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This Mind-Controlling Fungus Turns Its Victims Into Zombies

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We’ve seen countless zombie films – almost all of which implicate a virus as the primary cause of the deadly infection. Because a virus can mutate rapidly and be transmitted easily, it is easy to believe such a concept. However, while we are busy hypothesizing how viruses can possibly make the undead rise again, nature creeps up with something eerily similar but shockingly real.

Behold, nature presents us with an uncanny case of zombie-like mind-control – all thanks to a fungus. Yes, you read it right.

Not a virus, not a bacteria – but a fungus.

Some organisms will do anything to propagate their species. Just like the parasitic fungus Cordyceps, scientific name Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a parasitic fungus that invades the brains and bodies of its victims, which, unfortunately, results in a mass production of zombies.

Source:Wikimedia

So how does this parasite pull off such a frighteningly amazing stunt? This is what happens. As the fungus infiltrates its victim’s system, the brain gets infected and the poor insect enters a zombie-like stupor. The “zombie insect” then becomes a marionette to the fungus, following commands dictated by the infected brain. Then, the fungus grows within and breaks out of its victim’s body, ultimately causing its demise.

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The horror doesn’t end there, though. You see, the fungus has the ability to scatter its spores on the jungle floor, subsequently infecting other insects nearby. And if that is not enough, the fungi has thousands of different types that target individual species.

Even a tarantula is no match for the parasitic fungus.

The video below shows the parasitic fungus infecting a bullet ant. At 1:02, the few-seconds-long time-lapse of the three-week period where the fungus sprouts from the ant’s head is captured.

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Fortunately for the ants, they can identify the infected ones. And once they do, the workers carry them and bring them far away from the colony to avoid infecting other ants.

We just hope that this fungus won’t try to attack human brains because if ever that becomes even remotely possible, a zombie apocalypse might just turn into reality!

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