Jun. 30th, 2008

So, I was watching this old Mickey Mouse cartoon, "The Brave Little Taylor," and a thought occurred to me as the giant in the film sat on a house: Why isn't there record of people complaining about giant scat as a by-product of having giants as a pest species?

I'll give you a moment to reflect on this.

...

Still with me? Then here goes:

Just as not all coyotes will go after a flock of sheep, it may be that not all giants will ravage a town. (That could be a whole article on its own - the evolution of behavior in giants and its implication for species survival.) Giants and humans would be in direct conflict for the resource of space. Giants, being a large, humanoid species, would have to be a K-selected species (long-living, slow-growing, low reproduction rate) because the carrying capacity of any earth-like planet would be highly limited for a creature that size. So there would be few giants around, but a very large territory for each family group if social or a slightly smaller one for each if highly territorial. Now, assuming you're living in a lucky village that borders the territory of a giant or giants that *don't* harass you, you'll still have to deal with the issues of giant waste where human and giant territory overlap.

Think about it - assuming a giant has a similar metabolism to humans (and that's a HUGE assumption), the amount of waste produced would be proportional. Yeah, that's a pretty big problem. Chances are, giants being "warm-blooded" (another assumption based on visual physiology), their proportional metabolism would be even higher than your average humans - it would take more energy consumed per pound of body mass for a giant to maintain a moderately active lifestyle than it would take a human to maintain a similarly active lifestyle. All of this is contingent on the popular vision of giants being much larger than a thatched-roof house - big enough to sit on one with ease.

Anyway, back to waste pollution. If giants are of human intelligence, they might have knowledge to build a latrine, outhouse, or other such convenience. However, if it was anywhere near the town there'd be air pollution. (I won't give details or examples. I trust your own vivid imagination.)

...

This is a thin outline of a larger idea (no really, I have LOTS to say on this and related subjects in a fairly ecology-geeky way). I'm thinking of really fleshing this out, and perhaps expounding on other possible mythological, fantastical, and legendary pest species. (When you can't find a job directly related to your degree, you can always make up a hobby that does.) I'd like to get some actual sources, cite them, and make a real go of it. I don't need another project, but this one would be fun to pick up and put down on occasion.

Any suggestions on resources or places to start my research? Suggestions/requests for future articles on mythological pests? Any thoughts in general?

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singerinthedark

August 2010

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