• Why don't zombies bloat? And skip other stages of decompositionEdit

    I understand that the zombies decay slower as a result of the virus. But why do they seem to skip some stages of death and decomposition

    Pallor mortis       Skin lightening early stage of death TWD zombies do this. 

    Algor mortis    Change in body temp, TWD zombies this occurs because heart stops. 

    Rigor mortis       Muscle stiffness, TWD zombies appear to show this sign by the way their arms and legs move. 

    Livor mortis        Settling of Blood due to gravity, and resulting discoloration. TWD zombies appear to do this to some extent, but because they would move it could be less. Would mean all the blood goes to their feet (ew) if they are Walkers.  

    Putrefaction        Cell breakdown and the "Bloat Stage". So if you have seen pictures of decomposing bodies, there is a not for the faint of heart stage called the Bloat stage, though we have seen this in the 'well walker' (the one Glenn compares to a game of Portal), this walker only bloated because it was in water. In normal human death, you bloat then explode to some extent, due to internal gas accumulating. Also maggots... Gross, we don't really see this on walkers in the series. This step seems entirely skipped on the TWD tv show, it seems walkers move straight into active decomposition and now in more recent seasons to beginnings of skeletonization.

    Active Decomposition 

    The phase where mass is lost. This is the phase where they really start to look like TWD zombies. Bones are more visible, they are skinnier, Eyes sunken in, skin drooping ETC. Then Advanced Decomposition, Which is where more bones are seen, and more mass is lost. We have also seen these types of zombies on TWD.

    Skeletonization Only dry materials remain. Haven't officially seen this on TWD* IE complete decay into nothing, then zombie death (probably). But we have seen burned corpses which are a lot closer to this step then we have seen. When zombies get burned some die, I think we will something like this soon. 

    Why wouldn't the walkers bloat? Possibly because they are introducing new meat for the bacteria to snack on rather then their internal organs? Do walkers rupture easier because they are active, preventing skin to restrict fluids from escaping and not allowing them to bloat at all? I feel like this step has to happen at some point and we just haven’t seen it. So why do you think that it doesn’t appear to be happening on TWD?

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    • I think the in-universe reason for the lack of a bloat phase is simply because most of the zombies the characters encounter either have yet to bloat or are already past the bloat stage. Also, I'm not sure how dry the South is, but a dry climate affects how a body decays (and may even mummify the body). 

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    • I am pretty sure in more humid climates, decay happens faster and the bloat would be greater. I am leaning towards the fact that they probably get cut up because they move around, allowing the fluids to leak. 

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    • There was once (at least in the comics) a feint about a plot of studying how zombies suffer from the passage of time.   Unless Eugene was lying outright (and I don't think he was), at least some zombies eventually reach a stage where they are still reactive, but mostly locked in place.


      Logically, it seems clear that zombies have no healing capabilities whatsoever and will eventually become regular, unmoving skeletons or perhaps (under very specific and rare conditions) mummify or petrify.  Their overall numbers _ought to_ have diminished drammatically since the first six months or so, because most of the world's people were turned in the first few weeks since the outbreak, and it does not look like the average roaming zombie can survive the elements more than a few months at most.  It is puzzling enough that they can somehow muster the energy to walk despite an apparent lack of adequate nourishment.


      Then again, we have seen decapitated heads that seem to remain animated for at least a few weeks despite having no functional digestive system to speak of, so perhaps the zombie plague is ultimately supernatural at its core, and zombies have no actual need for nourishment. 


      The state of preservation of their bodies does impose limitations to their physical capabilities, of course.  And they are if anything somewhat more fragile than living bodies, despite being oblivious to pain and to their own physical impediments (if any).  But the numbers of undead that we see now in both media are very difficult to explain unless most zombies are spared from natural putrefaction somehow.  It has now been at least three years (perhaps six or even more) since the initial outbreak.

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    • I understand what you mean. Perhaps the disease preserves them to some extent. They do look like walking unwrapped mummies. This could also be a factor as to why they skip the putrefaction step is skipped, because some how the disease is preserving their tissue to some extent. Eventually they would look the way they do in the show, thinner, and less mass, as any mumified body would look over time, could also explain the lack of maggots and flys, because in normal decompisition they would be literally everywhere. If the disease is preserving the skin somehow it would prevent maggots from being intrested in consumption of the skin and tissue. 

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    • Yes, we would expect lifeforms to thrive in decaying bodies, yet that seems to happen rarely if ever among the reanimated.  Have we seen it happen at any time?  I am uncertain.

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    • There is a scene with a couple of remarkably ill-preserved walkers (which, interestingly, seem to be slightly faster and perhaps even stronger than the average walker) just past the midpoint of episode S6E05, "Now".  At first I perceived them as nearly skeletal, but a second examination shows them to be covered with wet dejects.  Their eyes were very sunken indeed, to the point of being almost empty sockets.

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    • I think it comes down to artistic license and supernatural creepiness.


      Biologically speaking, the whole idea of a dead person getting back up and eating people is impossible. The brain isn't enough, nearly every other system in the body would need to be reactivated as well. Once you take that into consideration, it makes sense that something impossible to begin with doesn't decay normally.

      Makes for good TV though.

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    • I think it would be cool to see bloated zombies though, other then water bloat, because the risk of explosion is high that would be fun tv,

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    • even if we go by the in universe rule that the walkers can still, well, walk after becoming so decomposed that they look like a 2000 year old mummy, thay would eventually turn into dust.......and i dont think that the virus can make a pile of dust kill a man




      btw, i havent read all of the comments on this discussion, and i dont know all the knity-grity of the walker lore, critesize me all you want

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    • A FANDOM user
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