Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by kyle from watertown, WI. kyle Wonders, “When were zombies invented?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, kyle!

When you think of the future, are there things that you're scared of? Everyone fears things from time to time. It's only natural.

In the short term, you might worry about a test that you have coming up. Did you study enough? Or you might have anxiety about how you'll perform in a big game next week. Will you play well enough to win?

In the long run, there may be bigger fears in the back of your mind. Can you afford to go to the college you want to attend? Will climate change negatively affect the environment?

Thanks to popular television shows, you may have another fear: zombies. Will a government experiment gone awry unleash a virus that will turn most of the population into zombies? Will those zombies try to eat you? Can you survive a zombie apocalypse?

Don't worry, Wonder Friends! Despite what television shows like The Walking Dead might make you fear, zombies aren't likely to take over the world anytime soon. Thankfully, these scary creatures remain nothing more than the creation of artists, authors, and movie and television producers.

For those who aren't familiar with zombies, they're fictional beings that are essentially reanimated human corpses. They're undead, soulless bodies that usually want nothing more than to terrify —and possibly eat—you.

Historians believe zombies originated in the folklore of Haiti. Old Haitian folk tales feature dead bodies that become reanimated through magic. Modern zombie tales feature all sorts of other means of reanimation, including nuclear radiation, viruses, and scientific experiments gone awry.

Zombies were introduced to Western culture in W.B. Seabrook's 1929 book The Magic Island, which featured encounters with zombies created by Haitian voodoo cults. Over time, zombies have appeared in many different books and movies, including White Zombie, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Night of the Living Dead, and most recently the modern television sensation The Walking Dead.

Despite their popularity in modern horror and fantasy books, movies, and television shows, scientists don't see zombies ever becoming a real phenomenon. If an apocalyptic virus struck Earth, it could cause mass casualties, but it would not create zombies.

Scientists do point out, though, that in the extremely unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse, you would not be alone in your fight against the hordes of the undead. Unless the event that caused the zombies also affected other wildlife, wild animals would likely put a quick end to the undead.

Nature doesn't usually let much of anything go to waste. Zombies would essentially comprise a mass of walking carrion that a whole host of scavengers, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and microscopic decomposers, would quickly reduce, reuse, and recycle!

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