New Humanoid Species Raises Compelling Ethical Questions ~ fiction by Morgan Capra

Early on, the phenomenon was seen as a coincidental series of birth defects. The first case appeared in rural Oklahoma, surprising the obstetrician when the baby crowned, revealing an unusual pair of ears oriented more toward the top of the head than the sides—long, pointed, and coated in a layer of downy hair. The baby’s torso was normal, but from the hips down it was anything but.

“Stout, hair-covered legs,” the doctor noted. “In the place of normal human feet, hooves resembling those of a goat or young horse. And emerging from the end of the spine, a hairy tail approx. 8-in. long.”

The mother, considered the index case, was not informed of these anomalies at the time, but later (having given up the baby for adoption upon learning of his unusual physiology) she reported having heard one of the nurses exclaim, “My God, he has a huge erection!”

Baby Glen, now eighteen years of age, was thought by all concerned to be one in many billions. He was sent to an orphanage in Salina, Kansas, which specializes in caring for children with extraordinary needs and conditions. He was the only one of his kind there for no more than a year.

When the population of babies similar to Baby Glen had grown to nearly a hundred, coming to Salina from all over the country, epidemiologists determined that what we were witnessing was an evolutionary mutation that had, in effect, created a new species. Just as Homo sapiens had branched off Homo erectus two million years ago, it appeared now that these startling new beings were occurring with enough frequency and stability to merit a formal name.

Homo satyricus now walks the earth.

Because these specimens were by definition human, having come from human mothers, they displayed typical development, walking around the age of one, talking—when nurtured properly—at two, then showing the usual proportional changes demonstrated by normal human children. With one major exception.

Both male and female individuals reached sexual maturity at approximately five years of age.

The boys, in keeping with mythical depictions of the satyr, became especially adamant about their sexuality, forcing the staff at the Salina institution to keep them segregated from girls—all girls—and requiring female staff members to carry stun guns in the event that they could not control a particularly aggressive satyr boy. Instances of attempted rape were many, and medical ethicists debated whether castration was a viable option from a moral point of view. Depriving any humanoid of a reproductive future as early as age five struck many as unacceptable. And indeed, physicians as well as lawmakers agreed that it was too extreme. Lithium became an appropriate intervention in the worst cases.

As for satyr girls, they weren’t as aggressive sexually, but they were flagrant in their exhibitionism and drove many satyr boys to distraction across the yard—the sexes kept away from each other in separate activity pens—by displaying their new breasts and striking transgressive erotic poses. Some male staff members had to be terminated for giving in to temptation with these young satyr-ladies. And some, in defending themselves, gave the legal system pause when it had to confront the possibility that Homo satyricus actually achieved adulthood between the ages of five and seven. In effect, sex with a six-year-old satyr girl might be consensual, if she invites the contact. This is a dilemma that society will have to resolve through case law and legislation as the years go on.

In mythology, satyrs are always male and display uncontrolled sexuality and drunkenness. They are creatures of the woods and remote mountains, characterized mainly by their bacchanalian hubris. They love wine, music, and females of any variety—even mortals. Our new satyrs show certain of these traits, but having grown up under American educational and cultural standards, they appear to have at least some inhibitions and understanding of societal norms and limitations.

Baby Glen (now known as Glen Silenus, after a satyr mentioned by the Roman poet, Virgil) is a good example. At eighteen, he is about to be discharged from the orphanage as a legal American adult, and he shows every sign of being a productive member of society. Through high school he studied computer coding and now possesses the skills of a software engineer with an advanced degree. His intellect is prodigious (IQ 175) compared to that of the general H. sapiens population. College is a certainty for him, and he speaks often of starting his own company one day, a la Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.

One problem he’ll have in society at large, however, is that, as with all male satyrs, his erection is permanent and quite noticeable. Special garments have been designed by the orphanage staff to minimize embarrassment, yet Glen is distinctly unfazed by his “manhood,” if that’s the word to apply to a satyr’s genitalia. “This is how the gods made me,” he says. “And I’m okay with it.”

What is still unknown is whether satyrs will continue to appear in the human population as genetic mutations, or whether they will mate with their own and thereby increase their numbers exponentially and refine their gene pool.

In fact, Glen has expressed affection for at least one of his female counterparts in Salina, Penny Neró (whose first name implies “Pan,” perhaps, and whose assigned surname is the Greek word for water). She is three years younger than Glen and is therefore a minor under Kansas law, though, as mentioned, it’s conceivable that a couple like these two satyrs might one day be allowed to marry before they reach age ten, given their physical maturity and intelligence. Glen says he will wait for Penny’s discharge from the orphanage, content to masturbate (as so many ancient satyrs are depicted doing on ancient relics) until she can join him at college.

He claims he’s not attracted to human females, however, because they’re so inhibited. “They can’t just chillax and live the life, you know?” he told one interviewer. “I mean, if it weren’t for Penny, I’d play the human field, right? But it’d feel like settling.”

In the same interview (Perspectives in Anthropology, May 2019), he adds, “I’m stoked though. About everything. I have a great future. I’m going to kick ass in school—really raise the bar for the sapes [satyrs’ possibly derogatory word for humans]. That’s on them though, right?” He laughs, then continues. “Seriously, it’s all good. It’s like I’m Adam and Penny’s Eve, and we’re going to write a whole new book together. We’re so lit.”

It remains to be seen how humanity will respond to a new population of genetically pure satyrs, or indeed to mixed couples. Since this is the first generation that can be observed from birth to death, we will have to wait to see what unexpected consequences might arise from the introduction of a new species into modern American society.

Given our speckled history, Glen’s optimism could well be misplaced.

Morgan Capra is a strong believer in making things up if reality falls short. Writings include years’ worth of embarrassing journals and an unpublished biography of Michael J. Pollard.

[Image public domain]