Necronomicon Convention talk on the Biology of the Old Ones, Part 6 – Shoggoth Reproduction

This article will focus on the reproduction of Shoggoths.

A Shoggoth created by the talented artist Joe Broers
A Shoggoth created by the talented artist Joe Broers

Many people think of a Shoggoth as a giant amoeba by their general appearance and the fact that Lovecraft mentioned in At the Mountains of Madness that they reproduce through fission (simple cellular division).  However, just assuming the Shoggoth is a giant amoeba poses a number of problems.  First there is a size limitation posed on cells based on the ratio of surface area to volume of the cell.  In order to efficiently transfer nutrients, oxygen and food in and waste products out, the cell can not become too large.  As the surface area of the cell increases, the volume of the cell increases at a faster rate.  This reduces the efficient transfer of material into and out of the cell.  This is why there are no giant amoebas.  As we mentioned in the previous article, it is hypothesized that the Elder Ones developed multicellular life using the resident microorganisms of Earth as the raw material, which eventually lead to the differentiation of cells into tissues and organs. In addition to the limitations associated with cell size, the reference that the Shoggoths reproduce through fission is a bit more complicated than simple cellular fission.  While Lovecraft cited that Shoggoths reproduce through fission, he also mentioned several other points that are important.

First, Lovecraft mentions several times that the Shoggoths were “bred” by the Elder Ones.  If a Shoggoth behaved like an amoeba it would simply feed, grow and once it attains a certain size, it would reproduce through asexual fission.  However, the term bred means that some other, sexual means of reproduction was involved.

Second, the Elder Ones eventually moved onto the land due to the “difficulty in breeding and managing the Shoggoths..”.  In addition, it appears that the Shoggoths acquired the ability to reproduce through fission, along with a “dangerous degree of accidental intelligence”, which caused problems for the Elder Ones.

Based on these facts, it appears that the Shoggoths were created and could not reproduce on their own.  They needed “something” that the Elder Ones provided to reproduce.  Thus, once the Elder Ones created the Shoggoths, they manipulated and bred them like cattle in their “nether pits” as referenced in the Fungi from Yuggoth.  Such breeding programs were probably developed to ensure that the Elders Ones had control over the Shoggoths, similar to a lake manager using sterile grass carp to control nuisance aquatic plants.

Stocking a lake in PA with sterile grass carp
Stocking a lake in Pennsylvania, US with sterile grass carp

One means of controlling nuisance aquatic plant growth and avoiding the use of aquatic herbicides, is to stock a lake with sterile grass carp.  The carp are made sterile by pressure shocking the fertilized eggs, making them triploid (the vast majority of sexually reproducing animals, plants, fungi and protists are diploid, meaning the organism has two complete sets of chromosomes, one from each parent).  Making the grass carp triploid (three sets of chromosomes) renders them sterile.

Did the Elder Ones have the ability to conduct a reverse process, where they could stimulate the typically sterile Shoggoths to reproduce?  Thus, were the Shoggoths essentially created sterile and when more were needed, were they placed into the breeding pits where the Elder Ones facilitated the production of new Shoggoths?  Is it possible that the…..wait a minute, did that Shoggoth on my kitchen table just move?

The Shoggoth in question
The Shoggoth in question

Let me take care of this “thing”.  Next time I will talk about various forms of reproduction and how the Shoggoth may have acquired the ability to reproduce on their own.

Thank you.  Fred

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