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Old June 28 2010, 12:34 AM   #79
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Re: What would a half-Andorian, half-Vulcan child look like?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Myasishchev wrote: View Post
(Less difficult, but it's also hard to square Talas' tits with the crypto-marsupial nursing mechanism.)
Well, we don't actually know if she's a shen or a zhen.
In Africa, the females in a pride of lions will nurse each others cubs, if the biological mother is out hunting or has been killed. The "job" of nursing the young might not fall to a single gender among Andorians.
Regular old sociality is a pretty good adaptation. It's why I don't kick babies, even though they may one day grow up to take my throne.

What Andorian biology has done is separate the ovaries from the uterus. With Humans towards the end of the pregnancy, while not exactly helpless, the ovaries and the uterus have a certain amount of problem getting around and protecting itself. With Andorians, while the uterus is pregnant, the ovaries can move around more freely to care and protect the uterus. With a Human family group the ovaries and the uterus have the direct aid of a pair of testicles, with Andorians the uterus has the aid (in the family group) of three others, not just one. Separating the ovaries from the uterus into two individuals would seem to be a enhancement to survival, not a determent.
It would enhance the capability of an Andorian quartet to defend itself from predators, true. On the other hand, it doubles the investment needed to be made by parents, doubles the caloric intake of the family unit and doubles (or more) the chance of death by disease or accident. A simplified description of adaptation is that of a balancing act between awesome, invulnerable monstrosity and environmental resources.

This applies less to humans because the awesome, invulnerable monstrosity of intelligence is different in kind. The limiting function is still there (six billion at middle-class levels of existence is already too many), but it's more permeable because intelligence can manipulate so much of Earth's environment resources to service it.

If the uterus is not looked after, then no ones genetic information will advance or continue. The zhen may not contribute it's own genetic heritage, but without the zhen the other three genders are effectively genetic deadends.
But the zhen (the abstract lower animal zhen, or more specifically the DNA or other coding mechanism of the zhen, not the socialized crypto-primate Andorian zhen) doesn't care about that. She* cares about reproducing herself.

(That is, of course, a dangerous anthropomorphization of the "selfish gene" idea. The genes don't care. Nothing cares--except animals who have developed brains with emotional machinery capable of caring about things. But without being disseminated, genes die. The genes that express zhenitude, if they are not passed down, should not be able to survive. This is not, as Therin put it, a sweeping assumption, but as close as biology gets to a natural and universal law. The question is--and that's what you've struck on--is whether the other three who do pass forward their genetic material, are so benefited by a sterile zhen incubator that it becomes an selective advantage for them. And I think that is an iffy proposition.)

*This is barely apropos, but does anyone else think that pronouns would be invented or borrowed and integrated into English that didn't denigrate the Andorian gender system? I like "zhe" myself for zhens, which is pretty elegant, although less so in its genitive/dative/accusative version ("zher?"). Stupid remnants of an inflected language. Word order is where it's at, baby.


As a separate issue Myasishchev, my avatar wants to know if she can date your avatar?

Sure, we all experimented in college, but...

Nerys Ghemor wrote:
Myasishchev--who IS your avatar??
A character of mine. I switched my avatar (from Mater Nostra quae es in caelis Mothra, hallowed be her name) to her for the ST: Revenge rollout. And yes, I'm still coasting on artwork I did a year ago; I got out of practice during the school year, and those things are time destroyers.

Anyway, to answer the content of your question: Swastika Kaur Shah, a near-future Indian vyomanaut (astronaut--it's seriously the official name) and Augment, flight commander of the Komagata Maru who wound up awakened in the 24th century in the early-DS9 timeframe--around about the time they started needing warm bodies for the Dominion War and stopped being picky about artificial chromosomes.

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