Researchers Nathaniel Dominy and Justin Yeakel published an interesting study, just in time for Halloween. They argue that Frankenstein offspring might have ended the human race. The study also proves that literature and science can go hand in hand at times.
Nathaniel Dominy is a specialist in evolutionary biology, while his colleague, Justin Yeakel, is an ecologist. They come from the Dartmouth College, and, the University of California, Merced, respectively. They used Frankenstein, Mary Shelly’s famous novel, as a starting point for their research.
The plot of the novel is typical of the Romantic period it was written in, as the story combines fiction and science in a graceful way. The American researchers appreciate the author’s logic of building the romantic and gothic plot and staying true to the laws of science at the same time.
Victor Frankenstein is a scientist who manages to bring his monstrous creation to life. Frankenstein, the monster, is able of having certain emotions, as he feels he is different, that he doesn’t fit in the society, and that his own father rejects him. He also felt lonely, and this is why he asked Victor for a monster female.
This is where the American researchers believe that Mary Shelly made the right decision. A female monster might have led to some sort of Frankenstein offspring. Although this is not how the story goes, the details provided by the novel lead modern day researchers to believe that such creatures might have caused the extinction of the human race.
Dominy and Yeakel admire the reasoning of the author. They explain that she took into consideration evolutionary and ecologic data which would have been revealed after the writing and publishing of the novel. It appeared in 1818, while specific information on evolution was available in the second half of the eighteenth century, starting with Charles Darwin’s discoveries in 1859.
In the recent study, the authors made a calculation showing the limited time of humans on Earth if creatures such as the Frankenstein offspring had been around. According to their calculations, the human race would have disappeared within approximately four thousand years.
The specialists also explain that the author of the novel anticipated correctly theories that were to be established decades or even centuries later. In the book, Frankenstein promises that he and his wife will only eat fruit and not attack humans and their livestock. However, Dr. Victor Frankenstein thinks about the possibility of different species sharing the same habitat and competing for the same ecologic resources.
The study on the alleged Frankenstein offspring was published in BioScience, on October 18.
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