For Science!
8 Ways to Make Vampires Realistic

CJ Miozzi | 9 Jul 2014 19:00
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7. Hibernation

The fabled vampire coffin in which these powerful creatures can rest for ages could be justified through hibernation. It is not uncommon in nature for animals to hibernate for up to eight months of the year, and a solid, stone enclosure seems to be a fairly safe place to remain in a more vulnerable state. In fact, disguising this enclosure as a coffin would even keep any curious humans who may stumble upon it from questioning its contents - nature is full of examples of creatures that either camouflage themselves or their nests.

While hibernating, a creature's metabolic rate can lower by 75%, and its body temperature can drop to below 0 degrees celsius. If some meddling human happens to open that coffin, he can easily mistake the vampire for a corpse in this state - which may give rise to a myth that the homo vampiris is an undead creature...

Why hibernate at all? It is a misconception that animals hibernate in winter simply because it is cold - they hibernate in order to conserve energy when there isn't enough food available. By hibernating for most of the year, a vampire would allow human population to rebound after an intense feeding period, and maybe even let enough time pass for them to let their guard down or stop wondering who is responsible for those mysterious serial killings...

8. Reproduction

Traditionally, most vampire lore involves vampirism being a condition that can be passed on to any human, either through a bite or other means. This doesn't match the image we're constructing, but fortunately, many vampire tales also stipulate that the creatures can reproduce sexually.

Our homo vampiris will be plain ol' mammals that make babies the good old-fashioned way. Nothing to see here; move along.

The full picture

What we arrive at is an animal that captures most of the elements of traditional vampires, while relegating some of the less plausible elements to human superstition that would have built up around these ferocious creatures. Our homo vampiris is a nocturnal predator and close relative to homo sapiens. It has genetically evolved the strength and sensory capabilities to be a man-hunter, but also has key genetic defects relative to humans. It is a carnivore that feeds preferentially on human blood and, to a lesser degree, flesh due to social pressures. It reaches biological immortality at maturity, mates and reproduces like all other mammals, and spends most of its time hibernating.

And it doesn't sparkle in sunlight.

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