Big brained, government taxpayer founded science boffins have been hard at work sussing out whether an actual zombie plague would be as big a threat to civilisation as popular movies have suggested. Turns out, "if zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively," reports the BBC. Crap!
"That is the conclusion of a mathematical exercise carried out by researchers in Canada," says Auntie Beeb, "only frequent counter-attacks with increasing force would eradicate the fictional creatures."
Fictional schmictional. You lot were saying sliding doors were fictional thirty years ago. Been on a train lately? Hmmm?
Anyway. Back to the Beeb:
In their study, the researchers from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University (also in Ottawa) posed a question: If there was to be a battle between zombies and the living, who would win?
The study was lead by Ottawa University mathematics professor Robert Smith? - like the band Therapy?, the question mark is part of his name. On his university web page, he says the question mark distinguishes him from Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure. OF COURSE a dood called Robert Smith? is doing this. Sheeeeet.
"We model a zombie attack using biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies," says Smith?. "We introduce a basic model for zombie infection and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions."
The researchers chose Romero-style slow-moving zombies, rather than the Ketamine-spastic 28 Days Later models.
"While we are trying to be as broad as possible in modelling zombies - especially as there are many variables - we have decided not to consider these individuals," said Smith?.
In their scientific paper, the authors conclude that humanity's only hope is to "hit them [zombies] hard and hit them often".
"It's imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly or else... we are all in a great deal of trouble," they add.
Amazingly enough, Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the world's leading disease specialists and one of the UK government's chief advisors on controlling the spread of swine flu says he welcomes the study.
"The paper considers something that many of us have worried about - particularly in our younger days - of what would be a feasible way of tackling an outbreak of a rapidly spreading zombie infection," said Professor Ferguson, from Imperial College London. "My understanding of zombie biology is that if you manage to decapitate a zombie then it's dead forever. So perhaps they are being a little over-pessimistic when they conclude that zombies might take over a city in three or four days."
So there you go.