“The girl with all the gifts” or: Zombies and fungus

(SPOILERS AHEAD!)

Melanie is a girl that lives in a military base with other kids. An strange innocent ambient and calm in the kids. They are in motion deprivation and installed in cells, like prisoners. Later, an official explains that this kids are not humans and they are trying to teach them human knowledge, trying to make them more humans. An analogy of Schrödinger’s cat is made: they are not live, not dead, they are zombies.

Events happen and Melanie seems to have no choice to embrace the reality about what she is. With help of a good teacher and a mad scientist. They explain to her that the world collapse with the infection of a fungus that controls human mind, and she is a baby that became infected in womb.

And science starts from here…

cordyceps

The fungus that comes in reference to the movie is Coryceps unilateralis. The current name is Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. This fungus is a real parasite of ants, specially carpenter ant (Camponotus rufipes). The ant gets an infection that change its brain, so, another ant trying to save the colony from the infection or the fungus itself take it to a high leaf, the ant grab the leaf and the fungus starts to grow from the body and head of the ant. Now the spores of the fungus can spread through the air and infect another ant.

Still nobody knows how the fungus takes control of the ant brain but surely comes in a complex biochemical juice. Traditionally, another species of the same fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, is used in China to balance the ying and yang.

And that’s why it has some reason to use a fungus like a “zombieficator”. In this book/movie and in the videogame “Last of us” (shares a very similar plot). The movie is not a conventional zombie movie, it has more to tell about human nature but here I only develop this fragment. I will left this video of BBC about the fungus and this link, and also if you want to read more about the book here.

 

 

What do you think about this “zombiefying fungus”?

 

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