Science Hoax of the Week: Me – April Fools Day Reveal

So yesterday was April Fools Day, did you get taken in by any hoaxes? There were some brilliant ones going around. Google brought out Google Motion (a programme to control Gmail via kinect like gestures) and Youtube “discovered” some viral videos from 1911:


On a much lower key I decided to have some fun with science for April Fools Day. So I wrote this post. Were you fooled by it? Because what it implied was that scientists had discovered the genetic mutation for Zombification in bacteria. Now, there were quite a lot of clues. So if you did cotton on to the hoaxery of the article, how many did you find?:


  • Staphylococcus Rabia does not exist. Rabia is latin for ‘rage’ a reference to the dangerous virus that brings about the zombie apocalypse in 28 Days later
  • The Journal ‘Annals of Victus Mortuus’ does not exist and translates as the Annual Journal of the Living Dead!
  • The described behavioural changes are your stereotypical zombie characteristics written in scientific language and applied to bacteria
  • The video is actually of a white blood cell engaging in phagocytosis
  • The photo is again a white blood cell engaging in phagocytosis
  • The authors of the paper “GA Romero, D Boyle and E Wright” are film directors who made, respectively, The Dawn of the Dead Series, 29 Days later & Shaun of the Dead
  • The “WGON lab in Pittsburg” is a reference to the WGON Tv Studio in Pittsburg where the characters hide out in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
  • There is also a comment by Prof Raimi, aka Sam Raimi who made the Evil Dead Series of zombie films.
  • Raimi is referred to as the author of Nyturan Demonta which is the another name for The Book of the Dead (which features in the Evil Dead Series)
  • The mutation in the citation at the bottom of the post was Δ28DL. Another reference to 28 days later.

In hindsight there is one hint I forgot, I did not imply that if a wild type cell was attacked by a mutated cell it would then take up the mutation. But, other than that (and the description of the scientific methods being completely useless!) I am quite pleased with my little hoax.

And also am very pleased that this wont be happening any time soon:

If you happened to read my previous post, were you fooled by it? And what did you think? I’d be very interested to know.


5 thoughts on “Science Hoax of the Week: Me – April Fools Day Reveal

  1. Pingback: April Fools Day – Genetic Mutation Found to Cause Cannibalistic Urges in Bacteria « B Good Science Blog

  2. Well, I bought it a little bit. I wanted to reblog your post, but then decided to make some background check on it. After I googled annals of victus mortuus, i kinda had some doubts. i headed back and viewed the video and thought it looked like phagocytosis, but i thought i was wrong. the pic was too cool to bother whether it was phagocytosis or rabia.

    anyways, though i hate to admit it, i got done in by your prank. but i guess i held back a bit by not reblogging it? LOL. loved it! until next year then?

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