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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old January 20 2008, 04:17 AM   #1
doctorwho 03
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McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

I think I've finally figured out the answer to this age old question, and I hope that others have come to the same conclusion. As we've seen in The Trouble With Tribbles and DS9's Trials and Tribbleations, our favorite "southern country doctor" is able to pick out a Klingon spy disguised as a human using a bioscan, yet in TUC he has no clue how to treat Chancellor Gorkons injuries because 'he doesn't know (Gorkons) anatomy. I believe that how this can be has been finally answered by ENTs explanation of how Klingons with and without forhead ridges can exist in the same universe. The virus that was created using human augment DNA to make Klingon augments not only smoothed out the foreheads but also jumbled the internal organ arrangement into something close to human standards. Throughout the five year mission, McCoy has studied Type Two Klingons (TOS no ridges) but never Type One Klingons (spinoffs ridges) because almost none existed during TOS. By the time of TMP, the effects of the virus had been reversed and no more Type Two Klingons were being born. Possibly any surviving Type Two Klingons undergo 'cranial reconstruction' to fit into Klingon society better. By the time of TUC, Type One Klingons are the only Klingons sculking about the quadrant, the ones McCoy never studied and thus, could not save Gorkon because of his 'unknown anatomy'.

I know, I know. There are those fans who don't wish to include ENT as canon. You're all entitled to your own opinions, of course. I'm just stating how I see the Star Trek universe revolving and evolving. Also if any mods out there think this thread belongs somewhere else, I respectfully apologise for putting it here.

Now, what do you all think?
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Old January 20 2008, 04:22 AM   #2
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

What I think is rather simple. The tricorder did all the work: It registered the spy as a Klingon. Anyone who knew how to use a tricorder could reach the conclusion McCoy did.
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Old January 20 2008, 04:23 AM   #3
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

A tricorder is a very advanced piece of equipment. There's no doubt that it could easily determine whether someone was a klingon or human. Or even that he just wasn't human.

McCoy didn't have a tricorder when he was treating Gorkon.

Plus, being able to identify someone as a member of one certain species is entirely different from treating them when they're on the edge of death.
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Old January 20 2008, 04:53 AM   #4
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

Haytil said:

McCoy didn't have a tricorder when he was treating Gorkon.

He did he beamed aboard with one (see: TUC screencap ) and he had his little medical scanner as well (see: TUC screencap ). Of course the latter may not have been properly calibrated for a Klingon.
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Old January 20 2008, 05:30 AM   #5
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

He didn't know enough about Klingon's to know how to treat one that's probably already dead anyway.
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Old January 20 2008, 05:36 AM   #6
Brutal Strudel
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

Kegek said:
What I think is rather simple. The tricorder did all the work: It registered the spy as a Klingon. Anyone who knew how to use a tricorder could reach the conclusion McCoy did.
I'm afraid it's even easier than that. As soon as the tricorder showed readings all wrong for a human, only the most cursory knowledge of Klingon anatomy would be necessary to identify him as Klingon. A person can "know" where a human heart and lungs are, where the liver, kidney and speen are and what they do without truly knowing the anatomy, surely not enough to save a critically perforated patient who has lost a lot blood and is probably in shock. Thus McCoy can "know" the anatomy without really knowing it.

And don't get me started on the biblical sense...
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Old January 20 2008, 01:10 PM   #7
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

I hated TUC and that inconsistency was just one of the reasons. I still don't understand why people like it. The most manipulative, ret-conning, ham-fisted POS of the movies, IMO.
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Old January 20 2008, 02:50 PM   #8
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

Fair easier to tell a Klingon from human by gross physiological parameters, versus operating on either with only the surgical skills of either Human or Klingon.
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Old January 20 2008, 05:59 PM   #9
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

Yes and no . . .

You and I might have known how to disect a freshly-killed frog in high school. And we would have been able to identify all the organs, pretty much.

But would you know how to restart its heart?

Now, how about a fish? Or even a fellow mammal. Where is cat's heart? What drugs would you use? What dose? How much voltage for the paddles (which McCoy did not have handy)? Let's say you even happen to be a suburban vet. But what if the patient is a tiger? Have you ever had any training in exotic animal care?

Now, how about another species from another planet?

I think McCoy can be forgiven for knowing a lot about Klingons, but not knowing how to restart an alien heart inside a bleeding chest cavity.
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Old January 20 2008, 10:05 PM   #10
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

I can identify a clock or watch from the outside and the inside, but could I repair it or dismantle and rebuild it?
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Old January 21 2008, 04:47 AM   #11
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

If anyone's interested, there's a piture of a klingon's anatomy at the Trek Core website in the ST III bonus feature section (I think)?
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Old January 21 2008, 04:51 AM   #12
Nerys Myk
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy started and stopped at Mara's cleavage.
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Old January 21 2008, 08:35 AM   #13
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

Frankly, I'm much more bothered by the idea that McCoy would know the anatomy of any species other than human well enough to give medical care. Mastering just one species is a lifelong task for us today...

Then again, which alien species, apart from Vulcans, did McCoy successfully treat, for anything besides the most banal physical trauma? He patched up Ambassador Petri's knife wound, but other aliens like Lazarus or Lokai essentially healed themselves, with the good doctor merely venting his amazement and frustration.

I don't see how McCoy would be capable of treating Gorkon unless he was part of the special Starfleet Medical unit that experiments on captured Klingons.

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Old January 21 2008, 12:09 PM   #14
The Squire of Gothos
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

Timo said:I don't see how McCoy would be capable of treating Gorkon unless he was part of the special Starfleet Medical unit that experiments on captured Klingons.

Timo Saloniemi
Perhaps some basic medical knowledge was exchanged after the Organian Peace Treaty, for when Klingon vessels docked at Federation stations.
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Old January 21 2008, 12:35 PM   #15
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Re: McCoy's knowledge of Klingon anatomy

That sounds plausible. But Klingons would probably be extremely paranoid about such things...

Overall, I think the "Meyerisms" in ST6:TUC flow quite naturally from the TOS precedent. While some things like McCoy's inability to treat an alien may look like anachronisms or atrekisms to an audience that has also seen the spinoff shows and read the books, those things also nicely reflect the original 1960s thinking. The TOS heroes weren't very open-minded, they didn't have multiple proficiencies or (save for Spock) superpowers, and in most respects, they treated Klingons like the average American officer would regard the Soviets at the time. Meyer just brought the (2200)sixties to the (2200)eighties and nineties, where they fit like a groovy, campy glove.

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