How many were the original Dunyain refugees?

  • 40 Replies
  • 12511 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5766
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« on: August 10, 2013, 10:43:51 pm »
How many were the original Dunyain refugees?
tl:dr version: I figure as low as 16, but safely 32 families, which is just 8-16 male/female pairs.

The long version:

I’ve ask this question several times and gotten no answer. I’ve also tried to ask a broader question: What is the minimum number of people it would take to get an increasingly diverse population? Put another way, how can you keep from inbreeding with a finite supply of families?

The issue is that in the beginning, the original Dunyain that show up at Ishual is simply described as a “group” (page 3, English small edition). It always seemed to me that any group, isolated for 2000 years, would need to be fairly large in order to sustain viable offspring for dozens of generations. A “group” that large would probably not have made it through the wild, sranc infested North. Also, the terrified boy (our POV) might have used a much grander word if he saw hundreds of people standing outside his walls. Considering that the Dunyain were not overly popular to begin with, I just had trouble rectifying the situation.

I finally sat down and thought about it for a while and here is what I came up with.
BTW for the rest of this, assume the Dunyain don’t care much for love, or have any taboos about age and sex that would prevent them from having children.

I appologize for my inadequacy, but I couldnt figure out how to add the photos so I've just attached them.

Typically, one tends to think of family trees like this:  see attachment "Ishual Family A" at bottom of post.


The idea is that each color is a different family bloodline. The circles are male, the squares are female. Every family could have multiple children (but shown as just one for simplicity), but it doesn’t really matter. Each time the children retain about half of each parents genetic code, so everything is just cut in half with each generation. At the bottom you see that after a few generations, all the children are all the same: they each are 1/8 parts of each bloodline.

The problem with this is that in just a few generations, all the children are related, and you have to start inbreeding them. With a setup like that, you need to double the original number of starting “families”, or in this case colors, every time you want to add another generation. After 10 generations you would need an original host of 512 separate bloodlines, or 1000+ parents. Way to many to be wondering around the woods running from the No-God. Even if they did, and they managed to make each generation a full 30 years apart, you’d only get 300 years before everyone was related. Maybe they would all be 1/512 parts related, I have no clue how that would affect things. I’m sure given 1700 years of breeding together fully related children you would eventually end up with a bunch of terrible genetic disorders.

I then decided to look at it a different way. My new goal was to see how many generations I could go without breeding together people that where related at all. If you could keep introducing a new line into the combined lines, you could get wide variance with a small population.

This is what happens:  see attachment "Ishual Family Spiral"



Here you can see the same kind of thing as described above, but represented differently. As you can see, the child still has 1/2 of each parent, but since one of the parents is a totally unique line, the new genes are about 1/2, and all the other lines half as well. The fractions show the total amount of genetic space that each bloodline exists within the person.
I thought this was interesting because after about 6 generations the original parent bloodline, 1+F, is down to only 1/32. If you consider that humans have 23 chromosome pairs, I thought that this might be enough to consider it a negligible amount of genetic data (that’s probably a crappy assumption but its all I got ok?).

In this scheme, each new bloodline (1-10)  must have been the offspring of the original Dunyain refugees. This causes another problem, because if all those children were born at the same time, even with only 15 years between generations, they would be way to old to breed after about 60 years, or 4 generations of breeding. That only gets you to generation 5, which has an uncomfortable amount of the parent generation’s genes still.

Then I realized that that assumes all the kids were born at the same time and were about the same age. The parents could all have multiple sets of children. The Dunyain women could probably still bare children safely from around 15 years old until they are 40, while the men could keep breeding until they died (I think the oldest human to have a sire a child is somewhere around 95 years old). This means that while there must be about 15 years between each new generation, child could vary in age by 25 years or more.

With all that I came up with this family tree: see attachment "Ishual Family B"



I got to 7 generations with these 8 families before any child was realted to all of the others. Keep in mind that his is only a sample, each could be done in a different order with different parents each time. This makes it possible to have every possible permutation of that final circle: every combinations of colors would be possible to get.
One thing to note is that at generation 6 I stopped breeding the “pure” lines. This is because, at 12-15 years between each generation, those original children would be unlikely to still be alive, but their offspring could still be viable breeding partners.
Once here, it got too complicated for me to draw and harder to visualize. As you can see, the original dark-red/light-red family occupies only 1/64 parts of the whole. I’d say that’s a negligible amount, and you could then breed in a partner who is primarily those two colors (essentially the generation 7’s great great great uncle/aunt). I think that’s viable, since if you say that there are 15 years between generations, it takes 75 years to get to 7, and there are at least 20 years within each generation. This makes a 3xgreat uncle about 60 (still viable partner if it’s a male… maybe).
This setup takes 8 bloodlines, or 16 parents.

If you don’t like that, or still think that 1/64 is too similar to breed with someone who is 50/50 that genetic material, you can double the whole thing with another 8 bloodlines. This doubles your total parents to 32, and gets you 1 additional generation if you combine the two multi color bloodlines, and it makes the children 1/128 parts of the original 4 parent’s bloodlines.

I think this at least shows that you can get some extreme variation with just a small starting pool of genetic data of sufficiently different parents. None of this accounts for dominant/recessive traits, or cross-linking of chromosomes, or mutation, which would increase diversity and (probably) decrease the amount of time you would need to start breeding with an ancestor. Note that any debilitating genetic disorder would have been removed via the Dunyain’s Thousand Thousand halls (their version of accelerated natural selections and/or eugenics). Even diseases that are dominant should be able to be weeded out that way if the affected children die in the Halls before they breed. Again, I think that would further decrease the real number of generations required.

Anyway, that was long winded and I probably forgot some things that I assumed, or left out a certain bit of reasoning that makes none of it make sense. Oh well. What do you think? Possible? Stupid? Huge waste of time? Yeah probably, but it was fun.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 10:26:33 pm by Wilshire »
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5766
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 09:44:24 pm »
Found this somewhat interesting link that supports some of what I was saying, though mostly tangentially.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder_effect

Basically a small subset of a population that goes and isolates itself can end up being extraordinarily different than the parent population after a period of time.

Interesting to note:
1) Rare genes tend to two extremes, either they die out quickly or they become much more prevalent.
       If you consider that perception of the onta is kind of a genetic trait (after all, how could the Inchoroi developed this if it where not tied to genetics?), then you can say that most of the Dunyain could have been schoolmen. We know that there are only a few Few, and that both the original Dunyain that we know of were of the Few. Clearly the trait didn't die out, so maybe this ability was bred into all of them.

2) Polydactyly (extra toes, etc) was specifically mentioned in the wiki page as being more common in Amish groups because they have "grown from a very few founders, have not recruited newcomers, and tend to marry within the community". Reminded me of Esmi.

3)Isolated populations tend to speciate if separated for long periods of time. I think its likely that the Dunyain have trouble breeding with normal humans because they are nearly a different species (or the whole nonman thing, but thats a story for a different time).
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Madness

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Conversational Batman
  • Posts: 5224
  • Strength on the Journey - Journey Well
    • View Profile
    • The Second Apocalypse
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 02:20:09 pm »
I have family in town (my Mom, who I see once a year, and my nephew, who I just spent a month and a half with recently living at my sister's, but who has never visited me while I've been in school). I've found myself reading the forum regularly on the smartphone but unable to partake in any meaning capacity.

Excuses for engagement aside, this is awesome work, Wilshire. I will give it an indepth session in a few days, after my life regains its habitual dimensions.
The Existential Scream
Weaponizing the Warrior Pose - Declare War Inwardly
carnificibus: multus sanguis fluit
Die Better
The Theory-Killer

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5766
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 03:12:59 pm »
Thanks  ;) i don't know how well this fits into reality, but I didn't have internet or cable at my house for a week, so on the fifth day I spent several hours thinking about this and decided to write it down.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

locke

  • *
  • The Afflicted Few
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Posts: 648
    • View Profile
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 06:45:01 pm »
I figured it was around two hundred refugees, and in contemporary times the overall community is around 2000.  They have to have some way of providing food, working metal, etc, if the contemporary population is only limited to a few hundred there is not enough to sustain all the things Ishual is supposed to have.

The Merchant Prince series by Charles Stross outlines a complex genetic 'braiding' of bloodlines that allows them to breed for their ability without inbreeding, I figured the Dunyain would have something a few orders of magnitude more complex than that.

There's also the possibility that the Dunyain have developed their own form of Tekne, and have 'axlotl tanks' that allow them to clone people.

Quote
A trail had been scuffed across the hide of ancient dust—and by someone, Kellhus realized, who possessed a stride and gait identical to his own. Following it, he pressed deeper into the derelict mansion, knowing that he walked in his father’s very footsteps.
Quote
His father’s voice—so much like his own—swelled to seize all the dead Nonmen spaces.
Quote
“Nayu,” the blind face said in recognition. Kellhus’s voice! Kellhus’s features! When had the son become the father’s mould?

Bakker, R. Scott (2008-09-02). The Thousandfold Thought: The Prince of Nothing, Book Three (Kindle Locations 7545-7546). Overlook TP. Kindle Edition.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5766
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 07:58:54 pm »
Well if you consider any ability at all to preserve sperm/egg that could be kept after the owners death, even for just an extra 1 or 2 generations, there would be little chance of any real inbreeding. Stretched to the very limits, I came up with 5 generations separating potential partners.. If that could be extended to 6 or 7 you would be fine with an extremely small number of original families.

I was more focused on the number of bloodlines/families, rather than total number of refugees, though it is almost the same question. There were likely not many children or elderly in the group, but there could still have been 1-5 members of a family. 5*32=160.

I just don't know how popular the Dunyain cult was, and how sranc infested the north was when they chose to flee. Those original Dunyain were only marginally more gifted than normal people, if any at all, so a fair number of them should have died on their trek through the wilds (Anyone ever played the old Oregon Trail game?). They may or may not have had a destination, and even if they did think they knew where they were going (ishterebinth? some other abandoned city?), they probably took a roundabout way to get there.

I want to say that I feel like 200 is too much, but then again a tiny group is more susceptible to failure due to accident/disease, while a large group can survive some misfortune. If most/all the weapon races were tethered to the No-God farther south, a large group could go through the North unchallenged. Its also likely that the Dunyain cult was comprised of whole families, like your standard religious family, so  a medium-large size group isn't unreasonable.

I'm torn :P




I'm just glad I thought through the  thing and was able to figure out how a small group could keep themselves producing viable offspring for at least a 100 years with only a little bit of creativity. Once you get past 100 years, it gets more complicated, but the Dunyain certainly had the foresight to breed themselves in such a way to preserve themselves for  200-400 years. By that time they should have started becoming smarter/faster/stronger.

I'd say 10-20 generations is enough to see some results, so they may have been able to plan much farther into the future. They are in the mountains after all, and freezing some sperm isnt so high-tech. If they ever discovered how to do that, it would be smooth sailing from then on, they could just always breed with older/uncrossed family lines, and never have to breed together children that had the more complex bloodline mixtures.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5766
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 02:00:48 pm »

The Merchant Prince series by Charles Stross outlines a complex genetic 'braiding' of bloodlines that allows them to breed for their ability without inbreeding, I figured the Dunyain would have something a few orders of magnitude more complex than that.


btw, never heard of it, but sounds interesting. Was it a series worth reading?
One of the other conditions of possibility.

locke

  • *
  • The Afflicted Few
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Posts: 648
    • View Profile
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 05:33:59 pm »
All six books are very pulpy fast reads, entertaining, excellent world building, cool extrapolations of thoughts, but a bit strained at times in its politics and how modernism conflicts with traditionalism, particularly on the role of women and all the loaded sexual dynamics the series explores.

Also, it's really anti-Bush/Cheney, so that's fun.

Madness

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Conversational Batman
  • Posts: 5224
  • Strength on the Journey - Journey Well
    • View Profile
    • The Second Apocalypse
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 03:15:06 pm »
Lol, I figured this must be a pretty frequently asked question in anthropological circles and turns out, it is ;).

From some cursory readings of the literature I'd say you'd need somewhere between 150 - 200 initial population, with almost as much genetic variance as possible, but some hazard as low as 80. This ignores discussion of genetic bottlenecks, where species suffer and recover from near extinction numbers and MVP algorithms (Minimum Viable Population), which suggest needed upwards of thousands of initial population to account for inbreeding and defective or recessive genes.

Some studies cite examples as low as bottleneck numbers (under a 100, basically), though.

I should mention these speculations seem to operate under the assumption of attempted longevity.
The Existential Scream
Weaponizing the Warrior Pose - Declare War Inwardly
carnificibus: multus sanguis fluit
Die Better
The Theory-Killer

Wilshire

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Enshoiya
  • Posts: 5766
  • One of the other conditions of possibility
    • View Profile
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 03:27:41 pm »
But their disadvantage is they aren't super humans with the goal of isolating a population for thousands of years. They also have moral codes and feelings.

If a normal population could go with 150-200, the Dunyain should be able to do it with far less. At least  half  :P

But im no biologist, and im certainly not an anthropologist
One of the other conditions of possibility.

Madness

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Conversational Batman
  • Posts: 5224
  • Strength on the Journey - Journey Well
    • View Profile
    • The Second Apocalypse
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 03:46:30 pm »
Lol, Wilshire, I wouldn't buy the thoughts of an anthropologist or biologist over yours.

But seriously, no one should discount their own thoughts. Genius is a cultural handicap. Just nurture all cognitive function - in yourself and whomever else. The success of genius is often simply not conforming.
The Existential Scream
Weaponizing the Warrior Pose - Declare War Inwardly
carnificibus: multus sanguis fluit
Die Better
The Theory-Killer

The Sharmat

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Horde General
  • Posts: 779
    • View Profile
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2014, 06:17:38 am »
Yeah I think 200 is a very low number, but population genetics isn't my thing. 1000 years is a long time and they'd have a very recursive family tree. I might believe 200 families but not 200 individuals. Even better would be a grand apocalyptic exodus of a few thousand Dunyain, hopefully drawn from a genetically diverse urban population instead of a bunch of iron age villagers that are probably all at least 3rd cousins even before they start inbreeding.

Alia

  • *
  • Kijneta
  • ***
  • Of The Knife
  • Posts: 249
    • View Profile
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2014, 11:06:41 am »
So, I'm not a biologist, as I've already written in another thread. But I happen to know a bit about inbreeding, although in relation to household pets. Namely, I have a few friends who breed pedigree cats and they claim that, when done properly, inbreeding can be quite useful.
First of all, it is useful to actually remove defective genetic stock from the pool. If you have a line of cats that you suspect of carrying defective genes, you breed two closely related cats from that line (mother/son or father/daughter work the best). And if their offspring shows signs of for example musculoskeletal problems, you remove the whole line from your breeding programme.
On the other hand, selective inbreeding is also used to make a desirable feature (like deeply green eyes or rich fur) stronger in the population, so that it does not get lost when new blood is added.
Of course, this can apply to dunyain only if we assume that they have absolutely no sexual taboos and someone keeps track of their selective breeding programme throughout the yeats.
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

Madness

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Conversational Batman
  • Posts: 5224
  • Strength on the Journey - Journey Well
    • View Profile
    • The Second Apocalypse
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2014, 06:58:35 pm »
Even better would be a grand apocalyptic exodus of a few thousand Dunyain, hopefully drawn from a genetically diverse urban population.

Of course, this can apply to dunyain only if we assume that they have absolutely no sexual taboos and someone keeps track of their selective breeding programme throughout the yeats.

Dunyain Nostradamus ;D!
The Existential Scream
Weaponizing the Warrior Pose - Declare War Inwardly
carnificibus: multus sanguis fluit
Die Better
The Theory-Killer

Alia

  • *
  • Kijneta
  • ***
  • Of The Knife
  • Posts: 249
    • View Profile
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2014, 07:00:11 pm »
Dunyain Nostradamus ;D!

Dunyain Bene Gesserit and Kwisatz Haderach?
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake