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Volume 2306

Sailor Barsoom

Caprona.  Kaspak.  Land of evolving people, flying people.  A land where dinosaurs and saber-toothed cats compete with primitive man and where children are rare.  A land of which Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote three thrilling novellas (The Land That Time Forgot, The People That Time Forgot and Out of Time's Abyss), and a land of which Den Valdron has written two very interesting essays. ERBzine 1490

Here Den gives us a possible explanation of how the weird "humans" of Kaspak manage to pull off the whole "up from the beginning" thing.  I recommend it.  Here, I'll wait while those of you who have not yet read it do so.  You may also want to check out: ERBzine 1489

<Jeopardy! theme plays a good many times>

What Den doesn't explain in this whole thing is the Cos-ata-lo and Cos-ata-lu.  These, you will remember from the books, did NOT come up from the beginning, but were born in the old-fashioned mammalian way.  They occur only among the Galu (Ga-lu), and are held to be a special sort of people.  They, and not the possible frog-folk, are sought out by the Weiroo.  Perhaps the other "humans" would simply expel the embryonic Weiroo into the nearest stream.  So what of the Cos-atas?  I have an idea, and will tell it here.

Caspak Map by Robert Barrett from ERB-dom


The Cos-ata-lo and Cos-ata-lu are the only actual humans left on Kaspak.  Rather than the frog-folk lu infiltrating them, as was originally the case, they are now infiltrating the lu.  The various lu have become the dominant humanoid species on Kaspak, and the occasional Cos-atas are all that is left of the original humans.

How would such a thing come about?  Well, part of it might be sexual.  The lu seem to produce a goodly number of eggs, while the humans would only be able to produce one baby at a time, with the occasional set of twins, and even rarer triplets.  But the lu women produce at the least dozens of eggs.

Once there are more lu than humans, the process would accelerate.  After all, if you are a lu, and there are more lu than human, then most of your potential sex partners can accomplish reproduction with you.  However, if you are a human in the same community, then most of your potential sex partners are going to produce NOTHING.  Only one Cos-ata-lo with one Cos-ata-lu can make another human being, and the Cos-atas are getting fewer and farther between.  The predation of the Wieroo only makes things worse for the dwindling humans.


Actually, this gradual shift in the relative human/lu population may have been the final push for Wieroo intelligence.  Think about it: you are a Wieroo, and you need to "impregnate" a human woman.  And she needs to be human, not lu.  Problem is, there are these lu which look exactly like or almost exactly like what you need.  Now, when it was mostly human and very few lu, the odds favored you.  Having the sense to not swoop down on a woman actually in the process of egg-laying would be an advantage, but not by a whole lot.

But as the number of lu increased, and the number of actual humans decreased, being able to better-than-guess who was which became increasingly advantageous.  Smarter Wieroo would leave more smart descendants in the next generation.  And as the ratio of lu to human increased, the ability to figure it out became more important.  Now, had this population shift happened overnight, the Weiroo wouldn't have been able to keep up, and would have had to find another way or go extinct.  But a gradual shift would have allowed a gradual increase in intelligence to be a huge benefit to the Weiroo species.

Of course, when the Galu figured out that the Wieroo targeted Cos-ata-lo exclusively, they would have started being secretive about which among them were Cos-ata-lo (actual humans beings) and which were not (frog-folk lu).  The only way for the Weiroo to deal with that would be to become as smart as those trying to fool them.  However, they'd gotten a good start in the last few thousand generations of gradually shifting lu/human ratios.  In fact, it is stated in Out of Time’s Abyss that the Weiroo occasionally take women who have come up from the beginning.  So they still make occasional mistakes.

Wieroo by Jusko


The eventual result, unfortunately for Cos-atas and Wieroo alike, is the extinction of Cos-atas, and shortly thereafter of no longer able to reproduce Weiroo.  As Wieroo predation on Cos-atas exacerbates the already existing reproductive advantage of the lu, there are fewer and fewer Cos-atas, birthing fewer and fewer babies, and fewer and fewer host mothers for the Wieroo.  This has happened already with the Ho-Lu, Alu, Bo-lu, Sto-lu, Band-lu, and Kro-lu (though we are told that the Weiroo occasionally take Kro-lu women.  So there may be some very rare and very secretive Cos-atas among the Cro-lu).  Only the high intelligence of modern man has allowed the last few remaining Cos-ata-lo and Cos-ata-lu to survive among the Galu, and they are fading fast there.  One might expect that in as little as fifty generations, there will be no true humans left in Kaspak, and that the Wieroo will die out even sooner.

Well, at least this means that Billings and Bradley didn't have sex with amphibians.

ERBzine Web Refs
An Inquiry into an Anomalous Evolutionary History By Den Valdron

ERBzine 1490: THE MYSTERY OF CAPRONA  By Den Valdron 

ERBzine 1413: Meat for the Clergy and the Layman 
Popular Science and The Land That Time Forgot by Phillip R. Burger

ERBzine 2120: CASPAK IN REVIEW by Steve Servello

ERBzine 1522: SOCIOLOGY OF THE WIEROO by Rick Johnson

ERBzine 0766: The Land That Time Forgot
ERB C.H.A.S.E.R Online Bibliography Entry

Land that Time Forgot
The original Tyler story from 1918

People that Time Forgot
The Billings report from that same time

Out of Times Abyss
The continued reports of the Billings and Tyler expedition



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