Biologists Nathaniel J. Dominy and Justin D. Yeakel believed that human race would have been wiped out if Dr. Frankenstein had not rejected his Monster’s proposal. With a mathematical expression, the biologists estimated that the creature would have taken the world in 4,100 years. They however noted that the creature had better survival mechanism after witnessing its flesh regenerate.
In Mary Shelley’s 1818 classic novel, Frankenstein, the creature pledge with his creator; Dr. Frankenstein. The creature convinces Dr. Frankenstein that he only need a mate and will leave for South America. He adds that, he present no competitive threat to humans. Dr. Frankenstein after a heated self-debate, determined that the Monster and his bride can procreate and eventually decimate the human race (Dominy and Yeakel 108). He rejects the Monster’s proposal, which was like signing his own death warrant, but at the same time saving the human race.
The two scientists from Dartmouth University and University of California, Merced illustrates that Mary Shelley’s plot twist foreshadows a critical biological concept long before scientists were interested in it. The concept of “competitive exclusion principle” was not defined until 1930s, it explores the notion that different species living in the same ecological and geographical zone, inevitably will compete for resources such as food and shelter, and the one with better adaptation better of accessing the resources, the competitor will be forced to extinction. The Monster race in a period of 4100 years would have outcompeted the human race owing to their better adaptation (Dominy and Yeakel 108). They would have forced human race into extinction.
Dominy and Yeakel developed a mathematical model to support their claim. Considering various factors, including the 1816 world population, the geographical human race distribution and those of the Monster, and the claim the Monster did not compete humans in food since they ate only acorns and berries, the scientist developed a mathematical framework to predict the worst-case scenario in case the Monster was allowed to breed and share the earth with humans. Based on the model, the worse scenario would have been the proliferation of the Monster race in South Americal in Mary Shelley age (Dominy and Yeakel 108). Understandably, South America had low human population. The key assumption of Dr. Frankenstein, and the authors is that the Monster would necessary mate with his type.
Nevertheless, Shelley’s Frankenstein is developed on a sordid background of a Monster. Dr. Frankenstein’s decision could have been considered selfish, but an ultimately sacrifice for human race: Dr. Frankenstein di not only save humanity from inevitable death through competitive exclusion, but brought into focus the evaluation theory invasive species. While Dr. Frankenstein experiment was nipped on the bud, many species are facing the threat of invasive species. The species coin their strength from what Darwin referred to as Survival for the fittest.
Dominy and Yeakel consider their study as addition to Mary Shelley’s legacy, they successfully demonstrated that science fiction with a lot of accuracy anticipated the key concepts of evolution and ecology. While most scholars have considered Shelly’s views on alchemy, resurrection, and physiology, the genius of the fiction writer lies on the manner she effectively packaged and combined scientific debates and create a unique genre of science fiction.
In conclusion, Dominy and Yeakel provides a strong ground to validate Mary Shelley’s views in her scientific fiction. The authors have proved scientifically that invasive species are harmful to other and can lead to extinction of the less well adapted specie. Based on the analysis, the human race would have been threatened by the Monster population in South America. Shelly became among the first writers to develop biological fiction that would be later accepted by many biologists.
Dominy, Nathaniel, and Yeakel, Justin. Frankenstein and the Horrors of Competitive Exclusion. Biosience Journal, 2017. Vol, 67, No 2.