Necronomcion Convention talk – Biology of the Old Ones, Part 25 – Hybridized Deep Ones, Part 2

In the previous article we discussed in detail the concept of hybridization.  This article will also cover hybridization but specifically relative to the Deep Ones.  In The Shadow of Innsmouth HPL was very clear that the Deep Ones could mate with humans to give rise to hybrids.  These hybrids were different than both humans and Deep Ones in that they started out looking human and eventually turned into Deep Ones (see below).

From S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters: A Field Observer’s Handbook of Preternatural Entities (figure is called the Four Stages of Degeneration [for a Deep One]).

What is interesting about the hybridized Deep Ones is that they are not a mix or “blending” of the two species as most hybrids are (e.g. crossing the horse with the donkey, producing the mule).  Instead, the hybridization is a form of “metamorphosis”, where the “larval” stage is human and the mature “adult” stage is the Deep One.

A similar hybridized offspring transmutation was on display in David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly (1986).  In that movie, Seth Brundle invents a transporter device and tries it on himself.  Unknown to him a fly gets into the same “telepod”.  While the transporter was successful, it integrated his genome (entire set of an organism’s genes) with that of the fly’s.  The net result was his transporter became a “gene-splicing machine”.  Initially, Seth looks fine but slowly begins to go through a metamorphosis to eventually become a human-fly hybrid (a Brundle-fly was the term used in the movie).  The stages of this metamorphosis are shown below.

Metamorphosis from human to human-fly hybrid from David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly from 1986 (source: the BlogSpot Voz En Off-7)

Another example of the “integration” of  two sets of genomes from district species is seen in the Alien movies.  While the human / alien (xenomorph) interaction may first appear to be a simple host / parasitoid  or prey / predator relationship, the genetic relationships are far more complex.

Alien Xenomorph (from David Fincher’s Alien 3)

The facehugger implants an embryo into the human, which then hatches and kills the host.  However, it has been noted in all of the Alien and AVP movies (including Prometheus) that the xenomorph does inherit some of the genetic material of its host.  This is why the xenomorph in Alien 3 ran on all fours (since it’s host was an ox or dog depending on what version of the movie you watch) as opposed to the bipedal forms that arise from humans.  So are Deep Ones the product of true hybridization or is there some type of “parasitic” usage of the human genome like the xenomorph?

To achieve such dramatic but gradual metamorphosis, say from a tadpole to a frog, a complex array of genes must be switched “on and off” at keys times and in a specific sequence.  Any disruption (e.g. pollution) in this sequence can result in mutations.  This is one of the reasons why amphibians, frogs in particular, are such effective environmental indicators.  Similar genetic mechanisms must be in effect with hybridized Deep Ones.

With everything that is known about the Deep Ones, there are still a lot of unanswered questions from a biological perspective.  For example, can hybridized Deep Ones reproduce?  Can they reproduce in both their “larval” (human) and adult (Deep One) stages?  If they are fertile, can they only reproduce with other hybrids or can the hybrids also reproduce with humans as well as “pure” Deep Ones.  In addition, is there a distinction (either in phenotype or genotype) between hybrid Deep Ones and pure Deep Ones?  Next time, we will discuss genetic variability in both the human and Deep One genomes and how they interact.  Thank you – Fred

Innsmouth Troublemaker  by Matt Dixon (from The Art of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos; edited by Pat Harrigan and Brian Wood)


4 thoughts on “Necronomcion Convention talk – Biology of the Old Ones, Part 25 – Hybridized Deep Ones, Part 2

  1. Very cool. And very well-explained. My interpretation differs from yours in that I think Deep Ones are derived from extraterrestrial stock originally, perhaps something like another species from Xoth, if you follow that addition to the lore. Starspawn being an intelligent species, Deep Ones perhaps not as developed on their homeworld.
    I keep looking at the environment every”thing” would have had to come from, and seeing parallel developments that to me mean evolving on the same world. Shoggoths could easily have been a sponge analogue, or even a form of reef creature, perhaps a “mid” species themselves, with an eventual development of being sessile.
    You’re looking at a waterworld, with a LOT of vegetable or other carbon dioxide providers…something like the mythical Venus was supposed to be, a virtual greenhouse.
    Anyway, I like the idea of the hybrid…I use that myself, in my fiction. I have a great many hybrids, on the theory of genetic latencies. Those can be activated by certain chemicals or substances at certain times. If the stars are one way, if you’re in *this* location, you become Creature A. Somewhere else, another compound, you become creature B.
    That could also work on a nanotech level without the latency…your more “scientific” races, like the Mi-Go, might well have means to effect such transformation, and certain of the major league critters have that facility as part of their “arsenal”.
    Anyway. I like to combine the science of tomorrow with Lovecraftian concepts. So this stuff is right up my alley.
    Thanks for the brain food.

    1. You bring up some very good points and in an upcoming article I will talk about various hypotheses on the origin of the Deep Ones, which will include your perspective. Personally, I think they are of Terran origin since they can reproduce with humans. I think something of extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional origin would no be able to easily reproduce with humans through known biological mechanisms. For example, the mating between Lavinia Whateley and Yog Sothoth (in the Dunwich Horror) is more extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional but we can discuss that in another article. Thank you for your comments!

      1. The biological mechanism may have some differences. It’s depends on how you feel about panspermia, and whether or not you think certain GOOs or servitor races are able to manipulate DNA or gene plasm.
        I have that ability as “arsenal” in several critters, especially the shape-changers or those who seem to be able to alter their own density and appear as large or small, depending.
        In my cosmology, the double helix is nearly universally shared, having moved outward from the inner planets as time and expansion went on. Xoth is an early world, nearer galactic center and subject to much more stellar radiation than our world in this relatively uncrowded area of space.
        Some sort of “seasoning” by randomly-placed planet rocks (pieces of exploded worlds, moons, asteroids, comets and the like) in the primordial soup happens anyway. Who’s to say that at some point “Andromeda Strain”- like contaminants or dna chains, didn’t fall in with the amino acids? Nobody knows exactly how life began.
        We are, after all, stardust. Made of starstuff.

      2. Excellent stuff! I will be talking about these very ideas in detail in the next article. I do agree that we are all made of star stuff and that in fact the Elder Ones created humans but as HPL states as a mistake or joke. Prokaryotic life forms are very fluid and can easily exchange genetic information among species (horizontal gene transfer). In addition, amino acids can easily be made in the lab. However, once you get to eukaryotic life (animals, plants, fungi, protists) and sex is involved, species are better defined. In that case the more distant two species are genetically related, the more difficult (if impossible) it is for hybridization. Since Deep Ones and humans can mate and produce offspring they must be genetically similar. Can this “sex” is the implied to be the type of sex that is so common in the animal kingdom.

        However, this does not mean alien (from another planet or another dimension) mating or hybridization does not occur. I think a good example of this is The Dunwich Horror. Clearly the creation of Wilber and his twin was an “inter-dimensional” hybridization that does not utilize conventional Terran sex and Darwinian evolution.

        Thanks again and love your comments!

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