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Old November 22 2012, 03:53 PM   #1
Gotham Central
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Why no comment on the number of human species?

One of the interesting things about the TOS episode "Balance of Terror" is the fact that the crew, especially Lt. Stiles, looked at Spock differently when it was revealed that the Romulans looked like Vulcans. indeed the episode even speculates that the Romulans are an off shoot of the Vulcans (which is later incorporated into their mythology).

But one wonders, what if the Romulans had looked human? Would the stereotyping have even been an issue? I ask that only because in over 40 years of Trek no one EVER comments on the fact that there are a shocking number of species that look exactly human. I'm not even talking about the minor bumpy forehead aliens like say the Bajorans. I'm talking about species that you would never know were aliens.

I'm sure that some of the races are simply from former Earth colonies that have developed their own unique cultures in the 200 years that humans had been in space. however, that does not expalin worlds like Eminar/Vendikar Ekos/Zeon, Edos, Betazed, Capella IV, Beta III etc. Hell even the Kelvans from the Andromeda galaxy looked totally human. (I've chosen to give the Borg a pass since they may in fact be derrived from time displaced humans).

How does one explain all of the totally human races? The oter question is why do we only ever come across multiple human races? With the exception of the Romulans, we've only ever come across one other Vulcanoid species in the Mintakans. Why are there no Klingon or Cardassian variants?

The race that we see in "The Chase" does not fully explain this since they, while humanoid, were not human...and their genetic sequence leads to the Romulans/Vulcans, Klingons and Cardassians as well. So why would you get more humans than anything else?
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Old November 22 2012, 04:14 PM   #2
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
Hell even the Kelvans from the Andromeda galaxy looked totally human.
No, they transformed themselves into a human shape so they could operate a spaceship designed for humanoids. Spock got a telepathic impression of their true form as "immense beings" with "a hundred limbs that resemble tentacles." It was a vital story point that the Kelvans had trouble adjusting to the human forms they'd adopted, and that Kirk & crew defeated them by exploiting their unfamiliarity with human emotions and appetites.

On the other hand, the Mudd's Planet androids did say that their creators from the Andromeda Galaxy were "quite humanoid." Implicitly the androids were made in those Andromedans' image. Although I prefer to think that they were more approximately humanoid and that Harry had the androids remodel their appearance to a more human one.


The race that we see in "The Chase" does not fully explain this since they, while humanoid, were not human...and their genetic sequence leads to the Romulans/Vulcans, Klingons and Cardassians as well. So why would you get more humans than anything else?
I like to use neoteny as an excuse. Lots of species' evolutionary processes tend toward neoteny -- that is, species evolving to retain formerly juvenile traits into adulthood. It's been said that humans are basically neotenous chimpanzees -- we retain the large heads, small muzzles, neuroplasticity, and so forth that chimps only have in their youth. And if you look at the various Trek-universe infants we've seen, most humanoid babies tend to look more human than their adult forms, with the more elaborate ridges and other anatomical features growing in later (which is, of course, because it wouldn't be practical or humane to subject a live infant to an arduous prosthetic makeup process -- although by "Demons"/'Terra Prime" they were able to do pointed ears with CGI). So if Trekverse humanoids tended toward neoteny in their evolution, they would often become increasingly humanlike as well.
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Old November 22 2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

Why does everyone cite "The Chase", when the proliferation of humanoid species by The Preservers was already explained two decades earlier in "The Paradise Syndrome"?

In fact, it amazes me that "The Chase" even got past story development meetings. Did NOBODY on staff watch the original series?
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Old November 22 2012, 04:41 PM   #4
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

Forbin wrote: View Post
Why does everyone cite "The Chase", when the proliferation of humanoid species by The Preservers was already explained two decades earlier in "The Paradise Syndrome"?

In fact, it amazes me that "The Chase" even got past story development meetings. Did NOBODY on staff watch the original series?
The writers of the "The Chase" left the issue vague, but Ron Moore has said that it was their intention that the race depicted probably was the Preservers.

The reason that people are more inclined to use "The Chase" is probably because that episode specifically addresses the biological similarities between Trek races. The only information that we had on the Preservers was that they saved potentially endangered cultures. We saw no evidence that they had any role in spreading humanoid biology or that they might have had any connection between say the Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons etc.
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Old November 22 2012, 04:45 PM   #5
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

Forbin wrote: View Post
Why does everyone cite "The Chase", when the proliferation of humanoid species by The Preservers was already explained two decades earlier in "The Paradise Syndrome"?

In fact, it amazes me that "The Chase" even got past story development meetings. Did NOBODY on staff watch the original series?
That's a false equivalency. The Preservers don't explain humanoids in general; they were only meant to explain Earth-duplicate cultures found on other worlds, the sort of thing TOS did often to save money by reusing stored costumes and sets from historical films/shows. (Although most such duplications had other explanations -- interference in the case of the Iotians and Ekosians, deliberate imitation in the Platonians, etc.) The idea was that they took existing Earth cultures that they felt were endangered and transplanted them to other worlds. (Which means they may have been the Vians, who were doing the exact same thing in the Minara system.)

The First Humanoids in "The Chase" were meant to explain the much wider pattern of humanoid aliens in general -- why even heavy-makeup aliens like Klingons, Cardassians, and the like still had the same basic body plan and facial structure and were even interfertile. Lots of fans equate the First Humanoids with the Preservers, but that's ridiculous, since they're completely different in what they're meant to explain, what their methods were, and when they existed. The Preservers are a modern race, not an ancient one; their only confirmed act is transplanting Native American populations that wouldn't have recognizably existed or been endangered until about the early 18th century. If Moore said that a race living four billion years ago was meant to be the same as the Preservers, then he had forgotten way, way too much about what the Preservers were -- or else had fallen into the cavemen-and-dinosaurs fallacy of assuming that everything in the past happened at the same time.

TOS also suggested in "Return to Tomorrow" that Sargon's people were the ancestors of most humanoids, or at least Vulcanoids -- but it was stated clearly that humans evolved independently on Earth, because for once a TV show's writers paid attention to their science advisors on that point.

In my mind, there's a clear division. The First Humanoids are responsible for the pervasive pattern of humanoid life in general, basically every species played by an actor in makeup. Sargon's people are the ancestors of more human-looking aliens like Vulcans, Bajorans, Betazoids, and Deltans. (I actually suggested in one of my novels that they included two distinct species, one humanoid and one Vulcanoid.) And the Preservers are a relatively modern group responsible for transplanting existing cultures to other worlds -- maybe not even a species so much as a nature preservation society, an interstellar Greenpeace sort of thing.
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Old November 22 2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

Christopher...your interpretation of the Preservers is interesting and there may, in fact be a good reason to view them as some sort of interstellar Greenpeace. I can think of at least two other examples of aliens hauling Terrans away for their own purposes. We see it in Voyager's "37's" and Enterprise's "North Star." One might postulate that there was a time in Trek's galactic history where it was common for alien races to simply transplant small numbers of aliens to other planets for their own purposes (rather than conquer the entire world). We also know that some races directly interfered in human development, from the alleged Greek gods down to the Q. Hell, even the Vulcans studied Earth on several occasions.

The Preservers need not have even been a species, but an organization who visited worlds who's people were in danger of contamination from aliens and merely created cultural preserves where they could exist and develop free of alien intervention. Sort of a more proactive version of the Prime Directive. Its worth noting that the Preservers picked a Terran culture that would not have interacted with Apollo's people and would thus be potentially free of any alien influence.
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Old November 22 2012, 05:45 PM   #7
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
The Preservers need not have even been a species, but an organization who visited worlds who's people were in danger of contamination from aliens and merely created cultural preserves where they could exist and develop free of alien intervention.
I certainly think they could've been an organization or an alliance of groups from different species. I also think that the idea of "the Preservers" could just as easily be a historians' construct -- that they've taken what were actually unrelated instances of seeding/abduction by different species at different times and lumped them together under the "Preserver" label, which could explain some of the references in Trek novels and comics to so-called "Preservers" far more ancient than the historically recent ones portrayed in "The Paradise Syndrome."

But protecting them from alien intervention? Seems paradoxical, considering that abducting them and transplanting them on other worlds is pretty dang interventionist in and of itself. Presumably they took Miramanee's ancestors because they saw that the Native Americans were endangered by European diseases and colonization. I also like to think they were responsible for the Roman planet from "Bread and Circuses," although that requires assuming they've been around for a couple of thousand years, and what nation or society maintains the same practices and priorities for that length of time? Although it could've been a separate group of "Preservers" as I suggested above.

(Although, let's face it -- the Preservers' idea of "preserving" the Native Americans was to plop them down on a planet in the middle of an asteroid field and only give them a single manually operated deflector beam to defend themselves with. Which makes them seem pretty damn incompetent to me.)


Its worth noting that the Preservers picked a Terran culture that would not have interacted with Apollo's people and would thus be potentially free of any alien influence.
Again, let's avoid the mistake of conflating the past into a single era. Apollo's people were on Earth circa 2700 BCE, nearly five millennia ago. (Which is problematical in itself because that was 2000 years before the emergence of classical Greek civilization; the writers of "Who Mourns for Adonais" really dropped the ball on the research.) Miramanee's people were taken no earlier than the 17th century CE, no more than four hundred years in our own past (I misspoke before when I said 18th). That's over four millennia intervening between Apollo's people's departure and the Preservers' arrival.
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Old November 22 2012, 06:12 PM   #8
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

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But protecting them from alien intervention? Seems paradoxical, considering that abducting them and transplanting them on other worlds is pretty dang interventionist in and of itself.
I recognize the contradiction, but from a practical standpoint I don't have a problem with it. It fits with the idea that such an organization might have more in common with something like Greenpeace or PETA etc. Such groups often believe that they have altruistic intentions but can be hypocritical when it comes to their own behavior. Hell we've seen the Federation do similar things on Trek itself..."OMG those horrible Klingons are interferring in that world's development," while the cosmos are littered with worlds that the non-interferring Federation has interfered with.
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Old November 22 2012, 06:32 PM   #9
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

I've begun to look at humans as being a fairly common species in the Star Trek Universe, with Terrans being a race of humans that originated from Earth.

You can perhaps call Romulans and Mintakans as "Vulcanian" races perhaps. There are likely quite a few other races that might resemble Vulcans in appearance, but not in demeanor or fashion sense (no bowl haircuts).
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Old November 22 2012, 08:48 PM   #10
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

^I suppose one could argue that telepathic, pointy-eared races like Ocampa and Halanans might be Vulcanoid, even if their ears are rather more elaborate.
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Old November 23 2012, 10:28 AM   #11
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

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(which is, of course, because it wouldn't be practical or humane to subject a live infant to an arduous prosthetic makeup process.
Well...they DID on the borg baby...
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Old November 23 2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

Presumably they took Miramanee's ancestors because they saw that the Native Americans were endangered by European diseases and colonization.
Which doesn't establish them as benevolent. Rather, this could be the classic case of "Air Raid"/"Millenium" where people who are doomed to die anyway are abducted at the last moment for nefarious purposes.

It would certainly be nefarious to place the native Americans on a planet where they will assuredly die if their asteroid deflector fails! But perfectly logical if the purpose was to breed them for slave labor in an (illegal?) asteroid mining operation, much as in "The 37s" and "North Star" but now with the extra twist of this deflector system that drops the incoming asteroids down to the planet in a controlled manner so that they can be mined without further need for complex tools...

TOS also suggested in "Return to Tomorrow" that Sargon's people were the ancestors of most humanoids, or at least Vulcanoids
...Or just the folks responsible for transplanting them to hostile worlds such as Vulcan, a hellhole seemingly incapable of ever evolving humanoids on its own?

Or, alternately, the folks responsible for rescuing the native Vulcans from extinction when their climate changed, by intervening and altering the Vulcan physiology to be desert-compatible - and therefore in practice the originators of the species?

Apollo's people were on Earth circa 2700 BCE, nearly five millennia ago. (Which is problematical in itself because that was 2000 years before the emergence of classical Greek civilization; the writers of "Who Mourns for Adonais" really dropped the ball on the research.)
One could rather argue that Apollo's folks left an impression that after two millennia resulted in the classical Greek civilization. It would be the Platonians who would witness said civilization in operation, much later...

Having Apollo and the other Gods be ancient even to Homer would be a good idea, allowing their images to be perverted somewhat, and their influence be less than literal. Note that Apollo himself only refers to Greek characters who themselves are mythical and ancient: Agamemnon, Hector, Odysseus. Assuming these folks are actual people, they could well date back five millennia "in reality" - possibly even in our reality, considering how vague the dating of the Trojan wars is, and how stories associated with those wars might in fact be legend carried over from even earlier conflicts.

Overall, it would seem that meddling with species that somewhat resemble your own, or remind you of your earlier form of existence, is a common pastime in the Trek galaxy - and involves a succession of meddlings across a timespan of billions of years, with the newly matured "adults" giving a boost to the newly emerged "kids" before fading away, letting the "kids" mature into "adult" meddlers. Whether such a process would diversify or unify the cultures and species is arguable...

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Old November 23 2012, 03:29 PM   #13
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

FreddyE wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
(which is, of course, because it wouldn't be practical or humane to subject a live infant to an arduous prosthetic makeup process.
Well...they DID on the borg baby...
Not really. The Borg infant in "Q Who" just had a sort of "bonnet" slipped on his head and a box on his chest -- more costuming than prosthetics, nothing that would be difficult to apply and uncomfortable to wear the way, say, a full Jem'Hadar makeup would be. And the Borg infant from "Collective" was a puppet.
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Old November 23 2012, 05:36 PM   #14
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

Christopher wrote: View Post
FreddyE wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
(which is, of course, because it wouldn't be practical or humane to subject a live infant to an arduous prosthetic makeup process.
Well...they DID on the borg baby...
Not really. The Borg infant in "Q Who" just had a sort of "bonnet" slipped on his head and a box on his chest -- more costuming than prosthetics, nothing that would be difficult to apply and uncomfortable to wear the way, say, a full Jem'Hadar makeup would be. And the Borg infant from "Collective" was a puppet.
There was a Borg baby? No I think you just imagined that
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Old November 23 2012, 07:41 PM   #15
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Re: Why no comment on the number of human species?

In Qwho, there was a baby in a "drawer" that I think was supposed to be a maturation chamber.
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