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Impact of the End of The Hero of Ages to the Final Empire's Population


Argent

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When i finished reading the Hero of Ages and they all came out of that cavern into a completely alien world, which was pretty much an Earth copy, I got the feeling that if you were not hiding underground somewhere, like Spook and the others, that your chances of surviving were close to nothing. So yeah, i would agree  with you that it was an extinction of approximately 95% :o which is disgustingly massive...

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I know this is mostly semantics (and pedantic), but when going from 770 million to 750 thousand people, it seems more impressive to note that instead of 99%, 99.9% of the population died.

EDIT: No longer valid

This is entirely baseless speculation, but some of the changes Sazed performed might not have been immediate. It's possible that the changes to the Skaa happened after some indeterminate period of time.  That might change the population margins slightly.  Though, in any case, the amount of population death remains exceptionally high!

 

Edited by pi_rho_man
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Disclaimer: I was using the wrong numbers when calculating the percentages (i.e. I was taking the population of the Final Empire to be 770 million - Earth's Industrial Age population - instead of its own 100 million). So all my original percentages were about 8 times higher than they should've been. The numbers have been fixed, but the takeaway is that if we want over 90% extinction rate, Scadrial would've had to have averaged about 1.68% growth rate for the 300 years between the eras. For 99% we need about 2.23%, which is a number I can accept for several decades after the Harmonization™, maybe even a century, but not the entire intermission period.

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I'm a little confused by your math... if the population of the Final Empire really did drop from 100 million to 750 thousand, you seem to be saying that this means 25% of the population died. That's the number if it had gone from 1 million to 750 thousand. The actual percentage is that 99.25% of the population died.

 

Also: Numbers. There were, at most, 40K Terrismen at the enclave that survived the Rebirth of the world. Wax says that Terrismen made up approximately 1/5th of the Originators. This gives us an estimated 200,000 Originators.

Edited by Oudeis
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Yeah, my numbers were mostly right when I first posted this, then I got confused and edited them to be completely wrong (I was working with 1 million instead of 100 million), and now they are finally correct. And worse than my original estimate.

Edited by Argent
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My brain refuses to accept these numbers as anything other than a statistic. When I try to imagine it being related to an actual population, I start to seize. And cry.

 

Sidenote: It's possible the whole 99.8% didn't die all in that one afternoon. Remember Ruin had been killing entire villages at a time with earthquakes and eruptions. Not sure what a reasonable estimate would be of how many he was able to take down, or if it's enough to impact the percentage very much.

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One thing to keep in mind when comparing this disaster to historical extinctions for severity, is the 95% for our worst earthly extinction was 95% of all animal life, not just humans, whereas here, we are talking about the near extinction of the human race (or at least the human race in the portion of Scadrial that we have seen).  

 

If we were looking at the extinction rate of the entire planet, rather than just one species (humans), then the number might be more comparable.  

 

Still VERY dire.  

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Right, I know they didn't all die at once. The ashfalls, the mists, the various armies, and other factors have been killing skaa for a few years before the rise of Harmony. I can't imagine any of those doing any kind of significant damage, however. A few percent of the population, maybe. 

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@Coma and I suppose also everyone: Recall that a LOT of Divine Intervention was going on here. This was literally a world on the actual brink of cracking open like an egg and turning into dust in space due to the machinations of a God before one man with the power of two Gods showed up and fixed everything at more-or-less literally the last minute. So there are factors to consider as we compare it to near-extinction level events on Earth.

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I suspect that the average growth rate would be even higher than 2% over the 1st century after Ruin's release. 2.5-3% seems more likely.

The people who survived would be unusually young and healthy (the old or weak either would've died from Snapping or not being fast enough to make it to a storage cavern), a largel supply of food and water (in the storage caverns), and the ground in their immediate area was said to be unusually fertile. Additionally they had at least 1 mistborn and a virtual army of Tineyes, Pewterarms, Lurchers, and Coinshots to make food gathering and general rebuilding relatively easy.

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I mean, sure, if we get into the specifics of how people began propagating, but I think we're keeping it detached and clinical enough as it is.

 

Rat is right; with enormous food stores, fertile fields, and a literal entire planet free to colonize, not to mention plans for an enormous city able to hold the entire current known-world population a dozen times over handed to you by a God, I suspect there would have been a population explosion. Also, The Lord Mistborn himself set a high bar.

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Also: Numbers. There were, at most, 40K Terrismen at the enclave that survived the Rebirth of the world. Wax says that Terrismen made up approximately 1/5th of the Originators. This gives us an estimated 200,000 Originators.

Using 200k as a starting population and 15 million as the end, I get an average growth rate of 1.45% for the entire 300 years. Alternatively, 2.4% for the 1st century then 1% from then on gives roughly the same result.

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@Coma and I suppose also everyone: Recall that a LOT of Divine Intervention was going on here. This was literally a world on the actual brink of cracking open like an egg and turning into dust in space due to the machinations of a God before one man with the power of two Gods showed up and fixed everything at more-or-less literally the last minute. So there are factors to consider as we compare it to near-extinction level events on Earth.

 

I completely agree. This is actually the overall point I was trying to get at, by pointing out the focus on humanity in the books as one of the factors that need to be considered when making the comparison.  In the extinction level events on Earth, nearly all life was almost extinguished, and MANY species went extinct.  Here, we are only talking about the near extinction of humanity (one species).

 

The Divine Intervention is an interesting element both ways.  Ruin, in his efforts to destroy, seems to be focusing on humanity, even though he is doing a pretty good job of sending everything  down the drain as well.  Then, when Harmony restores the world, he seems to recreate much of the plant and animal life that existed prior to The Final Empire.  This means that while humanity was reduced by a shocking percentage, bio-diversity on the planet likely increased dramatically, with species being reintroduced who had been extinct for thousands of years.  If this is viewed as a near extinction event, it kind of has to be viewed as only applying to the human race, since the rest of the planet did pretty well for itself.  

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That's one thing I've been wondering about for a while. Did Rashek change a whole planets worth of plants and animals to survive within the Final Empire? Did Sazed return them all? Did he create them anew in the World Reborn? Was the knowledge of how to do so contained in his metalminds? Did he just try to get close enough? Found a picture of a cheetah and a description of its abilities, put the biological mechanics together to mimic that decription and wrapped it in the right kind of fur?

 

I have a short story I wrote once set in the World Reborn; a chef in Elendel has read through almost every recipe book in the Words of Founding, searched the known world for a variety of plants and animals, and is trying to recreate the cuisines of the forgotten world. With limited success but very interesting results.

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 You know what the population growth rate was in 1965? 2.19%. If Scadrial had the same annual growth rate during the 300 years between Era 1 and Era 2, Harmony would've had only 22,500 people to work with! Twenty-two-fraking-thousand! Want this as a percentage of the Final Empire's population before that? 99.98. How crazy is that?!

 

So, two edits later, we are back where we started - if my estimates are anywhere near correct, we are talking about 99% extinction rate. You know, no big deal. For comparison, the Permian-Triassic extinction, Earth's worst extinction, wiped out only 95% of all land-based animal life on the planet. 

 

Population growth rates for humans are basically as high as they have ever been in history ever ever due to a large number of technological advancements, infrastructure, etc.  If you look to the growth rates of Europe in 1000 AD were around 0.2% overall.  And this was also considered a time of "boom" population growth.

 

It's hard to find a good measure of what the growth rate would be, simply because their situation is so different than happened on Earth. However, looking at charts is really, really fascinating.  Global population rates are basically flat at at under half a billion for 8,000 years before skyrocketing to 7 billion+ in the next 1000.  

 

I'd guess Scadrial would be experiencing a mostly flat-line growth for the first 100 years as infrastructure is re-built, and that much of the actual population growth has been within the last century.  With a starting population of 5mil seeing 0.1% annual growth for first 100 years, we'd end up with ~5.5mil.  If they then saw 0.5% annual growth for another 100 years, we'd see ~8.2mil.  If they then saw 100 years of 1.1% growth, end result would be population of ~14.8mil.

 

Also, I'm pretty sure that all life would have been affected, not just human.  And we're still looking at a ~95% extinction level event for the planet.

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I'd imagine the genetic diversity after TLR's first mishap might not be as great as it could've been. Flowers being clearly gone (which is odd because fruits aren't. Then Vin sets the world on fire again.

Most of what existed pre-apocalypse was probably just whatever TLR knew enough about genetics to put together in those few minutes. Which would actually bump the percentage higher assuming the number of species decreased.

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Fruits are an odd sticking point... we have WoB that fruits no longer exist. Specifically, someone asked if there was ketchup, and he said no, because tomatoes are a fruit and need flowers, and flowers don't exist. I believe he has since clarified that anything in the book someone refers to as a "fruit" isn't what we on earth would call a fruit. I regret I do not have the W's-o-B at hand just at the moment but I will try to find them...

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Fruits are an odd sticking point... we have WoB that fruits no longer exist. Specifically, someone asked if there was ketchup, and he said no, because tomatoes are a fruit and need flowers, and flowers don't exist. I believe he has since clarified that anything in the book someone refers to as a "fruit" isn't what we on earth would call a fruit. I regret I do not have the W's-o-B at hand just at the moment but I will try to find them...

 

Or at least didn't during the Final Empire.  Post-Origin and the Alloy of Law era are a completely different story.

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Fruits are an odd sticking point... we have WoB that fruits no longer exist. Specifically, someone asked if there was ketchup, and he said no, because tomatoes are a fruit and need flowers, and flowers don't exist. I believe he has since clarified that anything in the book someone refers to as a "fruit" isn't what we on earth would call a fruit. I regret I do not have the W's-o-B at hand just at the moment but I will try to find them...

I suspect this has more to do with the variable usage of the word "fruit" than anything else. For example, is "corn" a fruit? It grows and reproduces without visable flowers (uses wind pollination), and the "fruit" would be defined as the corn husk while the seeds are what we eat.

On the other hand, Bananas flower but don't need to be pollinated to produce fruit. They also aren't grown from seeds, but rather asexual reproduction.

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