From Watts Up With That?
Essay by Eric Worrall
You know it had to happen – but the one scene explaining the problem was caused by global warming is entertaining nonsense.
The fungus zombies in ‘The Last of Us’ are fictional, but real fungi can infect people, and they’re becoming more resistant
Published: February 24, 2023 8.32am AEDT
Professor of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University
Many of the people watching The Last of Us are likely there for the zombies.
I love the zombies too, but I’m really there for the fungus.
I’ve been studying fungi since my PhD work in the 1980s, and I grow more fascinated by these amazing organisms with every passing year.
In the HBO series and the video game that inspired it, a parasitic fungus — a fictitious mutation of the very real cordyceps — jumps from insects to humans and quickly spreads around the world, rendering its victims helpless to control their thoughts and actions. Far-fetched fungal fear-mongering? It’s definitely fictional, but maybe not as preposterous as it might seem.
…Read more: https://theconversation.com/the-fungus-zombies-in-the-last-of-us-are-fictional-but-real-fungi-can-infect-people-and-theyre-becoming-more-resistant-200224
There is a grain of truth in their yarn. Cordyceps infects mostly insects, taking control of their actions and causing them to help the fungus complete its reproductive cycle – finally sprouting through the body of the insect. Don’t click the link unless you have a strong stomach.
So what caused these Cordyceps to start infecting people? The opening scene of the first episode explains Cordyceps developed the ability to attack humans, because global warming helped the fungus to adapt to our body heat.
And then – no more global warming references. At least so far. The characters in the story have bigger problems. Just a fast moving horror film, entertaining junk food for the brain.
I’m going to keep watching. Lets hope I don’t regret my recommendation.
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