From: "Robert Borski"
Subject: (urth) Shadow Children in the Lupiverse? (attn. Tony Ellis) Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2002 03:14:01 -0500 Hey, Tony: How goes it? I have a question for you relating to the following: While admitting that almost all of the evidence about the Annese having shapeshifting abilities is anecdotal, how do you explain the lack of manual dexterity that all the abos seem to possess--from the shovel test, which the French used to determine who was human and who was faking it, to Victor's poor handwriting? (The latter a notion carried over by Wolfe to his other shapeshifting race, the inhumi of Green. Or are they non-pleiomorphic too?) 1) The Annese never had the ability to begin with. This, however, seems to vitiate your notion that the Annese are human colonists from prehistoric Earth; 2) The Annese had the ability, but lost it, and cannot recover it due to Dollo's Law. Unfortunately, I can think of no evolutionary model which would confer a benefit to any relict population which has lost the ability to use its hands effectively, whereas those who still retained this ability would almost certainly be favored by natural selection. It's why evolved simians rule the world, not cetaceans or pachyderms (to pick two rather large-brained mammalian species); or 3) The Annese were able to copy the _form_ of human hands, but not the _function_, much as a gifted, if perverse, plastic surgeon could sculpt tentacles from human arms or fuse the legs to forge an undine's nether parts, although in neither case, because of nonadaptive skeletal restrictions, innervation, and cerebellar pathways, is it likely such limbs could function in the same way as their true biocounterparts. The last of these, of course, would be my explanation. But perhaps you have an alternate explanation--one more congruent with your theory that the Annese are unable to shapeshift? Just curious, as always. Robert Borski --