The largely unremarkable hairless apes of Sol 3 really are largely unremarkable: the myth of the wandering womb.
Botulin Saxx Institute for Exobiology, Proxima Centauri 4
On his preliminary mapping visit to the third planet in the Sol system, Anthrax H. Thritt1 (233527) noted the predominance of an abundant array of common life-forms, largely unremarkable in all respects except one. The female of a species of hairless-ape2 was said in the local scientific literature of the time to be in possession of a “wandering womb”, an anatomic curiosity unparalleled in space-time.
Authority for this assertion was traceable to a pre-eminent and highly-respected hairless ape scientist-philosopher of about 235900 B.P., by the local name of Plato. This locally famous philosopher of Sol 3 maintained that, unused for a long time, the female’s womb became “indignant” and made its way around the body, inhibiting the body’s “spirits” and causing disease. Thus the hairless-ape word hysteria, denoting a psychological state of instability, derived from their word ustera, meaning “uterus”. Males of a prominent tribal group at the time of Thritt’s expedition, known as Greeks, were of the opinion that females were inevitably unstable because of this anatomic peculiarity specific to their sex.
Unfortunately, due to funding constraints, Thritt was unable to conduct a series of controlled experiments on female hairless apes in order to determine the veracity of Plato’s account. Crediting Sol’s scientist-philosophers with a modicum of competence, he made the assumption that such a locally well-respected figure as Plato was unlikely to have been wrong about so basic a biological fact. Thritt also felt that Plato’s use of a word which transliterated “spirits” was likely to be local shorthand for “complex biochemical processes”.
His account of the expedition was published in what was at the time a relatively obscure exobiological journal, in a small paper simply entitled: “The Largely Unremarkable Hairless Apes of Sol 3 are in fact Remarkable in One Respect”.
Thritt’s now seminal report sparked a revolution in exobiology, and wave of fascination across the wider galaxy, both of which continue unabated to this day. Over the intervening centuries and at latest count, speculation about the wandering wombs on Sol 3 has resulted in the preparation of some 25,396 scientific manuscripts, 954 books, and 78 plays. In addition, wandering wombs have been the subject of an estimated 1,230 conferences, 2.8 x 1013 talk-shows, 8.3 x 1035 popular magazine articles, and an astonishing 5.4 x 1056 personal conversations. In the scientific realm, there are currently no less than eight serious (yet mutually-incompatible) theories by which attempt is made to explain (a) how a species of ape could ever evolve a wandering womb in the first instance, and (b) why that species would want to keep a wandering womb once they had it.
In the meantime, and as far as the authors are aware, it appears that no one has yet had the opportunity (or inclination) to experimentally validate the original report by direct medical examination of the hairless apes of Sol 3. This is indeed surprising, given the now foundational importance of Wandering Womb Dynamics (WWD) to current thinking in exobiology. The aims of this work were therefore to address this oversight by direct examination of a large cohort of female specimens of the hairless ape of Sol 3.
Materials and Methods
Over a period of 17 local years, a total of 50,000 females of the hairless ape were collected from the complete range of geographical areas on Sol 3 over which hairless apes are endemic. Care was taken to ensure that the composition of the cohort accurately represented the larger population from which the sample was drawn, both in terms of age distribution and tribal affiliations. In addition, some 2,500 male specimens were collected as control samples.
Some initial difficulty was encountered in sample collection, since during daylight hours, the hairless apes have a tendency to unexpectedly change their location, meaning that the precise coordinates of an individual as established in the upper stratosphere were frequently incorrect by the time we arrived at ground-level.
After some experimentation, the most satisfactory solution to this problem was found to be to collect specimens at night, directly from their sleeping-quarters, where they were generally to be found in a more quiescent state3. Samples were usually collected from suburban regions of major and minor cities.
After being located, specimens were immobilised using a “Tru-Shot 5000” Immobilizer Ray (Betellax, Inc. Betelgeuse 19) and transported to the waiting laboratory aboard ship using a standard Tractor Beam (Beams-R-Us, Rigel 7). Use of the Immobilizer Ray, though not conventional, was considered to be important in this work, because we wanted to ensure that the womb would remain as it was at the precise time of collection, and would not have the opportunity to further wander. For instance, it was considered possible that onset of biochemical crisis associated with capture might cause the womb to always migrate to a specific position within the body cavity. The Immobilizer Ray was also used on the male specimens, because it was found that otherwise, they had a tendency to babble.
In the laboratory, each specimen was surgically examined in order to determine the precise location of its womb at the time of first capture, and then tagged with a miniature implant (“Locate-that-Alien”, Exogene Implants Inc, Sirius 3) placed within the epidermal skin at the base of the skull. Womb location was recorded against tag serial number. A small proportion of the female specimens were found to have had their wombs removed prior to capture, presumably as a result of primitive medical intervention; these subjects were released untagged, after being shown the DWIP (which see below).
Males were used as control specimens: despite extensive and detailed examination, none were found to have wombs. Once tagged, individuals were released back into their environment in such a way as to ensure minimal disturbance to other members of the species who were not participating in the trial, and who were in any case trying to get some sleep.
After a random interval, in all cases of between 30 and 3,653 days (0.08 to 10.0 years) local time (determined using a random number generator) female specimens were recaptured. They were then re-examined in order to determine whether in fact their wombs had wandered from their original location in the intervening period. About 300 of the male specimens were also recaptured; those examined were still found to be entirely unwombed4.
In 2,336 cases, the original specimens either could not be located, or had died in the intervening period; this brought the total number of our cohort to 47,774 female specimens and 2,390 male controls.
After the second capture, but prior to release, specimens were shown the standard Developing World Information Presentation (DWIP) entitled Caring for your Home Planet. This is in keeping with the normal ethical guidelines governing Interactions with Sentient Fauna (ISF) during expeditions to developing planets.
Results and Discussion
Overall summary results are presented in Table 1.
Disturbingly, no wombs were found to have wandered (Table 1)5
.It would be difficult to over-emphasise the significance of this finding. The results call into question the entire theoretical field of WWD, which itself is now a foundational cornerstone of modern thinking in exobiological evolution. All 47,774 identified wombs in our cohort were decidedly immobile. Moreover, medical opinion was that the wombs were in all cases securely anchored to various other pieces of the internal anatomy, and were highly unlikely to ever have been able to wander in the first place.
COLUMNS(3), DIMENSION(IN), COLWIDTHS(.9625,.6083,E1), HGUTTER(.0550), VGUTTER(.0550), BOX(Z_DOUBLE), HGRID(Z_SINGLE), VGRID(Z_SINGLE), KEEP(OFF)
TABLE TEXT, TABLE TEXT, TABLE TEXT
, Female, Male
N, 47,774, 2,390
Estimated age range (local years), 14-93, 15-78
Greeks, 932, 32
accounted for, 46,889, 0
Wombs found to wander, 0, n.a.
Proportion of wombs which wander, 0, n.a.
Table 1. Summary results of womb dynamics for the cohort of 50164 hairless apes from Sol 3., +, +
The remote possibility that the wandering womb phenomenon was something restricted to Plato’s own tribal group (Greeks) was examined; sifting of the data revealed that 932 of the female specimens were of this tribal affiliation, yet it is clear that none of these wombs showed a detectable tendency to wander (Table 1). After some consideration, an alternative suggestion that wandering womb phenomenon could be something which only occurs on the sub-micron scale was discounted as being overtly silly. The reworking of current exobiologic theory in the absence of WWD will undoubtedly take some time.
It is hoped that the results of this study will in no way detract from the other notable accomplishments of Anthrax H. Thritt, or diminish his status as one of the giants of modern science. In retrospect we see that the degree of authority he afforded the hairless ape Plato was perhaps unwarranted, but this oversight is understandable given the external constraints imposed on the earlier work.
However, it should be noted that the findings of this research also throw doubt on another branch of modern science, which remarkably enough, has also been profoundly influenced by an assertion traceable to same troublesome ape. This is Plato’s recorded account that Sol 3 once had another continent called Atlantis, which at some point in geologic history sunk beneath the planet’s oceans. Perhaps it is also time to examine this report in more detail as well; particularly as it appears to have become inadvertently incorporated at the foundational level into our current understanding of planetary geology.
Intercepted from the sub-ether traffic and translated by Nick D. Kim. Reprinted with permission from the UK Skeptic
It is a pity that this great scientist is celebrated on Sol 3 only for his brief second visit, on account of the prejudicial effect that his intestinal flora (anthrax bacillus) had on the life-expectancy of the hairless apes, who unaccountably favour the use of E.coli for organic digestion.
The so-called hairless apes of Sol 3 do in fact have a small amounts of hair, localised about the head, underarm and pelvic regions; however, in order to avoid confusion, the authors will adhere to the conventional nomenclature introduced by Thritt.
Except when found as pairs in seedy motels.
Curiously, some males appeared to have enjoyed this procedure the second time around.
This sentence gets a paragraph to itself for dramatic effect.