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Library: Smurfette's secret

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Author: leaker
Date:Jan 31 2005

Smurfette's secret by Harry Fox

It's bothered me for years ...
... Im talking about the Smurfs, of course. You know  those little blue
people on TV..

Theyre not normal people, are they? I mean, besides being blue and all.
Theres something 
 different about them.
Think about it: There is ONE, count her, ONE female in the whole bunch.
All the rest are male. There is ONE, count him, ONE, adult male in the
whole bunch.

Im not exactly a scientist, but I do have some science training. And you
dont really have to have much to see that, even though they look like
little blue people, theres some kind of profoundly different life cycle
going on there.

And I think Ive figured it out.

Smurfette, as the one female, is obviously the matriarchal link to the
next generation. Papa Smurf, as the one elder male, is obviously the
patriarchal link to the previous generation.

But thats just the beginning. Ask yourself: Why are there NO other elder
males? Why are there NO other females?

Heres how it has to work:

Every generation, there are a lot of males born, but only one female. This
female carries the responsibility of producing the offspring for the next
generation, and she has to do this by mating with one of the males.

Speaking evolutionarily, that male is probably not Papa Smurf. Considering
the tribal nature of the Smurfs, its likely that Papa Smurf is the male 
parent of all of them  just as all the younger male Smurfs are likely his
sons, Smurfette is likely his own daughter. There must be some kind of
evolutionary mechanism for preventing him from mating with Smurfette. It
may be merely that he is too old to compete for her hand.

And I think competition is the key word here. What were looking at, with
a huge number of males, presumably intact, and one female, presumably
fertile, is some sort to natural selection process to ensure that only the
fittest male is allowed to mate with her.

Considering that they have their simple adventures on real, live   
television, and yet never display any prurient interest in each other, I
think their mating behavior is unlikely to come on gradually, as it does  
in adolescent humans. And they appear equally likely  or unlikely, in  
this case  to become the eventual male parent. Happy Smurf is perpetually
in a good mood, for instance, and Handy Smurf is skilled at fixing things,
but there is no Horny Smurf or Big Studly Smurf or Snorty Goat Smurf. The
lot of them are as asexual as apples, and no hint of reproductive matters
is revealed in any of their televised adventures.

No, I think the mating urge is triggered, at some point, suddenly and
simultaneously in every living Smurf.

I imagine it happening like this: Smurfette gradually matures along with
her protective male siblings until, one day, perhaps quite suddenly, she 
becomes ready to mate. Considering standard models of reproduction in the 
natural world, its likely she begins emitting a pheromone that triggers
the mating impulse in the males. That mating impulse is likely paralleled
by aggressive behavior: the males might squabble at first, in their mild
way, but soon give way to more and more aggressive displays. Over the  
course of days or weeks  or perhaps only hours  the pitch of these
displays increases until it finally reaches the level of deadly force.
The males literally fall into murderous combat and begin to kill each
other off.

Finally there is one male left, and he, victorious, mates with Smurfette.
He becomes the new Papa Smurf.

As for the OLD Papa Smurf again, he might be no less susceptible to the
pheromonal trigger, but he would obviously succumb early on to attacks 
from his younger, more virile male offspring.

Yet something mysterious seems to happen to Smurfette too. All the
available evidence indicates she has no part in the doings of that next
generation. What Im guessing, from the numerous clues given by the Smurf
social and biological structure, is that Smurfette dies in the act of
reproduction.

Gravid with eggs or placental offspring, I imagine Smurfette retiring to a
burrow or nest and producing her clutch of next-generation Smurfs, scores 
or perhaps even hundreds of them. The burrow scenario is, I think,
necessary, given the fact of large numbers of dead male Smurfs, which
would be certain to attract carrion eaters from far and wide.

Its immaterial whether the hatchlings crawl over her comatose body and  a
devour her from the outside, or whether they hatch inside her and eat
their way out. Either scenario seems equally plausible, and only further
research could determine the actual method by which Smurfette vanishes   
after the birthing. Regardless, the most likely scenario, given the
available facts, is that the new generation is launched safely and
healthily on its way by using Smurfette as a food source.

Guarded by the vigilant new Papa Smurf, the Smurflings stay underground   
for a while, eating and growing, until they are ready to enter the light  
of day and begin to enjoy the tutelage and guardianship of their new Papa.


There is also certainly room to entertain the possibility of genetic
contributions from other Smurf tribes. This would add an extra element of
outcross vigor to the selection process, contributing valuable genetic
material from outside the home tribe, and thus diminishing the factor of
inbreeding, but the actual mechanism would require extensive study.

Theres considerable room for argument on this basic reproductive
scenario, and there are no doubt various variations that would seem      
plausible. Considering the relative sentience of the Smurfs, there may    
even be some element of conscious choice in the whole thing. Imagine Papa 
Smurf as a sort of proctor, for instance, who tests the young males one at
a time for evolutionarily sound qualities, perhaps biting the testicles
off the ones who fail to make the grade, so that eventually there is only
a very small pool of viable male mates for Smurfette.

And of course, finally, there must be some explanation for the troublesome
detail of Baby Smurf. For myself, I think this question can be simply     
answered by assuming Baby Smurf is not so much a baby as a runt  perhapsa 
cast too far by the explosive hatching of the initial egg mass to get back
in time to gulp a few bloody mouthfuls of Smurfettes nutritious body. .


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