Have we ever seen subspecies in Trek?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by indolover, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

    Jan 23, 2010
    We've seen races (black and white Vulcans for instance) but have we ever seen subspecies?

    the closest I can think of are the Andorians and Aenar, since I'm not sure if they are races in the strict sense.
  2. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 4, 2003
    The Mintakans may have been a subspecies of Vulcans. Onscreen they were referred to as "proto-Vulcan", but I don't know how that was intended.
  3. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

    Apr 4, 2013
    The Denorios Belt
    I think proto-Vulcan meant they were following a parallel evolutionary path to Vulcans, not really subspecies.

    Would Romulans be considered a subspecies of Vulcans? Or vice-versa? Remans a subspecies of Romulans?
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    During TOS, the make up on the actors portraying Klingons varied from episode to episode. In-unverse this could be explained as races within the basic Klingon species.

    The planet Cheron, had (at least) two. One black/white, the other white/black.

  5. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 4, 2003
    Oooh, good one!

    Of course, the question is which one was the subspecies. And you can't ask Bele and Lokai, because you'll never hear the end of it.
  6. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    Trill have spotty and forehead varieties.
  7. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    I sure as hell don't want to hear those two shouting clich├ęs at each other for another hour!

    In "Balance of Terror," Spock says he thinks it "likely" that the Romulans are "an offshoot of my Vulcan blood."

    According to TMOST:
    (Of course, "race" in Trek is used pretty much interchangeably with "species.")

    I'm sure there's plenty of post-TOS canon/fanon on Romulan origins.
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    The Aenar were actually referred to onscreen as a subspecies.
  9. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 18, 2007
    They're all subspecies of whatever that lady in "The Chase" was
  10. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 15, 2012
    A proto-Founder? :p
  11. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 27, 2006
    Germany, Earth, the Solar System
    What is a sub-species anyway?

    Species is defined as a number of living organisms that can unterbreed ith each other.

    Do you mean by sub-species an off shoot of the population that underwent some evolutionary changes but hasn't diverged so far that interbreeding became impossible?

    Which branch becomes the sub-species in that case? The one with the smaller Population? Or the one that diverged more obviously from the nearest common ancestor? Or the cultural less dominant one?
  12. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Aug 31, 2000
    42 miles west of COVFEFE
    Pretty much, yeah (use of the same actress notwithstanding) - or Preserver. For the most part, it would appear that, with some minor biological divergences like organ placement and skeletal-muscular configuration, most "major" humanoid races can interbreed in the Trek universe. We've seen Vulcan/Human (Spock), Vulcan/Romulan (Saavik), Romulan/Human (Sela), Klingon/Human (K'Ehleyr, Torres), Klingon/Romulan (the myriad kids from "Birthright"), Cardassian/Bajoran (Ziyal and tons of Occupation Children), Betazoid/Human (Troi), etc., etc. and so on.

    While I'm not a biologist, it would definitely seem that all these different-yet-similar races are subspecies of the female humanoid from "The Chase" and are, for the most part, genetically compatible.

    What I find most fascinating (and amusing), is that we see the torture and general ridicule that Spock endured at the hands of his classmates and other members of both Vulcan and Human society throughout his life, yet Sela seems to have been so completely accepted into the Romulan social structure, that she attained a high rank and command of her own, and at a far younger age than Spock did. One could almost think that the Romulans were far more socially and psychologically developed than the Vulcans OR Humans were. I also find it intriguing that they both shunned their Human half quite thoroughly in addition to being treated oppositely by the cultures they embraced. For that matter, while I despise Nemesis as a film, that same acceptance applied in the Reman culture to Shinzon. He didn't even have Reman or Romulan DNA like Sela, yet he was fully accepted by the Remans and feared and respected by the Romulans alike. Based on early Vulcan attitudes towards Humans in Enterprise, I cannot ever imagine seeing any Human child having been fully accepted like that on Vulcan, much less hold any kind of position of authority in their society.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Or perhaps the one that traveled, as opposed to the one that stayed put in the area where it still remains dominant? That'd make the ridgeheaded Romulans a subspecies, and Vulcans the mother species, even if the Mintakan doubletalk suggests the ridges are the "more original" phenotype.

    Ultimately, I guess "subspecies" and "race" and "breed" are interchangeable, but only technically: politics and fashion dictate which is the applicable term at a given time and place.

    Timo Saloniemi
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    No. People keep making that mistake. Yes, the Preservers and the "Chase" humanoids were both meant as excuses for using humanoid aliens, but otherwise they're completely, profoundly different. The First Humanoids existed 4 billion years ago and seeded the primordial soup of uninhabited worlds with DNA programmed to promote the evolution of humanoid life. The Preservers only transplanted existing populations from one planet to another, and their one confirmed act of transplantation was historically quite recent, no earlier than the 17th century judging from the culture of the Native American community in "The Paradise Syndrome" (and from the fact that they wouldn't have needed to transplant Native Americans until they were endangered by European colonization and disease).

    And I'm surprised that nobody ever mixes them up with Sargon's people from "Return to Tomorrow," who were also an excuse for humanoid aliens -- they colonized multiple worlds between 500,000 and 600,000 years ago and may have been the ancestors of many humanoid and Vulcanoid populations (though not humans, according to the episode).

    As I see it, the "Chase" humanoids were responsible for all humanoid forms, including exotic types like Cardassians, Klingons, and Hirogen; Sargon's people are the ancestors of the more human-looking species like Vulcans, Bajorans, Deltans, Betazoids, and Argelians; and the Preservers are only responsible for some of the duplicate cultures like Miramanee's people and perhaps the "Bread and Circuses" Romans. I also think the Preservers may actually be the Vians from "The Empath," since they were doing the exact same thing, transplanting an endangered population to a new homeworld.

    Yes, but it's often been shown to require technological intervention to make it happen. Various tie-ins and Roddenberry's Inside Star Trek record album claimed that Spock's conception and gestation had required artificial intervention, and ENT's Terra Prime duology pretty much canonized that human-Vulcan children wouldn't happen just by accident. And DS9 established that Trill-Klingon hybrid conception would require extensive medical intervention. Although there have been other cases where hybrid offspring have been apparently accidental, like Tora Ziyal and other Cardassian-Bajoran hybrids.

    Doesn't count as interspecies. Romulans only diverged from the Vulcan population about 2000 years earlier, not enough time for speciation. Biologically, they are Vulcan. (Which means that a Romulan-human hybrid like Sela falls into the same category as a Vulcan-human hybrid like Spock.)

    Or maybe she suffered the same persecution but fought her way up through the ranks and earned a high status despite her origins.

    Also, remember, Spock would've been admitted into the Vulcan Science Academy at 18 if he hadn't chosen to rebel against Sarek's wishes and join Starfleet instead. If he'd stayed, he probably would've earned high academic honors and achieved a prominent standing in Vulcan academia, or perhaps followed his father into the diplomatic corps, at a comparatively young age. Not to mention that when he was in Starfleet, he wasn't actively pursuing command rank, preferring to remain a scientist. He only accepted captaincy of the Enterprise once it became an Academy training vessel, so he was basically functioning as a teacher. Sela was far more ambitious, and rather than rebelling against her society, she strove to gain acceptance within it, most likely to compensate for her outcast status by birth.

    Oh, hardly. The Romulan military respected his prowess as a warrior to some degree, yes, but his allies in the coup were just using him as a figurehead, believing they'd be able to control his ambition and ultimately dominate him. It was an alliance for political convenience, but there was plenty of mutual resentment on a personal level.

    Not to mention that he was enslaved by the Romulans for many years and had to fight his way out of the mines. If the Romulans were as racially enlightened as you say, they wouldn't enslave non-Romulans in such hellish conditions, or use them as disposable cannon fodder. Shinzon rising to any kind of status within the Empire was an anomaly due to his exceptional prowess and leadership skills (he was, after all, essentially Jean-Luc Picard). He became what he was despite the institutionalized discrimination against him.
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    ...And with technological intervention, you can breed a human/computer hybrid if you want to. When species start dabbling with such interventions, the very concept of species becomes outdated.

    Unless they came in distinct varieties even before the Romulan departure - namely, ridges vs. smooth foreheads. Still nothing to stand out in a standard starship-level scan, as we learn, but distinct enough to qualify for a case in point in the debate at hand.

    Or, option three, she continues to be treated as manure, and her attaining a military command position is just a further example of her being considered slave breed - much like Shinzon being given a commanding role was. She gets all the impossible assignments, even if the definition of "cannon fodder" in the intelligence circles may be less gory than in the space infantry branch. Holding rank need not equate with being appreciated, respected or even tolerated.

    Timo Saloniemi