Sunday, January 29, 2012

Population Dynamics and the Ocampa from Star Trek: Voyager

Based on the oversights of the Star Trek: Voyager writers, the Ocampa shouldn't even exist.

Remember the Ocampa from Star Trek Voyager? Episode 4 of season 2 establishes that Ocampa women are only fertile once (the Elogium) and all instances of Ocampa women bearing children all show them having only one.

Totally illogical.

If each woman has only one child, the population will decrease. In order for a population to sustain its current numbers, each woman must have two children, thus replacing her and the father for the next generation. So for a moment let's assume that the first Ocampas evolved millions of years ago and only had one child for each couple. If you have a group of ten Ocampas (five men and five women), they will produce five children in the next generation. The generation after that would then have between two and three children, depending on whether there were more males than females. Pretty soon, you're left with one Ocampa and nowhere to go. Totally illogical.

Now a more logical way of designing the Ocampa's reproductive system would be for the Elogium to occur two or three or even four times between the ages of three and six years. Or if the writers were especially set on the "one and only chance" approach, they could have written it so that every Ocampa woman has two or even three babies at a time. Armadillos of the genus Dasypus give birth to monozygotic quadruplets every time. That could be an interesting idea for the Ocampans.

The writers have been great at accounting for details of how the ship works, but every once in a while, they need to brush up on their study of population dynamics.

No comments:

Post a Comment