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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Story: Lost Causes and Broken Dreams

eng050599
[Sad] [Tragedy/Family] [ Rated M-16]
Disclaimer: This is not a happy story. In fact, it's downright heartrending at times. However, it is a very interesting (and realistic) take on how a desire for interspecies children would be handled in the world of Zootopia. If you want to see the science behind trying to fulfill such a prospect, this story goes through great lengths to show it to you. -Berserker88

Author: eng050599
Description : The Honeywell Genetic Counselling Centre is one of the most advanced research facilities in Zootopia. It was the product of the failed hopes of two of Zootopia's medical pioneers. They were an interspecies couple, who yearned for a child of their own. Genetics is not kind however, and these parings all too often lead to sorrow. This is a story about pain, loss, but maybe hope.
Lost Causes and Broken Dreams

Additional Tags: Baby Fever transcends species lines, and so does heartbreak

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for showcasing the story here. This has been a difficult story to write at times, but it was a topic that I just couldn't get out of my head.

    My background is in molecular biology and genomics, so the implications of interspecies couples in Zootopia had me thinking about the inevitable consequences of these pairings. Between most species, no hybrids are possible, but for those who are at the edge of compatibility, tragedy would be the norm.

    Anyways, I hope that people can enjoy the story, and will be able to learn something in the process. If you have any questions, please send me a PM or comment on FF.net or AO3. I try to reply as quickly as possible. I can't promise to be able to answer everything, but I will try.

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    1. I will have to check that out. I actually did something similar with my story, Fallout Zootopia, in regards to manipulation at the genetic level to create an inter-species child, although it was always one or the other, no hybrids, with some exceptions (such as one species having heightened senses that the other species might have, or fur colors not normally possible with that species), although I did not go much into the details of the actual process of it.

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    2. The Fallout setting would work very well for that kind of genetic manipulation. From the start, it's been almost paradoxically primitive yet SciFi. As I'm playing things as close to reality as I can, wide hybrids like say a rabbit and a fox, aren't possible at the technology level that we've seen from the film.

      You'd basically have to completely rearrange one parents chromosomes to match the others. Additonally, you'd need to change many of the promoters and regulatory elements.

      ...pretty well you'd need to artificially create every chromosome. It would be easier. Not possible at any time in the near future for us.

      I've been meaning to start your story for a while. >400K words...damn.

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    3. And that's only up to chapter 61. I got a total of 82 with the last two chapters being 10k words or more each. But yeah, the technology in my world has grown a bit more in it, especially when the war broke out. Wars have the tendency to push out new technoligies and discoveries at an alarming rate.

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    4. The technology to heal and to kill have always advanced together, and wars bring about some of the biggest innovations in both. It's a depressing thought, particularly at this time of year, but it also serves of a reminder of the sacrifices made and the toll that those innovations have required of us.

      In the end notes for Chapter 3 I make mention of the sometimes "tainted" elements of research that can come about. The research performed by Dr. Mengele during the Holocaust is still referred to today, but the price that was paid for that research is unthinkable. To have discarded the work would have been to make those sacrifices meaningless, but the taint will always be there.

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    5. but, if zootopia was realistic, many animals (cough cough bunnies cough cough) would only live for less than 2 DECADES! We could see from the movie that Judy was older than that and she is fairly young. So, I think we could consider that evolution happened, thus, having normal hybrids because animals had their genes adapted to that of other kinds, is a big possibility

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    6. When we look at human evolution and compare it to other primates, along with the archeological evidence from the earlier extinct species, we see that the vast increase in lifespan that exists in modern humans is a very recent development. Back in the paleolithic era, average life expectancy was about 15 years for Homo neandethalensis. Individuals could live for longer, but this was highly rare due to illness, predation, and a generally rough life.

      When we look at the short lived species, one of the key factors is that they generally have a high fecundity (they produce a lot of young), but also face high predation and mortality rates. In a society like Zootopia, the development of sentience and some kind of proto-culture at a much earlier time, say 95Mya would mean that some of this pressure would be alleviated, and average life expectancies would grow.

      Basically, in the current wild, there is a selective advantage for, particularly small mammals, to produce a lot of young quickly and then die off. In a "civilizaed" society, these selective pressures change. Now it would make more sense to produce even more young over a longer lifespan, and as such individual with longer lifespans would become the dominant alleles in the population.

      Over millions of years (which is one sticky point of an evolutionary model such as this, as their various societies were effectively stuck at a paleolithic level of development for a very long time) this would lead to there being a selective advantage for ALL mammals to have increase life expectancies.

      In addition to this, the simple move from a wild environment to a "civilized" one can automatically increase the average life expectancy by 200 percent or more in some instances.

      For example, the life expectancy of a red fox in the wild is 2-4 years. In captivity, they frequently live to 10-12 years.

      Gray squirrels have a mean life expectancy of only 1-2 years, with average life expectancies of about 5-6 years. In captivity, they have lived for up to 20 years!

      Basically, wild life expectancies are attenuated due to the harsher living conditions. The move to civilization would help to alleviate this, but also there would be a significant selective advantage for longer life spans from an evolutionary standpoint.

      On to the topic of hybrids being a possibility, this is still almost impossible to reconcile with the phenotypic variety that we see in the population, and I'm not just referring to the outward appearance. The biological divergence between the various genera is too great for there to have been significant interbreeding between populations, and it's more likely that each individual species would have formed a rather insular tribal existence.

      Good thought process though.

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  2. When when everyone was trying to figure out Nick and Judy's age, the directors stepped in and said that they had evolved enough to be an almost 1:1 age ratio to humans, and that Judy was in her mid twenties and Nick was early thirties. I just can't remember the exact numbers.

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    1. If I remember correctly, Judy was 24 at the start of Her ZPD career (9 years old in the prelogue, and 24 at the academy/Precinct 1. Nick was 32 at the start and probably 33 at the time of the concert.

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