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Old 04-09-2002, 11:54 PM   #1
Ibun_Clawarrow
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Question Dwarf Women: The Mystery

The appendix to Return of the King states that no more than 1/3 or so of dwarves were female. Statistically (among humans anyway), the distribution of males to females should always be about fifty-fifty. Even assuming that dwarves have a low fertility rate (as I suspect they do)what could account for such a discrepency in gender population?
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Old 04-10-2002, 05:50 AM   #2
Ahanarion
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Maybe dwarves have a gene that increases the number of males born. Lets say this gene or set of genes triggers the production of a protein unique to dwarves. This protein in the body of adult male dwarve increases the number of Y sperm therefore increasing the number of boys.
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Old 04-10-2002, 06:20 AM   #3
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Do not try to mix hard science with Tolkien fantasy.
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Old 04-10-2002, 06:27 AM   #4
Ibun_Clawarrow
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But wouldn't it be self-defeating to have mostly male dwarves? I mean, its important for all species to reproduce even if that doesn't happen much or the number of offspring is few. I guess its ust another Tolkien mystery.
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Isil was first wrought and made ready, and first rose into the realms of the stars, and was the elder of the new lights, as was Telperion of the Trees. Then for a while the world had moonlight, and many things stirred and woke that had waited long in the sleep of Yavanna. The servants of Morgoth were filled with amazement, but the Elves of the Outer Lands looked up in delight; and even as the Moon rose above the darkness in the West, Fingolfin let blow his silver trumpets and began his march into Middle Earth, and the shadows of his host went long and black before them.
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Old 04-10-2002, 08:20 AM   #5
Ahanarion
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It could just be a accidental mutation.
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Old 04-10-2002, 08:36 AM   #6
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Question

Maybe the male dwarves just have a higher life expectancy?
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Old 04-10-2002, 09:00 AM   #7
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It may also be that females are born as often as males, but do not often live to see adulthood. Hmmmm...a sex linked gene that would be carried by the males and expressed in females (like backwards hemophilia) might eplain it. Or maybe they are like alligators, and external factors decide the sex of the offspring...if their living space had the conditions that favored male births that would explain why they (females) aren't born as often.
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Old 04-10-2002, 09:31 PM   #8
Kalimac
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I don't know, you could probably apply hard science (in the form of basic genetics) to this problem. In fact I remember working a problem on a biology test that was an awful lot like this one [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]. Basically all you have to do is suppose that Dwarves can carry genes that have to do with genetic diseases on one of their sex chromosomes - humans of course can carry such genes on the X chromosome. Say that there's a particular gene out there, A, which helps Dwarves do some fairly vital function, such as being able to implant in the womb (I know there's no one gene out there that could do this, so please don't smack me, scientists - I'm trying to simplify [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]). Suppose that there are also two other versions of this gene, B and C, both of which also have the ability to do this. Almost any combination works fine - A alone, B alone, C alone, A with B, A with C - HOWEVER B and C TOGETHER are a fatal combination (think sort of like mixing type A blood with type B). Since these genes are carried only on the X chromosome, each male will have only one copy, of A, B or C. So there's no way a male Dwarf could get the fatal BC combination. A female, OTOH, will have a - I want to say almost 50% chance, but my mathematical skills are pretty much nonexistent - so I'll just say that a female has a fairly large chance of getting the BC combination and being miscarried.

Just a thought. Any biologists out there, did that make any sense? I hope so [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img].
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Old 04-11-2002, 11:15 AM   #9
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I just read an article in Scientific american about how a certain parasite can only be transmitted in the eggs of the insects it infects. Consequently, if a male embryo is infected from conception with the parasite, the parasite is unable to be passed on. The parasite interferes with the growth of the embryo and makes it female. In some cases the parasite simply kils the male offspring which it infects. If dwarves had a similar parasite which worked the other way round and could only be transmitted in the sperm, this could lead to the gender distortion.
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