Vampires?

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Vampires?

Postby lorb » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:19 am UTC

Can they work somehow? I do really want to give a shot at creating scientifically sound vampires. I think the main requirements are:
1.) they don't die of old age
2.) they feed on blood
3.) sunlight somehow damages them
4.) vampire-teeth

As for number 1 and 2 i am going for the theory that telomeres are what makes us age and vampires are somehow able to extract fresh telomeres from blood to replace their own ones. I think this can also explain why they prefer human blood. The biochemical processing of the cells could leave the vampires with some kind of HIV-like ailment that makes them hypersinsitive to sunlight. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosensi ... _infection) Number 4 seems easy ... they just evolved those teeth.
Last edited by lorb on Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:20 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby letterX » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:37 am UTC

lorb wrote:somehow able to extract fresh telomeres from blood to replace their own ones

That's... not how telomeres work... And even if they did, red blood cells don't even have a nucleus to begin with!

But since we're in the fictional science forum here, I'll give that a pass.

Anyways, for 2-4, you may want to look at possible connections with the disease porphyria and the origins of vampire legends.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:22 pm UTC

Isn't one of the main requirements for the mythos that ordinary human beings can be converted into vampires? I don't think the physiological elements like fangs and light sensitivity are as important as that. I think "vampire" just requires that they drink blood to stay alive, and so long as they do so, they can stay alive longer than people who aren't vampires. Various other superhuman abilities optional.

I'd go with an endosymbiont, I think, that leeches iron for some reason but also benefits the immune system and regeneration at a cellular level. Just my thought. You could also work in some photosensitivity that way - perhaps the symbiont breaks down under UV, and it's developed the ability to somehow affect the host's psychology to protect itself.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby ikrase » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:43 am UTC

My suggestion is that they might be artificial transhuman creations meant to spread their transhuman kind through the world.

-Sunlight would cause blindness as a consequence of them being meant to live indoors in civilization, and having sensitive, broad-spectrum eyes.

-There is an infectious symbiotic bacterium or virus that is in their saliva so vampire bites infect the victim with the modifying substance. This would cause illness. If a healthy human is bitten, there is a good chance that they will survive the physiological modifications and re-writing of their DNA and will become vampires. They have a primal drive to bite and infect humans.

-The vampires can revert any part of their body to an infantile, unlimited growth stage allowing them to repair all damage in time. Therefore, they do not age. However, there is the problem of mutation over long periods. They must consume a wide spectrum of human blood to provide a broad average of human DNA. This provides a canonical human base genome. Meanwhile, sexual intercourse between vampires is not reproductive, but provides redundant synchronization of the human genome as well as a canonical vampiric extension genome and vampiric symbiote genome. They will have a primal urge to consume human blood and in particular to consume human blood from healthy humans. This both propagates the transhuman vampiric kind and maintains the vampire genome even in the absence of mates.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:30 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:it's developed the ability to somehow affect the host's psychology to protect itself.
This doesn't need to be some specialized development if it's big enough. The sheer amount of foreign proteins released into every part of the host's body upon the symbiont's death would cause plenty of problems, though I suppose they wouldn't typically manifest especially quickly.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby KrO2 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:16 pm UTC

I'm kind of surprised nobody has linked this yet.
Kind of like ikrase said, there's no way this is happening naturally.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby idobox » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:49 pm UTC

I would go for an infectious agent, a bacteria or a bigger parasit, that increases agressivity and metabolism, but at the same time depletes (consumes) some hormone or protein commonly found in blood.
That way, you get strong and fast people with a craving for bllod.

Theyy don't really need light to cause them physical harm. They can just be highly sensitive to strong light, which is an existing conditions, and to other stimuli, like the smell of garlic.
If you really want light to cause them harm, you could have the parasit screw up with pigmentation or repair mechanisms of the skin, making them extremely prone to sunburns.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby Tass » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

idobox wrote:I would go for an infectious agent, a bacteria or a bigger parasit, that increases agressivity and metabolism, but at the same time depletes (consumes) some hormone or protein commonly found in blood.
That way, you get strong and fast people with a craving for bllod.

Theyy don't really need light to cause them physical harm. They can just be highly sensitive to strong light, which is an existing conditions, and to other stimuli, like the smell of garlic.
If you really want light to cause them harm, you could have the parasit screw up with pigmentation or repair mechanisms of the skin, making them extremely prone to sunburns.


Or even make it excrete a substance which has a photochemical reaction when exposed to UV which turns it poisonous. Any skin exposed to too much UV would become severely damaged and in the end could kill the vampire.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby PinkShinyRose » Mon May 26, 2014 8:26 pm UTC

I'm kind of wondering about their dietary preferences: would they prefer diabetics? I mean, wikipedia says the advised carbohydrate intake is 130g/day, they also say that mean blood-glucose in healthy humans is about 1g/l and I just cannot fathom them drinking 130l of blood a day (I consider levels of other carbohydrates negligible in human blood). I think this is a general problem: many of our nutrients are stored and released to the blood when necessary. How would they cope with that? Would they need to drain 40 humans a day? Would they inject glucagon first to at least have a proper amount of glucose and triglycerides?

Their digestive tracts would probably be highly specialised in absorbing nutrients that are relatively rare in blood with a low absorption of the more common nutrients as a trade-off, but even then they cannot absorb more than they eat in the first place.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby elasto » Tue May 27, 2014 7:46 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:I mean, wikipedia says the advised carbohydrate intake is 130g/day, they also say that mean blood-glucose in healthy humans is about 1g/l and I just cannot fathom them drinking 130l of blood a day (I consider levels of other carbohydrates negligible in human blood). I think this is a general problem: many of our nutrients are stored and released to the blood when necessary. How would they cope with that? Would they need to drain 40 humans a day? Would they inject glucagon first to at least have a proper amount of glucose and triglycerides?

Their digestive tracts would probably be highly specialised in absorbing nutrients that are relatively rare in blood with a low absorption of the more common nutrients as a trade-off, but even then they cannot absorb more than they eat in the first place.

Is the folklore that they only consume blood? In the (very limited number of) vampire movies that I've seen they still feast on meat and wine and such, and seem to very much enjoy doing so.

Maybe blood has some essential vitamins and minerals for them (or even DNA as some suggest) - but just as easily they could need nothing from human blood at all. It may purely be a compulsion generated by the pathogen in order to reproduce - just like rabid animals don't bite in order to feed, they bite because it's a successful evolutionary strategy for the rabies virus to cause its host to do so.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby PinkShinyRose » Tue May 27, 2014 12:59 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
PinkShinyRose wrote:I mean, wikipedia says the advised carbohydrate intake is 130g/day, they also say that mean blood-glucose in healthy humans is about 1g/l and I just cannot fathom them drinking 130l of blood a day (I consider levels of other carbohydrates negligible in human blood). I think this is a general problem: many of our nutrients are stored and released to the blood when necessary. How would they cope with that? Would they need to drain 40 humans a day? Would they inject glucagon first to at least have a proper amount of glucose and triglycerides?

Their digestive tracts would probably be highly specialised in absorbing nutrients that are relatively rare in blood with a low absorption of the more common nutrients as a trade-off, but even then they cannot absorb more than they eat in the first place.

Is the folklore that they only consume blood? In the (very limited number of) vampire movies that I've seen they still feast on meat and wine and such, and seem to very much enjoy doing so.

Maybe blood has some essential vitamins and minerals for them (or even DNA as some suggest) - but just as easily they could need nothing from human blood at all. It may purely be a compulsion generated by the pathogen in order to reproduce - just like rabid animals don't bite in order to feed, they bite because it's a successful evolutionary strategy for the rabies virus to cause its host to do so.

I thought their diet is generally restricted to blood. Only having human food in store for guests (victims). I'm also thinking of how they transport nutrients now in the stories where turning requires having most of your blood drained (like in dracula). Then again, I suppose those very clearly undead vampires fall far enough into the fantasy range to not have a Sci Fi explanation.
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Re: Vampires?

Postby Xanthir » Fri May 30, 2014 11:20 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Is the folklore that they only consume blood? In the (very limited number of) vampire movies that I've seen they still feast on meat and wine and such, and seem to very much enjoy doing so.

Depends strongly on the folklore. Rice's vampires subside solely on blood; they literally shit out their digestive tract in the first day or so post transformation. Though actually
Spoiler:
they're more-or-less draining souls as expressed through blood, if I recall correctly
.

In Blindsight, the vampires there were a human population offshoot that stopped being able to produce some important protein for brain development, so they became cannibals to deal with it. They were still basically human, so they ate like normal otherwise.

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