Sunday, October 29, 2023

More evidence that Orcs revel in physical pain

NOTE:  This post is related to my exploration of the Fantaspora Hypothesis, a proposed explanation for the existence of similar humanoid species in countless fantasy settings.  The Fantaspora Hypothesis is a proposal that fantasy humanoids originated on our Earth as hominins that coexisted during the Paleolithic Era.  Because the description of humanoid species has been a much-debated point of potential racism in roleplaying games (indeed, they are often called races), and because many (perhaps most) modern humans have DNA indicating a hereditary relationship with actual archaic hominins, I'm afraid there could be stuff that comes across as offensive to some without my even realizing it.  If this is the case, I ask that you please don't assume ill intent, that you let me know, and that you give me a chance to think about it and make corrections as needed.  Thank you!

A Paleolithic Orc family unit

Background:  SCN9A is a gene that has been investigated for its impact on pain sensitivity in humans.  SCN9A encodes a sodium channel, which points to a potential (no pun intended) role in the transmission of nerve impulses.

A few years ago, an Orc variant of the gene (with three specific differences in sequence) was associated with higher pain sensitivity in data from hundreds of thousands of modern humans of British ancestry.

In other words, those of us who have this Orc gene feel more pain.

Find the full paper HERE.

What's new:  Researchers have experimentally connected the presence of the Orc sequence variants with a specific type of pain sensitivity in a set of Latin American Human subjects.  After sensitization with mustard oil, those with the Orc gene had a lower threshold for mechanical pain.

What it all means:  There are a few interesting takeaways from all of this.  One is that, while Orcs apparently evolved in Eurasia, these specific changes in DNA have been maintained most strongly in Humans with Native American ancestry.  Why is this?  Well, the jury's still out.  It does, however, appear that the presence of these genes in modern Humans is the result of mixing of earlier Orc and Human populations, and that they are not simply maintained from the time before Humans and Orcs split evolutionarily.

Orcs may have a higher sensitivity to mechanical pain.  Interestingly, this is the sort of pain that one could imagine would be most common in battle - the pain of being poked with things (vs. pain from heat or pressure).  Why this has occurred is yet to be determined, but the idea that Orcs may charge into battle ready to revel in...and perhaps even be motivated by...the pain that awaits them...well, this isn't too hard to believe, is it?

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