|Planet of the Apes|
|TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS
Unlocking the Puzzles of the “Planet of the Apes”
Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Apes” is a series of puzzles. Burton is not providing any solutions besides the “hints” at the end of the video. These hints help with some puzzles but not others. Burton may not even care if some plot points are illogical. But he knows that people like puzzles. And like Sudoku, playing “brain games” with this movie can be both fun and addictive.
First, here is my interpretation of the movie’s story and clues:
The movie starts in the year 2029. The space station Oberon is near a planet that looks like Saturn. The crew is training apes skills such as piloting space pods. The trainers are using a variety of ape species that have been “gene-spliced and chromosome-enhanced” (probably with human DNA).
When the Oberon is caught in an electromagnetic storm they send out a probe pod that’s piloted by a chimp named Pericles. When they lose contact with Pericles, astronaut Leo Davidson takes another pod to rescue him. The two pods get sucked up by two different wormholes that send them forward in time. As it turns out they both end up on a planet just like Earth (lucky!), but at different times in the future.
Obviously all time warps are not the same. The storm seems to be a vortex of wormholes where all times exist. The Oberon crew receives “every electronic communication on Earth, from all time”. Whatever time warp a vehicle goes through may depend on the exact nanosecond in which that vehicle exists in time before it goes into the time warp, its size, and its trajectory.
The Oberon space station also gets caught up in a time warp in a different, unstable wormhole. Early in the film they see their own “May Day” message from the future. Oberon may have been temporarily carried forward in time a short distance, then the message carried back again. But then a wormhole sends the Oberon BACK in time (to the same Earth-like planet – Wow!). We learn this later in the film.
One debate is whether this planet is Earth. Probably NOT. Because in several scenes we see it has several moons. But this planet does have Earth-like atmosphere, gravity, vegetation, water, and horses. Horses?? (See Appendix A). It must be in another solar system since no other planet in our solar system will support human life. According to the Oberon’s video log it’s an “unchartered planet”.
[One of Burton’s hints is “Read the book”. In Pierre Boulle’s novel the planet is called Soror, one of four planets orbiting the giant star Bertelguese, 300 light-years from Earth.]
The Oberon lands on the Earth-like planet before the 2 pods. When? It must have been far back enough in time so that the genetically enhanced apes could multiply and evolve to the civilization of big, intelligent apes that Leo encounters. In the book, the ape revolution started “much earlier than ten thousand years ago”.
Although he apes onboard the Oberon weren’t that big or bright when we first saw them, sometime after the crash landing they begin to flex their muscles. The Oberon video log reports that at first the apes are “helpful” (presumably with salvaging useful stuff from the crash), but also they’re “a lot stronger and smarter than we ever imagined”. [Normal adult chimps are 3 to 4 times stronger than an average human; these are “state-of-the-art” apes.] They must have started to realize their power, and they like freedom.
The log then reports that an ape named “Semos” (an anagram of “Moses”) has become the leader of an “out of control” (ape shit?) ape revolution. General Thade’s father (Charlton Heston) says that Semos was the beginning of their bloodline from the “time before time” when “apes were slaves and humans were their masters”.
Now to astronaut Leo. His pod lands next. When? During his time warp trip we see a brief shot of his chronometer going forward from 2045 to 2427 (but we don’t see the complete time span). We know he started in year 2029. At the end of the film he goes back in time to Earth, and during that trip we see a brief shot of his chronometer that starts at year 2686 (but again we don’t see the entire time span). To make the math easy let’s say he arrived at (and left) the “ape planet” in year 2729, which puts him 700 years in the future.
Leo finds a culture of big, intelligent humanoid apes who speak English, act like humans, and hunt English-speaking humans for slaves. The apes must have learned to “ape” human behavior during their earlier evolution. Their government, army, and culture are similar to ancient Rome.
[In the book the apes are scientifically advanced, but not as advanced as their former human masters (presumably from yet another Earth mission further in the future than the Oberon?). There’s no specific mention of genetic enhancement, but the hero speculates that there must have been a “sudden mutation” of apes used in human experiments. The “ceaselessly multiplying” apes used their natural skills at mimicry to copy their scientist masters. At first these apes were servants to humans, but eventually they terrorized the humans into submission and took over the humans’ jobs (a satiric jab at the intelligence needed for human professions). The humans were kept in cages, and the ape army hunted down the humans who escaped to the jungle.]
The adult apes are all human size. Maybe a long-term result of genetic enhancement? Maybe they interbred with gorillas and/or humans? Some of the apes (like Col Attar) look like gorillas, but there weren’t any gorillas on the Oberon (too dangerous to train!). So we have to assume that there were gorillas on the planet. If horses, why not gorillas?
Ari, the female ape who falls in love with Leo, looks like she might have some human blood in her heritage. She kisses Leo and asks him to stay on her planet. Maybe she wants to monkey around?
[In the book the she-ape is named Zira. They are about to “kiss like lovers”, but Zira draws back and says, “Oh, darling, it’s impossible. It’s a shame, but I can’t, I can’t. You are really too unattractive!”]
Heston refers to Leo as “not born of this world”. He’s from the same “cruel” human race that brought “CA-LI-MA” (actually from the “CAution LIve aniMAls” sign on Oberon) and whose “technology is their power”. Heston shows Thade a gun discovered long ago in the ruins of CA-LI-MA. Thade puts 2 and 2 together. He already knows the location of Leo’s pod “with fiery wings” that “fell out of the sky” (he killed the two soldiers to keep its existence/location secret). A whole new level of power, conquest, and revenge (against the hated humans) has become possible for Thade.
Leo escapes to link up with the space station Oberon, which his locator unit indicates is “already here”. He assumes the Oberon arrived about the same time he did, but actually it’s been there LONG before he arrived. Along the way Leo finds and uses (and then loses) a laser gun that looks like the one Thade’s father showed to Thade.
Leo discovers the “forbidden” sacred ruins of Oberon (aka CA-LI-MA). The power and computer systems still work. He views the video log explaining the ape revolution. He also finds another laser gun. He loses the gun during a fight with Thade, who immediately figures out how to use it (He GOES APE over that gun!). Leo traps/imprisons Thade in the computer room behind a bulletproof glass wall.
During the big ape/human battle the chimp Pericles finally drops out of his time warp and lands his pod near Oberon (early in the film a crew member says Pericles is programmed “to come back to Oberon”). The apes mistakenly believe that Pericles is the sacred “creator” Semos returning as prophesied. Since “Semos” is friendly with Leo, Col. Attar immediately declares that humans must be OK. [Side note: Pericles is named after an ancient Greek general and statesman whose accomplishments constituted the basis of European civilization] However, I doubt that age-old slavery and bigotry would die that fast. Look at our history. I bet the majority of apes would still support Thade and the old ways.
Now the BIG puzzle: the ENDING!!!
Leo sees that Pericles’ pod still has “the coordinates of the storm that brought me here”. (If the storm’s not there any longer, presumably the wormholes are?) He jumps in the pod and travels back in time to Earth. Everything in Washington, D.C. is the same, except instead of people he sees big, English-speaking apes! The Lincoln Monument is now the Gen. Thade Monument (dedicated to him for saving the Earth for all apekind).
How on Earth did that happen?!?!
[In the book the main story ends the same way, with the human hero returning to an Earth ruled by civilized apes. The author provides no explanation.]
We don’t know how or why Gen. Thade was set free and allowed to pursue his plan to invade Earth. Who cares? It happened.
Krull told Leo that Thade would never stop trying to hunt him down. Also, you can bet that Thade would love nothing better than to enslave the Earth humans who enslaved Thade’s ancestors (in zoos and monkey schools). His real obsession is to destroy all humans in the universe.
Thade probably heard about Leo’s promise to return, and he wants to mount a preemptive attack.
[In the book the hero promises “I swear it on the heads of the captives in the cages, I shall come back with trump cards in my hand”.]
Thade’s apes somehow arrived on Earth and changed the course of history. But how and when?
First, what we can reasonably presume:
- There could be more pods left on Oberon in a section we never saw. Plus laser guns and other cool advanced technology stuff. (“Technology is their power.”)
- Thade knows that Leo’s original pod is in the lake. He’d have to somehow get human help to retrieve it (apes are afraid to swim).
- Thade can probably learn how to fly a pod either on his own or by watching Pericles. After all, the pods were designed to be flown by trained monkeys, probably with a lot of autopilot functions.
- Before Leo leaves the ape planet, the orangutan slave trader rummages through the pod and slyly pockets some things (information for operating the pod?).
- The Oberon and the pods run on nuclear fuel. Leo says Oberon has enough to “last forever”. So Thade has access to nuclear material/technology. He can probably learn how to handle it and maybe even reproduce it from Oberon’s computer data.
- The apes can study the entire history of mankind stored on Oberon’s computers. Early in the movie the crew received “every electronic communication on Earth, from all time” during the electromagnetic storm. Thade probably figures this out when he’s trapped on Oberon (before he’s freed) with access to a computer and time to kill.
- There is also computer data on genetic enhancement experiments; the apes could learn about their own heritage.
- Oberon’s computer probably contains the coordinates of the electromagnetic storm and of Leo’s home planet.
In order to conquer Earth the apes would have to:
- Master the necessary technology.
- Transport enough of themselves to Earth to establish a base population. It looks like each pod carries one passenger, so they’d have to send at least two pods with one male and one female in order to propagate their species.
- Multiply to a large population capable of conquering and ruling Earth.
In Thade’s lifespan the apes wouldn’t have enough time to do all this. (An Earth chimpanzee’s lifespan is an average of 35 years in the wild and up to 50 years in captivity.) So Thade’s family descendants must have continued his leadership, just as he had carried on from his bloodline dating back to Semos.
How much time did the apes have to get to Earth and take over before Leo returned? Answer: About 600 years! Remember, during Leo’s trip back (in time and space) to Earth we see a brief shot of his chronometer going from 2686 to 2168 (but we don’t see the entire time span). Assuming he leaves the ape planet in year 2730 and arrives on Earth in 2130, his trip took 600 years in real time.
One important point to remember is that when Leo crash lands in the National Mall, it looks the way it did in the 20th Century, except for the altered Lincoln Monument (the actual monument was completed in 1922). The police motorcycles are labeled DCMP (District of Columbia Metropolitan Police). So the apes took over Washington, D.C. some time in this modern period of our history (architecture, vehicles, helicopters, clothes, cameras, etc.).
There are many possible scenarios of what could have happened in those 600 years, but here is my speculation. It’s based on working backwards from 2130. Of course the dates are illustrative, not exact.
- (100 years) The apes figure out space travel and time travel in 100 years. Just think how fast we progressed in the last half of the 20th Century. Based on the movie’s version of Earth history, the U.S. will have mastered advanced manned interplanetary missions by year 2029 (which is 71 years since the inception of NASA in 1958). Remember that the apes start out with the added advantage of access to highly advanced 2029-era technology from Earth. They also build advanced weaponry.
[In the book, at the time when the hero is on the ape planet, the apes understand
time travel and are experimenting with orbiting space vehicles (using humans as
guinea pigs). At the beginning and end of the book is a framing story in which
an ape couple is on vacation on an advanced interplanetary spacecraft.]
- (Another 300 years, 1630-1930. Total 400 years) They start time-travel to Earth, first arriving circa year 1630, with as many pods as they could find, repair, or build. Ideally they land safely where they want to. Pericles managed to do so (even though Leo has a bad habit of always crash landing). We’ll fantasize that 100 apes arrive. They start establishing themselves with a male/female force (militarily and scientifically trained) near the jungles of Africa, the original home of their ancestors. In this place and time the humans aren’t overly numerous, and they have only primitive weapons to resist the ape invaders. There’s also plenty of food. [Great apes are mostly vegetarians, but chimps sometimes hunt and eat monkeys, pigs, and antelope.] The humanoid apes could try to mate with the Earth apes, but that would be unlikely (and dangerous with gorillas!). It’s not necessary, either. Southern Africa also has a lot of uranium that can be converted to nuclear fuel if by some miracle the apes had figured out how to do this (unlikely, but maybe?). The apes conquer and rule by fear, using their advanced weapons to intimidate their human slaves into building facilities, mining uranium, and serving on their army. Over the next 300 years they increase their population (reinforced by more space vehicles as they are built back home). They watch human history progress as they’ve seen from the Oberon data. They gradually expand their empire over the world, using their advanced weapons, flying pods, and technology (including nuclear technology/weapons?) to become the ruling class. As they enslave the key areas of human civilization, they’re smart enough to use them for “tech support” and skilled/unskilled labor. In history we see that invaders often assimilate the superior culture from the invaded. For example the ancient Romans incorporated large parts of Greek culture.
How many apes are there at this point? Using a population growth formula (see Appendix D), based only on the first 100 apes (not counting reinforcements that may have arrived), during these 300 years on Earth the humanoid ape population would increase to about 4.45 million.
- (Another 200 years, 1930-2130, total 600 years) They save the best for last -- the United States, Leo’s home country. I’m using 1930 to keep the math simple, but it could be later -- sometime before the U.S. develops an operational atomic bomb. They’d know by their study of human history exactly when and where the U.S. would build these bombs in the 1940s. If they don’t already have atomic bombs, they could attack and take control of the facilities and bombs before we use them. Maybe they intimidate the U.S. to surrender by dropping some bombs (like we did to Japan in 1945).
Whenever they take over, the National Mall looks pretty much like it does now.
They alter the Lincoln Monument to honor Gen. Thade (whose vision it was to free the ape slaves). They take over the infrastructure and don’t bother to
change the names (e.g. DCMP) or maybe even the labor force (the air traffic
controller sounds human).
By 2130 the humanoid ape population is more than 3.27 billion.
[Side note #1: It seems to be a science-fiction convention that a changed event in
history (due to time travel) has a limited effect. Everything evolves the same
except what is directly affected by the changed event. That would help explain
why Washington looks the same.]
[Side note #2: The technology of the apes in Washington does not seem
significantly beyond ours of today. By 2129 we might expect significant
changes. With the rise of apes to power, development seems to have slowed.
Apparently the humanoid apes aren’t quite as innovative as humans. And unlike
humans, they’re not hungry for “new and different” stuff all the time. In the
book Cornelius, an ape scientist, explains that the apes’ reliance on mimicry has
resulted in slowness in original progress. Also, in the book the human hero
returns 700 years in the future, but sees that the aircraft and vehicles are the same
as when he left Earth.]
When Leo arrives back on Earth in 2129 (about 100 years after he left) he gets a nasty surprise. He’s captured and enslaved by an advanced civilization ruled by apes, made possible by the technology Leo left on the ape planet.
General Thade is laughing from his grave!!
Like the 1968 movie, but in a different way, mankind has doomed itself.
Here’s another puzzle: The apes had to land on Earth before Leo in order for Leo to see what he sees. How did the apes beat Leo to Earth? Assume that Leo’s trip took 600 years in real time. If the apes leave their planet in 2830 (100 years after Leo) and arrive on Earth in 1630, they travel 1200 years in real time. Their trip is twice as long as Leo’s in real time!
[First, here’s one interesting side question. By how much time do the apes need to beat Leo to Earth? Answer: a split second. That’s all they need in order to start the chain of events that will lead to what Leo sees.]
To “solve” this puzzle let’s look at how time travel works in the story. Remember that although the Oberon left “real time” after Leo, it crashed on the planet thousands of years before Leo did. Similarly, although Leo left “real time” after Pericles, he arrives on the planet before Pericles. We can conclude that the “speed” of time travel is inversely proportional to the “distance in time” traveled. The Oberon must have traveled much “faster” than Leo because the “distance in time” was much greater. Leo arrived only a few days ahead of Pericles because the “distance in time” was slight. We don’t know how wormholes work, but apparently this is the “logic” of the story. So, if the apes had to travel a greater “distance in time” than Leo, then they would arrive before Leo.
[The book says “...our time diverges perceptibly from time on Earth, the divergence being greater the faster we move”.]
The apes couldn’t plan on arriving at 1630 (or at any predetermined time). That’s just what happened because of the mysterious nature of wormholes.
But now we have a BIGGER puzzle. If Thade’s apes make it to Earth early enough to start the chain of events that will lead to the apes conquering Earth, then the Oberon’s mission won’t occur, eliminating the possibility that Leo and Pericles are even in space at all! This would create an infinity loop, as preventing the existence of Oberon undoes the existence of Thade, which permits the creation of Oberon, which brings Thade back into being, which prevents the existence of Oberon – the cycle repeating indefinitely.
First let’s consider an alternate solution. Some people theorize that the apes come to Earth sometime between 2029 (after the Oberon entered the wormhole) and the time that Leo returns to Earth (2129 in my scenario). That would eliminate the infinity loop, as Oberon’s mission is not disrupted. Furthermore, Thade arrives after mankind has vanished from Earth (because of World War III, a plague, natural global disaster or whatever), leaving the buildings but no people. So Thade wouldn’t have to defeat billions of modern humans. Lucky for him! Otherwise it would be a suicide mission.
But that theory doesn’t work for me. That leaves only 100 years for a few apes to multiply to huge numbers and populate the Earth. My population growth formula shows that if they landed with 100 apes their population would only be about 6000 apes by the time Leo arrives. Even if they landed at Washington, D.C. and limited themselves to that area, that’s not nearly enough apes to run a fully functional modern city (especially with no human slaves to help them). [Current population of Washington, D.C. is about 572,000]
And it would be a huge coincidence for the apes to land in the same place that Leo would land 100 years later. Possible, I guess.
[Side note: Whatever disaster erased mankind would have also erased the few remaining apes on Earth. If the apes weren’t wiped out by the disaster itself, they would die of starvation in zoos and lab cages where Leo says they’re all kept. So there would be no Earth-apes for Thade to save. Bummer!]
That doesn’t work, so let’s try a tweak to my original scenario.
Assuming there is some hypothetical point in this altered history at which the Oberon mission becomes impossible, what would happen if Leo came back before that? If at that point Washington, D.C. looks the way it does, Leo could conceivably see what he sees in the movie. The last year we see on his chronometer is 2168, but the years are zipping by awfully fast, so after the film leaves that shot the chronometer COULD go all the way back to that hypothetical point in time. When would that be? 1930 is the year I suggested the apes could have conquered the United States. That’s before Sputnik in 1957. So my timeline still holds.
But then ..... Leo would be caught in the infinity loop like everybody else. So the cosmic joke is on both Thade and Leo!
But that tweak may not be necessary if you consider some other possibilities.
There’s a science-fiction convention that the person and equipment in a time-traveling vehicle (space vehicle, time machine, DeLoreon car or whatever), as well as the vehicle itself, are unaffected by time during the trip. They don’t age or get younger. Somehow they’re in limbo, isolated from the existence of “real” time outside. So if Leo’s pod is separated from time during the period that Thade changes history, when Leo ends his time-trip he’s just entering a new, different time continuum.
[Side note: One of the apes in the film is named “Limbo”.]
In this different continuum the Oberon mission isn’t necessary. Thade’s apes were “born” in the past and created the history that Leo returns to. Any previous version of history doesn’t exist anymore.
It’s like Leo left one house and returned to a rebuilt house on the same property. The old house doesn’t exist anymore. There’s just the new house. The old house wasn’t necessary for the new house to exist. The former “past” doesn’t exist.
The same concept applies to Thade’s time-traveling apes.
This brings up the nature of time itself. For time-travel to be possible, time has to be relative.
For the Oberon’s passengers the “past” becomes their present.
For Leo the “future” becomes his present, and then the “future” becomes his past.
For Thade’s time-traveling apes the “future” becomes their past. The historical “past” becomes their present.
Only the present exists.
The past doesn’t exist.
The only future that will exist is the future we create.
The “infinity loop” concept is based on logic. Logic isn’t reality. Logic is only a set of rules we apply to reality. We agree to believe in these rules. If we find that reality doesn’t fit the rules, we change the rules.
For a very detailed and complicated analysis of the metaphysics of time travel, go to M. Joseph Young’s website (see Appendix B). All discussions of time travel are theoretical, of course, since there have been no actual scientific experiments so far.
Mr. Young demonstrates an “N-jump”. We believe that cause and effect can’t be interdependent (if A causes B, then B can’t cause A). But in a N-jump it is theoretically possible. “If we have an original cause which has been erased, lost to reality as something that happened and ‘unhappened’, which does not exist in any real sense, then the replacement cause can maintain the loop without a problem..... It would seem that, although there are some places in which a disaster might happen, the limited time travel in Planet of the Apes sets up some benign if complicated interlocking N-jumps.”
Our enjoyment of science fiction requires a suspension of belief, a leap of faith. We have to believe that something COULD happen that we don’t know could happen. Time travel is a concept dating back to the H.G. Wells novel “The Time Machine”. A lot of ideas imagined in science fiction have actually become reality, usually inspired by those ideas. (See Appendix C)
Odds are that Tim Burton didn’t think much about all this. I suspect he just wanted a cool surprise ending (different than the 1968 version or it wouldn’t be a surprise). But Burton’s movie is a valid thought-provoking “work of art” if a nonsensical ending does not ruin it. People instinctively want to believe that somehow the dots connect. People want to “save” this “work of art” by making sense of it. A worthy effort? That’s for you to decide.
Bottom line: Whether he intended to or not, Tim Burton has inspired a lot of people to think and to have some fun while exercising their brain cells. And hopefully that’s a good thing.
APPENDIX A (from internet, by David Swingler, an archaeologist)
“The opinions that it is impossible for life forms identical to Earth to have evolved on any other planet is a common and mistaken assumption.
Study of our Earth’s life record shows that actually variation
of form is very limited, and that natural forces in this material physics
absolutely favor certain organism mechanics. As we study the harmonic
behavior of sub-atomic particles and atoms, molecules and compounds in
their formations - physics and chemistry - we find that patterns repeat,
due to physical tendencies inherent in the physics of this matter made of
energy as it is across the universe. We know that the same elements exist
universally, as well as many of the compounds, as we have been able to
identify. In fact, little new has been discovered to exist in physics, due
to this natural tendency for sub-atomic particles to resonate, combine and
form units and structures as they do, from atoms to suns to galaxies to
planets to rocks and minerals. This being true, it should be no
surprise that as life forms it will follow quite similar patterns and
produce quite similar organisms due to the same influences of chemistry,
physics, gravity, etc. The unique solvent H2O - Water - is the only
compound in the universe that allows for intelligent life with mobility
and mechanical capability to evolve, using captured solar energy through
organic mechanisms and chemical compound storages for fuel. The geological
life history we find on this planet evidences that the form of 4 limbs
with specific functions front and back, with appropriately distributed
muscles, has been the driving natural default design overall. Nature
favors this design rigorously. While species on our planet have been
numerous, and the possibilities of species varieties within this genetics
is far from exhausted, repetition seems to be the natural order. With the
same gravitational and chemical conditions existing on any given planet in
the cosmos, similar evolution of organisms following natural trends is actually an
So, the Planet of the Apes is a developing planet, and it has a full range of
fauna, including horses.”
Go to website http://mjyoung.net/time/index
“Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies”
Discusses theories including Fixed Time Theory, Parallel Dimensions Theory, Infinity Loops, Sawtooth Snaps, and N-Loops. Be prepared to have your mind boggled!!
If we analyze all this TOO MUCH we’ll never answer all the questions.
It’s science-FICTION, folks!
That said, here are some comments about the whole time travel idea.
Wormholes are a theory that Cal Tech physicists came up with to support a sci-fi novel by Carl Sagan.
Here’s what NASA (www.NASA.org) says about wormholes:
“Just when you thought it was confusing enough, those physicists had to come up with wormholes. Here’s the premise behind a ‘wormhole’. Although Special Relativity forbids objects to move faster than light within spacetime, it is known that spacetime itself can be warped and distorted. It takes an enormous amount of matter or energy to create such distortions, but distortions are possible, theoretically. To use an analogy: even if there were a speed limit to how fast a pencil could move across a piece of paper, the motion or changes to the paper is a separate issue. In the case of the wormhole, a shortcut is made by warping space (folding the paper) to connect two points that used to be separated. These theories are too new to have either been discounted or proven viable. And, yes, wormholes do invite the old time travel paradox problems again.
Here’s one way to build one: First, collect a whole bunch of super-dense matter, such as matter from a neutron star. How much?- well enough to construct a ring the size of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Then build another ring where you want the other end of your wormhole. Next, just charge ‘em up to some incredible voltage, and spin them up to near the speed of light -- both of them.”
We have to assume that the electromagnetic storm created all the wormholes in the movie. And beyond that we have to accept the “logic” of the story on things like:
- Leo could “return” through a wormhole that would spit him out close to the space/time he left
- The apes could find a wormhole and travel through time to Earth
Some people may not agree with my theory about taking it Leo 600 years in “real time” to return to Earth. But, hey, it’s the most logical solution to me. And there are no hard and fast rules.
If you want to look at an amazing variety of opinions and theories (some of them from real scientists who are studying this stuff!!) go to the causality/time travel/wormholes section on
A good one (which includes the Carl Sagan info) is
I based my population growth calculations on these precepts:
- To keep it simple I based the humanoid ape data on chimpanzees. Thade looks like a big chimp, and chimps are generally considered to be the smartest of the great apes. Other species must have come later (the ape cops look like gorillas).
- Female chimps in the wild usually have their first babies at age 11 to 12. I used 12.
- Pregnancy lasts about 8 months and usually results in one baby, but sometimes twins.
- Females can give birth every 3 to 5 years. I used 3 years since their mission is to multiply quickly.
- Chimps usually have 4 to 5 babies in a lifetime. I used 4. So if a female had her first baby at age 12, she’d have 4 babies by age 21. 12 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 21.
- Average life span is 35 in the wild and up to 50 in captivity. I used 42. Charlton Heston looks older than that. But apes age faster.
Some interesting facts:
Human population in 2000 was 5.8 billion.
Estimated population in 2050 is 9.5 billion.
In 2200 population will peak at 11 billion.
I created a spreadsheet based on this estimated population growth formula and information that I found on http://www.ldolphin.org/popul.html
Pn = 2 ( Cn-x+1 ) ( Cx - 1 )
( C – 1 )
2C children (C boys and C girls)
x = average number of generations alive
In this formula Pn is the population after n generations beginning with one man and one woman; n is the number of generations---found by dividing the total time period by the number of years per generation.
I adjusted the years based on the apes arriving on Earth at age 12, ready and willing to breed. So their colonization was “born” of horny teenagers.......
How long is a generation? For the apes I assumed mating begins at age 12 and that the 4 children will have been born by age 21. Then the grandchildren will have been born by the time that the parents have lived their allotted span of 42 years. A generation is thus about 21 years.
On my spreadsheet I also calculated numbers based on starting with 10 or 100 people/apes.
The variable x can be thought of as the number of generations that are alive when Pn is evaluated.
C is half the number of children in the family. It is assumed that half the children are female and half are male.
Assume that C = 2 and x = 2, which is equivalent to saying that the average family has 4 children who later have families of their own, and that each set of parents lives to see all their grandchildren.