Should Vulcans be greener?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Gojira, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The "humans smell" thing is from ENT, to showcase how the Vulcans of that era look really deep down on humans. It's a nice touch, I think - complementing how humans comment on Klingon smell, back in TOS already.

    As for Vulcan physiology, it's debatable whether Vulcan is their native planet at all ("Return to Tomorrow"). Vulcan desert survival skills seem akin to human ones (traveling by night, wearing sensible clothing, conserving water), save for that extra eyelid thing that may or may not be a desert survival trait (it's never seen in action when Vulcans in the spinoffs endure harsh sunlight, but OTOH it didn't look like anything much when it did see action in "Operation: Annihilate!", either).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  2. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    ...much to the amusement of all the humans they work with.

    Kor
     
  3. Poltargyst

    Poltargyst Captain Captain

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    I'm now imagining Vulcans as either not perspiring or not perspiring much compared with humans and having far less body odor. Imagine Spock growing up on Vulcan as half-human with a human's greater tendency to perspire and produce body odor. That would no doubt have added to the bullying he endured and perhaps factor into his decision to join Starfleet rather than the Vulcan Science Academy.
     
  4. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    OP, fullblooded Vulcans should have been greener then generally shown, and darker too (show me a desert-evolved race that can pass for caucasian... yeah they were likely cave dwellers, but still... is not like desert dwellers don't try to avoid the sun... still brown after however long of evolution)... but then, if I am right about their skin coloring, Spock should have in fact been the greener one (or, a brighter green vs a full Vulcan being more olive, as the green mixed with the brown of their skin)
     
  5. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^Maybe Sarek's tribe came from the Vulcan version of Antarctica or Northern Europe. They are Vulcan Scandinavians lol
     
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  6. SPCTRE

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

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    speciesist
     
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  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except that Vulcan is pretty much canonically around 40 Eridani (ENT: "Home" put it 16 light-years from Earth, which is 40 Eri's distance, and that's been the main candidate for Vulcan's home star ever since James Blish proposed it in 1967), and 40 Eridani A is a K1 red-orange dwarf, several hundred degrees cooler than the Sun and only 36% as bright. So its ultraviolet output would be considerably weaker than that of Sol. True, 40 Eri B is a white dwarf that gives off most of its radiation in the UV, but it's also extremely tiny and dim, so it probably wouldn't contribute much. So Vulcans wouldn't need as much ultraviolet protection as humans in similar climates.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, we can then adjust all sorts of variables. Orbital radius to match conflicting references to "years", atmospheric protection against whatever UV there is, whatnot.

    The extra eyelid is there in any case. If it even is an eyelid - McCoy says it's got to do with Spock's optical nerves, so perhaps it's an "eyelid" instead, a complex mechanism given a simplifying description?

    Certainly it doesn't look like anything much, so it's unlikely to block visible light. So the need to protect against UV might gain rather strong support there.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. psCargile

    psCargile Captain Captain

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    And then. . . there's Tuvok.
     
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  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think it's absolutely certain that human skin color variations are due to UV exposure, since there are light-skinned and dark-skinned populations found at all latitudes, just about (e.g. the Inuit way up north). Although I've seen the counterargument that UV exposure levels can vary with different conditions at different latitudes, e.g. folks living on the icy tundra get more sun than folks living in forested areas. So it's not an absolutely settled question. It could be that skin color variations are just the result of random population drift or sexual selection, i.e. different populations have different aesthetic preferences that determine who's considered sexy enough to procreate with.
     
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  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In terms of Vulcan procreation, we may have the isolated desert communities and the arranged marriages to thank for the survival of distinct racial types despite supposed millennia of technological ability to span the globe. The isolation and the regulation might even be two sides of the coin, the latter practiced to countermand the effects of the former on the genome.

    With the control established, perhaps different phenotypes are in fact bred for aesthetic purposes?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  12. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You're mixing in and out of world things... what we know in-world is that the forge was hot and bright (to Archer). Also your science seems off... The less UV light a person is adapted to, the less protection against it they have. Hence white peopl need more protection in tropical zones, and black people in fact need more UV than a lot of northern latitudes permit. (read up on Vitamin D deficiency and Solar UV and the atmosphere).

    HAHA... yes...
    [​IMG]

    Is anything absolutely certain? ;-) But this is current medical belief based on scientific data (also check out vitamin d deficiency, solar UV and the Earth's atmosphere).

    Examples of"white races" indigineous to the tropic regions? Or the Black one's from the northern regions? I'm a light/mid brown and I am darker than Inuits I've seen in media, especially when I tan. Yes, there are varying degrees of skin color, within a range given a races indigeous area. But the topics is replete with darker shades of brown than you see in those more northern latitudes, as they have much lighter colors than ever seen in the tropics (barring albino's and the like). Before "modern" massive immigration anyway. I mean, South Africa/Austrlia, right? ;-)
     
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  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course I am, because the world in the show is the creation of people in the real world. The fact that writer Mike Sussman chose to establish in "Home" that Vulcan was 16 light-years from Earth makes it pretty obvious that his intent was to canonize 40 Eri as Vulcan's primary. There are a few other star systems at that approximate distance, but all of them are even dimmer, UV-poorer dwarfs than 40 Eri is.

    Besides, our goal here is to speculate about Vulcan evolution. It makes no sense to say that we should be forbidden from considering ideas not explicitly specified in canon. If the question on the table is "Why are desert-dwelling Vulcans not darker-skinned," then "because their star emits less UV than ours" is a reasonable hypothesis, and it meshes nicely with the fact that 40 Eri emits less UV than Sol. Yes, it's a conjecture, but Star Trek is fiction. Everything about it is a conjecture.

    Besides, there's no reason the star couldn't still appear bright in visible light (assuming the planet was close enough) -- it just has to emit less ultraviolet light. A star's spectrum is a bell curve, brighter in some wavelengths than others. If the peak of the curve is further toward the red end of the spectrum, then less of the curve will be in the UV part of the spectrum. (To illustrate this, here's a graphic comparing the spectra of 40 Eri A and C. It's from this page about the star system.)


    The point is, the less UV light the star gives off, the less protection they need. Yes, humans on Earth need more protection in some zones because our Sun gives off a lot of UV. The whole point here is that Vulcan's star gives off less UV, so there is nowhere on the planet Vulcan where the natives would be exposed to as much UV as humans get in tropical climes. Sure, if you bring a Vulcan to Earth, they'd need a lot of sunblock. (Although there's probably some simple hypospray injection that can do that in the future.) But they evolved on Vulcan, presumably, and it's their evolution that we're talking about. If their native environment did not expose them to a lot of UV, they would've had no evolutionary need to evolve dark skin to defend against it. The most intense UV they would experience anywhere on their own planet would correspond to the milder exposure levels on Earth.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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  14. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Spock did specifically say: "The brightness of the Vulcan sun has caused the development of an inner eyelid, which acts as a shield against high-intensity light."

    I wouldn't put too much stock in McCoy's remark, since he said "optical nerves" rather than the correct term "optic nerves." Perhaps he felt such enormous relief at not having caused Spock to go permanently blind that he momentarily forgot his basic pre-med training.
     
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  15. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Unless he meant to reinvent that section of space to suit him, or... see that's the problem with that in cases like this... that's a bit too specious.

    Besides, our goal here is to speculate about Vulcan evolution. It makes no sense to say that we should be forbidden from considering ideas not explicitly specified in canon. If the question on the table is "Why are desert-dwelling Vulcans not darker-skinned," then "because their star emits less UV than ours" is a reasonable hypothesis, and it meshes nicely with the fact that 40 Eri emits less UV than Sol. Yes, it's a conjecture, but Star Trek is fiction. Everything about it is a conjecture.
    {\QUOTE]

    Yeah, it just seems to convolute things overmuch sometimes, the bigger the assumptions you make.

     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps he just got fed up with the routine where he says "Formally correct accurate specific" and McCoy retorts with "You mean silly Earth analogy?" and Spock has to go "I believe I said so, Doctor"...

    We see no eyelid in action, inner or otherwise. So if it's there, it's operating on a wavelength other than visible, already putting into doubt the accuracy of Spock's statement. Or then establishing that 40 Eri is bright in UV, and bright in comparison with Sol, too, or otherwise the eyelid would kick in back on Earth, too.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again, brightness in visible light and brightness in ultraviolet light are two different matters. The one does not require the other, because the spectrum is a curve rather than a flat line. A hotter star has a higher percentage of its emissions in the UV; a cooler star will have a lower percentage of its emissions in the UV.


    Mike Sussman's production company is named 40 Eridani. Sussman also co-wrote the novel Mirror Universe: Glass Empires -- Age of the Empress (with Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore), in which Vulcan is explicitly stated to be in the 40 Eridani system.


    "Assumption?" This is a star that actually exists in the real universe!

    And how in the hell does it "convolute things?" Question: Why don't Vulcans have darker skin? Answer: Their star gives off less UV than Sol. That is literally the simplest, most obvious possible answer to the question. And it conveniently happens that not only 40 Eri, but every star that's 16 light years from Earth gives off less UV than Sol. Heck, most stars in the galaxy give off less UV than Sol does. Something like 90% of stars are cooler and redder than the Sun. (At least, on the average. M dwarfs would give off a lot of UV in their periodic flares. But the M dwarf 40 Eri C is pretty far away from the A star that Vulcan probably orbits.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The only problem is that this blatantly contradicts the inner eyelid thing. Unless Vulcan's sun is brighter than Earth's sun in the UV band specifically, Spock should be blind basically all the time. Or at least going blind all the time, and then getting better as he starts adjusting to the fact that the extra eyelid kicked in.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  19. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Point of fact: frogs (at least some) have an inner (second) eyelid... a tranparent um... idk membrane, over their eye under their "normal" eye lid. It is fixed, like a whole eye contact, and serves a similar function. I believe some desert dwelling (and other) reptiles have this too
     
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  20. thewanderingjack

    thewanderingjack Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Okay, help me out, show me a spectrum reading of a single lightsource that continually outputs light with high intensity in the UVB and in the red spectrum, but low in between the two. I wanna learn.

    The writer's whole story totally supports your theory in terms of it would maybe likely have been used, I concede that, but doesn't help me if I didn't know that (I didn't, don't care) or are working "in-world"... and I never read any of the books/novels... just canon tv/movies, not because I'm some purist, just not that big a fan in fact.

    The assumption you made was that they wound in fact use the real space ( get it, like real world? ;-) facts about the star.

    The convolution comes when you expect me to accept assumptions you've made based on the writers life etc and how they will be used in the show, however valid they may seem from your perspective (and I do see that)... What do we know? Vulcan's sun is red. it seems awfully close (or big?). Vulcan is hot. Vulcans have inner eyelids. Vulcan' are not (by and large) darkly complected, except some are.
     
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