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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

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


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