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Is it possible that since walkers get weaker over time that they eventually die off? For example, enough time passes and they wither away.

This also assumes, that most people like current survivors do, take care of natural deaths by adding a stab to the head. Since anyone who dies can turn into a walker.

How do I know they are decomposing? From season to season you can start to see all walkers decomposing. An old walker can actually by killed by punching it, while a new one requires a bit more effort to kill it.

  • How do you know that walkers get weaker? I don't remember this being said in the series (I didn't watch the last season or read the comics) – Taladris Nov 7 '14 at 8:33
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    @Taladris look at my answer here – Shevliaskovic Nov 7 '14 at 11:06
  • @Shevliaskovic: thanks. I looks to me like Kirkman was trying to fill a plot hole. But this is God's word... – Taladris Nov 7 '14 at 12:55
  • @Taladris If you compare the appearance of the walkers from season 1 through to season 5 there are extreme differences in their state of decomposition. Even if their brains are somehow being preserved in the same state as when they first turned, their bodies are gradually falling to pieces. – Jason Patterson Nov 9 '14 at 16:49
  • We also see this in action in last night's episode... – Dave Johnson Nov 10 '14 at 17:16
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I guess the real question to ask is if they are really alive. In most lore, zombies are considered undead, so they aren't truly alive. In The Walking Dead universe, zombies are called walkers. I don't think it has been really established if they are considered alive or undead. If they are undead, then when you "kill" one the correct term is actually destroy. The same goes for other undead creatures. When you stake a vampire, you destroy it. You can't kill something that is not alive.

That being said, they will probably cease to function over a long period of time. This process will perhaps take years. This theory was looked into with a lot of depth in Day of the Dead (1985). The characters believed that the zombies would eventually decompose to the point where they could no longer function. They estimated that it would take several years. I can't remember the exact time frame, but it was perhaps around a decade.

  • That's convenient, since a quick google gives the reliable shelf life of commercial ammunition at around 15-20 years, +/- depending on how it's stored. – Joe L. Nov 7 '14 at 18:23
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Bit of a roundabout answer here, but be patient with me:

TWD's zombies are clealry Romero-type.

Max Brooks, having studied Romero-type zombies extensively, wrote The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z.

In these books, Brooks actually addresses these issues. It boils down to: Zombies have a limited lifespan, generally. However, it's longer than it would take a normal body to decompose. Part of this is because they generally aren't in anaerobic environments like regular bodies. Part of it seems to have something to do with changes in the biochemistry which causes them to partially desiccate, which acts to preserve the bodies. They have an average lifespan of up to ~ 10 years in normal conditions. However, zombies in abnormal conditions continue to persist for reasons unknown. As an example: zombies who roam the ocean floor continue to survive more or less entirely intact, and nobody knows why.

Now, if we're talking Rage-type zombies, this is a different story entirely. With their ridiculously heightened metabolism, once most people had been turned/eaten, they'd die off in a matter of weeks, maybe a couple months.

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    This is not bad reasoning, but I'm not sure you can extrapolate from different mythologies. For all his homework, Max Brooks' zombies and The Walking Dead's aren't the same! The "Romero-type" classification is strictly out-of-universe and non-sanctioned :) – Andres F. May 9 '15 at 13:23
  • Well, as of a few issues ago, we know that there is one significant difference between the two which I won't say here b/c spoilers. – Broklynite May 10 '15 at 15:26
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if walkers get weaker over time then yes eventually the walkers would for all intents and purposes "die" however I havent seen any real evidence that walkers get weaker in any noticeable way all walkers encountered so far in the show at least has had the same mobility as the first walkers seen baring some form of damage to the body

  • We do know that they are getting weaker as Kirkman has said it himself. You can look at my answer here – Shevliaskovic Nov 7 '14 at 11:07
  • It is said at some point in the TV-show (by Michonne when talking about her "disabled" walker pets, I think) that Walkers can indeed starve and get weaker, just much slower than normal humans. – TARS Nov 7 '14 at 12:27

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