Zombie Shrimp! We’re All Toast!

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As fans of any zombie film or TV series know, the flesh-eaters start out like the rest of us until they are infected with some kind of parasite plague. Then all it takes is for one biter to bite someone else and game on. In previous zombie incarnations, that parasite has come from government labs, rogue meteorites and your basic voodoo curse. Now we have scientific evidence that there is a cannibal parasite. Could a full-blown zombie plague be far off? Methinks not.

The parasite in question has been given the gobbledygook name of Pleistophora mulleri. A bunch of scientists found this nasty bit of nature in the freshwater shrimp population of Northern Ireland. Yes, apparently, the shrimp infected with the parasite turn on each other and start dinning on their own version of shrimp cocktail. In fact, the infected shrimp are like, well, zombies, when it comes to eating their own.

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Alison Dunn, one of the researcher at the University of Leeds, said in a press release that the shrimp eating shrimps do so because they are sick and this is the only way to survive. Seems like the parasite keeps them from moving around. Can you say, “Walkers?” “Cannibalism for the shrimp, unlike in humans, is a significant source of food even in uninfected animals,” she told NBC News. “It seems unlikely that a parasite would be under evolutionary pressure to influence cannibalism in humans.” Sure, that’s what they want you to believe. For the record, we consume about 3 pounds of shrimp per person per year. You don’t think a parasite can slip into all that shrimp? In anyone needs me, I’ll be stocking up my bunker.

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