Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Image
    Can't find the appropriate forum for your topic? Post it here!

Moderators: ᴶᵛᵀᴬ, Omphalos, Freakzilla

User avatar
JimmytheT
Posts: 33
Joined: 17 Nov 2011 12:10
Location: Alberta

Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Postby JimmytheT » 18 Nov 2011 14:53

I have been thinking about how much of the biology came to be on Dune: which species would have been introduced to the planet, and which would have evolved natively? I think it is pretty obvious that Sandworms and sandtrout would be native species, however what of a species like Muad'dib (the mouse, not Paul).

I find it hard to believe that a mouse species could have evolved independently on Arrakis (along with many other bird species). I would say that Muad'dib is descended from mice that would have stowed away on ancient vessels that first visited Arrakis in the pre-guild days. Over thousands of years, the mouse would have evolved into the desert specialist described by Stilgar when Paul picks his Fremen name.

I reason this based on the evolutionary path that led to Earth's prehistoric rodents: aquatic fish, then semi-aquatic fish/proto-repitles, small reptiles, then mammalian rodent ancestry etc. I don't see how a mouse species could indepently evolve on Arrakis, given the planet's conditions.

I would say the same for many of the bird species; ancestry introduced before or in the early days of the guild, whose surviving descendents evolved more specialized desert survival traits.

I find it difficult to glean much literary evidence to support the argument either way. Any thougths or rebuttals?
Your life story would not make a good book. Don't even try.
-Fran Lebowitz

User avatar
Freakzilla
Lead Singer and Driver of the Winnebego
Posts: 18160
Joined: 05 Feb 2008 01:27
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Contact:

Re: Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Postby Freakzilla » 18 Nov 2011 15:17

I think we have a very similar topic somewhere, I'm sorry but I don't have time to look for it now but maybe one of our other members can point it out.
Image
Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
~Pink Snowman

User avatar
Omphalos
Inglorious Bastard
Posts: 6628
Joined: 05 Feb 2008 11:07
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California
Contact:

Re: Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Postby Omphalos » 18 Nov 2011 15:18

Its probably in the Children of Dune topics, where Leto reminisces about the sandtrout.

User avatar
A Thing of Eternity
Posts: 6090
Joined: 08 Apr 2008 15:35
Location: Calgary Alberta

Re: Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 18 Nov 2011 17:59

I agree about the mice (all the animals and plants on all the planets in the Dune universe I actually presume to have come from Earth, other than the worms).

But Dune used to be a plenty wet planet, the Sandworms were brought there at some point in history by someone. FH never says who or when.
Image

User avatar
Serkanner
Posts: 2830
Joined: 17 Feb 2008 18:44
Location: Den Haag - The Netherlands

Re: Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Postby Serkanner » 18 Nov 2011 19:56

A Thing of Eternity wrote: the Sandworms were brought there at some point in history by someone. FH never says who or when.
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
and wrote a Dune Novel."

User avatar
SandChigger
KJASF Ground Zero
Posts: 14490
Joined: 08 Feb 2008 22:29
Location: "Whatcha having, shoog? Hurry up and order now, I ain't got all day!"
Contact:

Re: Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Postby SandChigger » 19 Nov 2011 16:47

JimmytheT wrote:I have been thinking about how much of the biology came to be on Dune: which species would have been introduced to the planet, and which would have evolved natively? I think it is pretty obvious that Sandworms and sandtrout would be native species, however what of a species like Muad'dib (the mouse, not Paul).

Check the Terminology and the appendices at the end of Dune... there's a lot of information hidden away there. For the muad'dib, for example, FH writes "the adapted kangaroo mouse of Arrakis"; since the kangaroo mouse is a known Terran species...

Image

"adapted" there obviously means "adapted to life on Arrakis". It's even more explicit in this definition:

KULON: wild ass of Terra's Asiatic steppes adapted for Arrakis.


As Omph mentioned, FH reveals in Children that the sandtrout (and hence the worms and sand plankton, etc) were brought to Arrakis by agents unknown. Sandtrout are basically biosphere assassins: given the proper conditions they'll propagate and "desertify" any planet they are introduced to. So any original Arrakeen lifeforms would have probably been killed off as the sandtrout entrapped the planet's water.

(This is one of those places where FH was either brilliant or just lucked out: we now know that Canopus, Dune's sun, is a massive star and therefore has a lifespan measurable in hundreds of millions, not billions, or years. While it may be possible for such stars to form planetary systems, they don't survive long enough for complex life to arise... at least based on what we know about the history of life on Earth. From this perspective, there wouldn't have been any original Arrakeen life to begin with. Which would remove any ethical considerations to seeding the planet with a virulent lifeform like the sandtrout.)

So while it's safe to say that most of the plants and animals mentioned in the books are ultimately of Terran origin, there are true alien species like the worms, Cholisters (the sea creatures that produce soostones), and Narvi narviium, the ground vine from which shigawire is derived.

There are aliens in Dune... just no sentient ones. ;)

User avatar
JimmytheT
Posts: 33
Joined: 17 Nov 2011 12:10
Location: Alberta

Re: Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Postby JimmytheT » 19 Nov 2011 17:40

Great post, thank you. I have not read the appendices in their entirety in about 15 years, so perhaps its worth going back and reading them again.
Your life story would not make a good book. Don't even try.
-Fran Lebowitz

User avatar
Serkanner
Posts: 2830
Joined: 17 Feb 2008 18:44
Location: Den Haag - The Netherlands

Re: Arrakeen Biology - Introduce/invasive or native?

Postby Serkanner » 19 Nov 2011 17:48

SandChigger wrote:[quote="JimmytheT"
Image

Quoted for cuteness.
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
and wrote a Dune Novel."


Return to “˱”