zombie
Representational image of a human zombie Pixabay

Hollywood directors have several times depicted the after-effects of a zombie apocalypse where humans run wildly to taste meat and blood. And now, an evolutionary biologist has controversially claimed that this possibility is not confined into fiction, and it may happen in real life too. Athena Aktipis, an evolutionary biologist at the Arizona University who hosts the podcast named 'Zombified' revealed that more than half the species in the earth are parasites. As per Aktipis, certain parasites in this group could cause a potential zombie apocalypse among human beings. During the talk, Aktipis talked largely about Toxoplasma, a single-celled parasite is capable of affecting human behaviour.

"The parasite somehow evolved to make a rat get turned on by the smell of cat urine, so it goes up to a cat and snuggles with it, and then it gets eaten which completes the life cycle of the toxoplasma – if that's not zombification then what is?" said Aktipis, Express.co.uk reports.

The dangers posed by this parasite cannot be ruled out, as human beings will get affected by them as we eat undercooked meat. Pets can also spread these parasites among humans, as even cleaning a cat's litter box could lead to infection.

Certain experts claim that infection of this parasite could change the behavioral pattern of the human brain, and one such outcome from the infection of this parasite is over aggression, a unique trait of zombies as depicted in films. Another feature associated with the infection of this parasite is the 'risk-taking' trait.

A few months back, a study report published in the Journal of Experimental Biology had suggested that ants infected with a virus named Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is capable of turning these creatures into zombie-like beings. Interestingly, this zombie virus will not affect the brain of these ants, but it will affect the mandibular muscles causing hyper contraction.