Posted in Monday Mayhem

Why Don’t Zombies Eat Each Other?

Everyone has their ideas of why zombies do the things they do. Why do zombies eat brains? Why do zombies from forty years ago lurch while today’s undead sprint toward their victims? Do zombies ever have to go to the bathroom?

The human brain.
The human brain.

I’m dedicating today’s Monday Mayhem post to the ultimate question: Why don’t zombies eat each other?

To answer this question I’m going to speculate, hypothesize, and take a few wild guesses. I’m sure everyone has an opinion, but how scientific are unsubstantiated opinions? Does science have an answer? I’m totally going to throw a dart with the hope it sticks and makes sense. Let’s see how far I get.

This is my theory.

Whether folks are talking about zombies bred by a curse, a virus or a freakish experiment gone wrong, the undead know only one thing—to eat. I’ve mentioned this before in the context of sharks. If anything is true about zombies, they are like sharks that smell blood in the waters. They hunt until there’s nothing left of their prey. Similarly, the undead search for the living as a means of nourishment in order to satisfy a craving deep within their bodies. That craving dictates their actions to terrorize humans for their own personal fulfillment. No matter what they do, they can’t feel satiated by their latest conquest and have to kill again in an endless cycle.

Of course, the next question to come from the astute reader is why. Why do zombies search for humans to fill the void in their souls? With all the meat around them—although undead nonetheless—why go for human? Won’t eating their kind stem the hunger burning within their bowels?

Pituitary Gland.
Pituitary Gland.

The answer to that is no. The question references the same question posed throughout the decades: why do zombies eat brains? It’s the same answer as to why don’t zombies eat each other?

John A. Russo’s film The Return of the Living Dead popularized the idea of zombies eating brains. Brains? Yes. Zombies need endorphins to sooth the pain of decomposition. Since their own kind can’t provide the endorphins needed to quell the agony of a slow death, humans will fill that void.

Located at the base of the brain, the pituitary gland produces the endorphins zombies need to relieve the pain of their immanent demise. To get to the gland, the undead would have to capture a human, bash the skull and draw the prize by scoops. Zombies simply can’t fulfill this order from other zombies. For one thing, in death their pituitary glands no longer secrete endogenous morphine (a.k.a. endogenous opioid inhibitory neuropeptides) as the nervous system is dead. No nervous system, no endorphins.

What was that analogy I’d used earlier? Right, sharks smell the blood in the water of their victims. Can it be zombies also smell the endorphins from humans as they go about their daily lives trying to stay alive during a zombie apocalypse?

What do you think?


Why do you think zombies don’t each other? Is there a better theory?