Those of you who are fans of the AMC TV series, The Walking Dead, know that zombies (aka “walkers”) zero in on human victims through smell (and sound, which is why it’s better not to use guns in the event of a zombie apocalypse). Survivors sometimes camouflage themselves by smearing putrified zombie blood and gore on their skin. They then become invisible to the zombie walkers who shamble past the humans as if they did not exist. The main drawbacks are (1) you have to “kill” and gut a zombie to get the material, (2) you end up with a disgusting coating of goop, and (3) it needs replenishing to ensure the human odor is masked.
In a recent video, the American Chemical Society suggests, tongue-in-cheek, that it may be possible to create a zombie death cologne fabricated from a few key chemicals extracted from decaying flesh. This is a much better idea than the gut and smear approach; when you need to go out for a supply run, just spritz on the zombie cologne and you are good to go.
The video uses the public’s fascination with zombies as a way to teach viewers about chemistry. The video features a real chemist, Dr. Raychelle Burks, who explains how several compounds such as cadaverine and putrescine contribute to the characteristic bouquet of decaying flesh.
The video is part of a series, called Reactions, which is produced by the American Chemical Society. I think you’ll agree that this video is effective, informative, and entertaining:
Now, if they would just create a sand fly repellant that really works…..
Note: I created the animated image with Cinegif (www.cinegif.com).