Ask Mike: Of zombies and brains

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Hey Guys,

Let me be the first to welcome you to the new Yahoo! Answers blog at tumblr. In the spirit of celebrating our swanky new digs, I wanted to tackle a question that has been on my mind for a long time. And with “World War Z” coming out, now seems as good a time as any, so here goes: Why do zombies love to eat brains?

Now, I’m resorting to stereotypes here, I admit. I’m sure there are plenty of zombies out there that don’t love brains and would prefer a nice thigh or maybe a juicy pancreas. But, you have to admit, when a layman impersonates one of the living dead, he or she usually utters a guttural “braaaaains.”

George Romero, legendary director of “Night of the Living Dead” and its slew of zombified sequels, has no idea why people think zombies like brains. In a 2010 interview with Vanity Fair, Romero said, “Whenever I sign autographs, they always ask me, ‘Write ‘Eat Brains’!’ I don’t understand what that means. I’ve never had a zombie eat a brain. But it’s become this landmark thing.”

Indeed it has. Several years ago, a group of zombie experts got together for a big discussion on, among other things, the legend of the brain-eating zombie. Matt Mogke of the Zombie Research Society disputed the idea that a zombie could even conceivably eat a brain.

"A human’s jaw and mouth shape just cannot support the fact that they could bite into a human skull, not to mention the pounds of pressure in a human bite is not that great," he said.

True enough, but zombies are nothing if not determined. One has to believe if they do indeed have a love of brains, they’ll find a way to get at ‘em.

The blog Don’t Eat My Brain lists a few theories as to why zombies love brains. “The most convincing theories range from metaphorical (they crave the mind/consciousness/soul that they have lost) to scientific (it’s been recently discovered that glial cells in the brain can replicate cells and perhaps give them back some of the brain mass that they lose in decomposition) to metabolic (brains have fat or cholesterol that sustain them).”

Bottom line: Nobody really knows why zombies eat brains (not even George Romero). Heck, nobody knows if zombies eat brains or just prefer to dine on flesh. But, if you ask me, zombies do eat brains and they do so because they’re probably incredibly bored and need a good challenge to pass the time.

Got your own theory about zombies and brains? Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading,

Mike

p.s. — You can follow me on Twitter here.