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Jonas Ramsey presented at The Sixth Polygence Symposium of Rising Scholars. Interested in the next Symposium? Fill out the interest form here for more information.

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Polygence Scholar2021
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Jonas Ramsey

York Community High SchoolClass of 2022

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  • Is it possible for zombies to happen naturally? with mentor Vivian (Oct. 4, 2021)

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Is it possible for zombies to happen naturally?

Abstract or project description

Zombies are fictional creatures that are often portrayed as brain-eating undead humans that infect people through bites. Early zombie legends say they originated from voodoo magic, but this "origin" became more scientific as time went on. However, how scientific is the science in this sci-fi? Is it possible for a zombie-creating agent to arise from nature? Based on infectious disease studies, there are many different contestants for potential zombie viruses. These contestants include different types of pathogens including zombie fungus, prions, rabies, and toxoplasmosis. These pathogens are usually discussed by the media due to how they affect animal behavior in ways that many people consider zombie-like. In this review, we will review what is known about the “zombie-like” characteristics of each of these pathogens and how they affect animals and humans, as well as evaluate their likelihood of becoming potential zombie-creating pathogens.