this case? Only if the entire memory portion of the zombie is disabled, destroyed or rewritten])) The human brain is very complex, to take it and eat away or alter at the entire memory, basic food needs, the way to sustain temperature and the persons behavior would be a very complex task for a virus. It would be more simple of a virus to create an interlinked chain through the blood streem (attaching itself to muscle tissue, the lining of the stomach and intestine walls and brain through capillaries) eat away at the brain and either adapting or mutating creating a centeral nervous system with what it leaves behind of the brain as the virus reprograms it to "walk, search for food, grab, pull, bite and swallow" such as certain paracites in mice and snails force them to find a predator and move toward it. The virus can send nutrients through itself through defusion and osmosis for water. The central nervous center can send commands through the rest of the virus like the brain sends through the rest of the nervous system there for, there is no need for a nervous system, the zombie feels no pain, no remorse. The zombie is purely a frame for the virus. If it loses an arm it will continue to function as well as it did with two arms, it it loses a leg it will grab at the ground to pull itself closer to its food. Non of the body would be able to function if it lost communication with its central nervous system. In example 1 or 2 the subject would practicaly be an altered human, the virus would attack the brain to erase or change most of its components compared to destroying and bringing back basic commands to hunt for food. In your case for the zombie to live it has to use the brain given instead of creating a new one. In that case the brain has to be kept at a certain temperature or brain cells will begin to die at a rappid rate and the zombie will only last a day or two at best. Im not trying to bash those theories, just something to think about. Viruses can be adaptible so something that might start out with your theory could potentialy mutate into the one i listed, im not saying "im right, your wrong" just if something like this came about, what would happen? Most theories are scientests bringing back the dead and creating a zombie instead of a resurrected human, which would zero out your first 2 cases.
I think before any REAL debate on the functionality, mobility, decomposition and strength of a zombie can begin, it is important that we are all talking about the same kind of zombie, as over the years Hollywood and literature have produced more than one type.
1. Romero's shambling, flesh-eating ghouls. Afraid of fire, but destroyed once sufficient damage to the brain is inflicted.
2. Snyder's 'Runners'.
3. Resident Evil's 'mutates'
4. 28 Days Later rage infected persons
5. Restless/Vengeful souls like in The Fog, Dead Snow, Curse of the Blind Dead
6. Or those crazy Italian types from Zombi 3, 4, 5, etc... if you haven't seen these, you are missing out on pure craziness.
7. Return of the Living Dead - which ran, spoke, thought, and were all but indestructible.
The list goes on & on.... but we can't compare apples & oranges. We all need to be on the same page.
I prefer to think more practical. What would a virus like this do or how would it come about? You hear of mad scientests, the creation of Frankinstien and bringing back the dead. The whole thought of zombie is "the walking dead". If the right person thought that they could bring back the dead with an elixer or even a virus, that person might actually try it. Not knowing the true effects would probably spread the virus. The way that virus would adapt to abtain food would be by taking over the brain if not rewritting it completely or by destroying and rebuilding. The virus would already be within the blood streem which leads everywhere in the body including the virus stationed in the brain or where the brain used to be so why not using that as a new nervous system. If its a virus it doesnt NEED to or may not be able to communicate with the infected outside of its host but may be able to determine other infected as not to run out of food faster due to over population of the virus in a single or multiple hosts to conserve food supply. The virus can be contracted by any type of exchange between a zombie's body fluids into a non-infected persons cut, scrape, bite, possibly ingestion or through the eye where capillaries are the closest to the surface. This to me seems more practical. A virus doing what it absolutely needs to do to survive.
I just tried to spin it to what I understand of this Mythos / Urban Legend.
Not saying I am correct. I just toss stuff out and if the Proper Authorities want to weave it into the tapestry great.
I try to keep to the physical, because it is too easy to just say Magic, or technology millions of years more advanced. I am familiar with Romero and Brooks. They do a lot of good stuff. But, there are other things that they propose and attempt to back it up with what they know. Some of it just will not work. Then anyone else who would like to add to the story is stuck with Dogma (religion) or tweak things as a result of a better understanding of the system processes.