Why no comment on the number of human species?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Gotham Central, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Because it pretty much has to be. One of the greatest mistakes people make about indigenous cultures is assuming they were always exactly as they were at the time of contact, and that's nonsense. In reality, they're as dynamic and changeable as any culture. Perhaps more so in this case. These were mobile communities, interacting and trading extensively, with people moving from one community to another, communities going from more sedentary to more migratory lifestyle patterns as climate changed and rivers altered course, etc.

    So if Spock was able to recognize the characteristics of specific communities, it stands to reason that those communities were taken from Earth around the time they were first documented by Europeans. Much earlier and they might've been too different to be identifiable -- particularly the Navajo, who were going through quite a lot of development and change during that period.

    There's also the fact that, as I said, North America before European contact was a far more populous and developed continent than it was after European diseases devastated the population. So your premise that the Preservers would've sought a relatively isolated and "primitive" population would only even come close to reality after European settlement.

    Besides, we know what the Preservers' motives were from their own words. It wasn't just speculation that they were rescuing endangered populations -- Spock learned that by translating the text in their obelisk. As he stated it, "They passed through the galaxy rescuing primitive cultures which were in danger of extinction and seeding them, so to speak, where they could live and grow." And the only time in known history when the Navajo, Delaware, and Mahican or Mohegan peoples would've all been in simultaneous danger of extinction was after European colonization. So the only possible time the Preservers could've taken those people from Earth was in the 17th or early 18th century.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    We might do well to remember what such publicly written testaments in Earth history generally tend to be - rather crude attempts at deception, self-boasting and whitewashing...

    The scenario where the Preserves leave their Preservate behind and move on to new good deeds suffers rather significantly from the fact that the Preservate was a deathtrap. Indeed, the message was left on an instrument that was an integral part of the deathtrap, showing the Preserves were fully aware of the threat! Preservation of a culture also appears hopeless when the very survival of the culture depends on its perversion to serve the needs of the instrument left behind. (There'd be nothing left of the mobility of the communities, say.)

    On the other hand, the scenario here differs from the one with the Briori or the Skagarrans in that there is no direct evidence of the evil masters being overthrown - or even of them spending any appreciable time with the abductees. Did the native Americans simply forget faster than the European Americans who for their part kept the memory of Briori and Skag cruelty and demise alive for a comparable length of time?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Overthinking 'R' Us.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Well, sure. But "Paradise Syndrome" was seriously underthought originally. Why does Kirk take it upon himself to stop a single asteroid from what he knows is a steady rain of such rocks, in some distant and unsurveyed system far away from Starfleet's regular patrol areas? Why doesn't he pay attention to the fact that the rain has had no effect on the target world so far? He doesn't even seem to know whether the target world is worth saving, which is why he beams down to have a look. And that look reveals a minuscule community of people whom the starship could easily evacuate in the two months allotted - but no attempt is made to start the evacuation, even though such is standard practice for Kirk, quite regardless of whether the evacuees are cooperative or hostile!

    All of which could have perfectly logical explanations, even when the writer could come up with none... It's not necessary to dismiss "Paradise Syndrome" as the hack job it is, because having unexplained mysteries is actually a positive thing in science fiction!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    After Kirk disappears, why doesn't Spock almost immediately realize that he must be inside the obelisk? Spock stated earlier that he couldn't scan through the alloy into the obelisk, likely the only place on the planet surface he couldn't scan.

    Kirk asked Spock for the "nearest concentration of life forms," suggesting perhaps that there were other concentrations. Life forms in Trek-speak means intelligent beings. If the transplanted populace had been on the planet for multiple centuries (or millenniums) then there would have been more than those in the one nearest community.

    :)
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^As I stated, it's impossible that they'd been there for millennia. The only credible possibility is that they were taken in the 17th or 18th century. This is something too many people overlook: That the Preservers are a group from modern times, not ancient times or prehistory.

    But yes, there would have to be multiple population centers. We're talking about cultures that were at least semi-migratory, and from the look of their dwellings, that hadn't changed in the centuries since their abduction. It's reasonable to expect that they branched out into multiple bands/villages of a size that was sustainable for that kind of subsistence pattern, spread out far enough that each had enough territory to provide necessary resources.

    Also, we know they had fighters, like Salish, so it follows logically that they had rivals. Like their ancestors, they probably had periodic raids or warfare between communities, probably took hostages from rival communities and adopted them into their own to take the place of individuals lost to combat or disease, etc.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The thing is, the village of Miramanee must have been the planetary capital, due to being the only one with an obelisk. But do we actually see any signs of the related interaction with lesser settlements? I mean, there have been repeated signs from the heavens "since the last harvest", yet there aren't concerned envoys from faraway settlements in evidence when the Elders meet.*

    Spock sees e.g. Mohican characteristics in a settlement that must be absolutely static and non-nomadic; so perhaps what he sees does not include major, characteristic things like inter-tribal trade, but rather minor and incidental things such as dressing code?

    Overall, the idea of a single settlement being the mixture of the three cultures listed would speak of a fundamental change in all three cultures, would it not? Unless Spock were seeing traders from two cultures visiting a third, but it doesn't sound like that at all.

    Timo Saloniemi

    * The signs were basically global, involving darkening skies. If those were other asteroids zooming past, were they clean misses - or does this mean the planet has more deflectors elsewhere, implying other settlements that refuse to talk with this one on obelisk issues? Or were the darkenings just artifacts created by the obelisk to summon the Medicine Man to the controls? The issue is incredibly muddled: apparently, the deflector requires manual control, but nobody alive knows how to operate it. Evidently, the obelisk will teach the necessary skills when needed, but this calls for the student to enter the obelisk, and nobody knows enough to do that, either. "Legends" tell of previous asteroid encounters, but as Christopher says, these people have only been here for a couple of centuries - why are their memories so piss-poor?
     
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say there would have to be other deflectors around the planet. While I'm sure the writers didn't think it thru this far at the time, there's no guaranteeing that ONE deflector would be on the right side of the planet to fire the beam in the right direction at the right time.
     
  9. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As far as we can tell in the real world, there is only one human species. Here's something to consider though. Are those advanced scanning device of the 24th century that can so easily differentiate a human from a Vulcan or a Klingon from a Cardassian tell the difference between a native of Beta III and a native of Eminiar VII? That's never specifically stated. In "Caretaker", when the whole crew was on the Array, Kim's tricorder was able to identify "a Vulcan and several humans", although Chakotay's Maquis cell was later established to include at least three Bajorans (one of whom turned out to be a Cardassian) and a Bolian.

    I'm not suggesting something similar to the universe of Stargate where a lot of planets they visit are inhabited by "ancient offshoots" of humans courtesy of the Goa'uld. How big a role the Preservers and the ancient humanoids from "The Chase", though, is certainly worthy of speculation.

    I address a few of these issues in one of my recent blog postings, even reemphasizing that while Star Trek was a very low budget series in the 1960's, at least some "in-universe" explanation was provided for the Klingons of that era first hinted at in "Trials and Tribble-ations" and ironed out even more on ST:Enterprise.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Now that would depend on time window issues we don't know much about. An incoming asteroid might be at deflection range for several weeks, providing a daily window of intercept for an arbitrarily located single deflector.

    Of course, this is another area where the episode drops the ball. How fast did that asteroid move? Many things about it actually suggest relativistic speeds, which supports the idea that the Amerinds were deliberately placed in harm's way, and the harm furthermore was quite "synthetic" in nature.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. st.barthgirl

    st.barthgirl Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Another reason that Babies all look a bit "less" like their alien parents might be explained Biologically: The Birth canal cannot accommodate a bunch of crags and points and horned things... Birth has got to be easy on Mom And Baby. Babies are designed to be mushy and squishy- streamlined and cartilaginous.

    In Species whose Adults are Thorny, Scaly, Horned, or whose Smoothness is Compromised in some other way, the Newly birthed tend to be smooth, regardless (at least in mammalian & marsupial species- and in nurse sharks who give live births, etc). Their Morphology tends to change significantly in Adolescence, Blooming in Early Adulthood.

    Even in Aliens, who are likely to be 'less compatible with Humans than a Chrysanthemum', those capable of producing Hybrids with Humanoids might be inferred to have Female organs and birth canals and development similar to humanoids.... theirs wouldn't have to accommodate all manner of Spiky things during Birth...

    i'm not a Paleontologist {nor have i played one on TV}... but i think i recall that more than a few 'species' of dinosaur were crossed off the score sheet recently- when it was determined that previously identified 'Separate' species were found to be of the 'identical' species. The confusion was based on the fact that their fossils- in varying ages of maturity from neonate to juvenile thru adult- showed features that were absent in the Young, developed in the Old.

    It makes sense to conserve body mass at birth, too... many 'showy' features aren't really necessary physiologically until one must attract a mate, defend one's self, etc- at a time far from birth.

    i think i might have read recently that the laws regarding Infant Actors and Models had been amended... that many make-ups or effects were simply not allowed- and that one of the weird combinations that was permitted to be slathered all over them was cream cheese and jelly- presumably to duplicate childbirth. bizarre.

    the theories of Parallel and Convergent Evolutions might be brought to bear here, as well~ which i think are sound. but i'm not a scientist.

    Just thinkin' out loud...

    i look forward to reading your work, Christopher. I'll check out your website tonight.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  12. st.barthgirl

    st.barthgirl Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    i just today thought of the issue of Hybrid Vigor. i wonder if that's ever been seen in the star trek universe? The principle by which Ligers and Tions and polar/grizzlies are generally larger and more robust than their Parents?And why many mixed breed dogs are healthier than Purebred?
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Spock seems to be exceptionally intelligent, strong, and telepathically adept even compared to other Vulcans.
     
  14. st.barthgirl

    st.barthgirl Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Ummmmm......... So........ i'll just step out of the room for a moment to bang myself on the head.....

    Thanks for completing my thought!
     
  15. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agree completely.
    Short answer, Humans are Horny! The human sex drive had humans proliferating like crazy...
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Umm, I think you misunderstood the question. It wasn't about the abundance of actual Homo sapiens from Earth, but about why so many humanoid aliens happen to look just like humans or nearly so, rather than just like Klingons or just like Cardassians or what-have-you.

    Although, thanks to the wonders of recycled prosthetics, we have seen some alien species that resembled each other.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Is that species or cultures, though? Humans and Halkans resemble each other, but we don't know if these are two separate species or just two populations of humans. Humans and Platonians resemble each other to an equal measure, but there are key differences that might make them two distinct species. Humans and TOS Klingons look alike, too, but are definitely two separate species. And Zephram Cochrane of Alpha Centauri is explicitly human.

    So, are Dopterians and Kobheerians two distinct species, or do some Kobheerians just live on a world called Dopteria (and some others on Talaria)?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But that's the point, there are ALOT of species that are indistinguishable from humans. Even if you eliminate all of those with subtle differences like the Trill or Bajorans, there are species that look exactly like humans but are clearly not from Earth. For instance Lazarus, Apollo, the Fabrini, people of Beta III, Eminiar (we never see anyone from Vendikar), Capella IV, Argelius II (if not for the Empathic thing I would have written this off as an independent former Terran colony), Ekos/Zeon, Omega IV, Sigma Draconis, Sigma Iotia, Scalos, Elas, Gideon, Sarpedion etc...and that's just in TOS.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    A species indistinguishable from humans externally may be a different species. One indistinguishable by a tricorder is not. One wonders how many of those "not from Earth" humans were actually bona fide members of H.sapiens who had just ended up off-Earth for one reason or another.

    In any case, we don't know if humans originated on Earth. Supposedly Earth even in Star Trek has the appropriate fossil track record - but it need not establish the birth of H.sapiens here. Might be just a case of a humanoid species or three emerging here, and then being replaced by an imported sapient species that isn't really related to the three it replaces (but the galaxy-spanning genetic commonality of "The Chase" fame throws the researchers off).

    Or then there's no fossil record to speak of, and Trek paleontologists are just guessing. We do know they are saying that humans come from Earth even in the 24th century, as per VOY "Distant Origin", but that doesn't automatically make them right.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "All Good Things" pretty much puts that to rest since the whole point of the episode was that the anti-time anomaly was large enough in the past to prevent the basic molecules of life from ever bonding on primeval earth. Thus preventing the rise of the human race.
     

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