Sydnordisk Akademi for Donaldisme : Afdelingen for Donaldistisk Genealogi
Abnormal fecundity rate in Goofy’s family
An attempt to explain Goofy’s overwhelming number of relatives
by cAnd.don.theol. Adrien C. Miqueu, SAD 2012
After a rather long period of time during which I have been very busy with my Donaldistic research, I came up with a question, very specific and specialised, but still interesting for the Academy. I have been really interested in the genealogy of Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Goofy, and built up their family trees. My focus has been on Mickey’s and Goofy’s relatives, as the Duck Family’s genealogy had already been brilliantly covered by my country fellow Dr.Don.Gen.Map. Gilles Maurice. During my investigations, I noticed an abnormal number of uncles and aunts in Mickey’s and Goofy’s families; for example, Goofy has 32 uncles and aunts, without all the “by-marriage” ones! In this article, I will try to explain the remarkable high number of children for this particular generation, introducing hormonal disorder and ethic-puritan behaviour as the two most plausible possible reasons for this phenomenon.
I / General cases of unusual fecundity
1) Introduction to my genealogical studies
I have studied Goofy’s family for quite a long time now, and a later article will maybe be devoted to this topic. Anyway, here are the results of this huge task. Goofy has indeed an overwhelming number of relatives, especially of uncles and aunts. Goofy himself does not seem to know them all, and he often discovers or suddenly remembers their existence.
Here is my Goofy Family Tree:
During my research, I noticed this unusual number of uncles and aunts in the third generation. When the time came to build the tree itself, I found myself with 42 uncles and aunts. I first distinguished two main families: the Goofys (also based on Dr. Maurice’s work), and the McGoofs. To make the tree believable and sensible, I tried to balance the number of uncles and aunts on both sides. Therefore, the tree might not be completely accurate, as I am not sure about the actual family links between the relatives. All this notwithstanding, Goofy still has 42 uncles and aunts! 8 of them are uncles and aunts “by-marriage”, but there are still 34 direct uncles and aunts. Even if we put approximately half of them on the mother’s side and the other half on the father’s side, they are 16-18 brothers and sisters for each parent! I know that people in older days used to get a lot of children, but almost 20 children – and I am sure there are still relatives that I have not found yet, and others that chroniclers did not mentioned – is undoubtedly an evidence of abnormal fecundity in the Goofy/McGoof family.
I have also worked on Mickey Mouse’s family, and here are the results:
Mickey apparently has a less “extended” family, as he “only” have around 12 uncles and aunts on the Mouse side (father) and 3 on the O’Mouse side (mother). However, Minnie has a lot of uncles and aunts on her father’s side, that is 15 direct relatives and 2 by-marriage. I also worked on the Duck’s genealogy, but for this article, my statistics will be based on Dr. Maurice’s work, his Duck Family Tree being, as far as I am concerned, the absolute reference in this field.
2) Comparison of the fecundity rate between generations
To cover this problem in a scientific way, I have decided to measure the fecundity rate for every generation of Goofy’s family, and also to compare with the fecundity of the Mouse and the Duck family. The protocol was the following: To study the fecundity of one generation, I counted the number of children (for whom we know the parents) of the next generation, and then counted the number of couples, isolated parents, or single persons of the studied generation, that could have had children. Then, I divided the number of children by the number of couples, and got the fecundity rate of the generation. I called “Generation 1” the “youngest generation” – that is Morty & Ferdie, Huey, Dewey & Louie, Gilbert, etcetera – for each different family. I started my measures on Generation 2 (Goofy, Mickey, Donald Duck), because Generation 1 does not have children yet. Below, an example of the “number” associated with each generation. The generation of main interest here is the fourth one, because it is on Generation 3 that we reckon an abnormal number of children.
So, here are the results of my studies:
We notice, indeed, a high rate of fecundity in Generation 4 for all three families. The level is rather low for Generation 2, rises slowly through Generation 3, and then has a peak in Generation 4 for the Duck and the Mouse families. After that, it decreases for Ducks and Mice, but keep going up for the Goofy family in Generation 5, reaching an average rate of three children per couple. The rate finally decreases for all families in Generation 6.
We definitely have an abnormal fecundity rate in Generation 4 for all families, and in Generation 5 as well for Goofy. Below is the average rate of fecundity worked out for all five generations:
Goofy’s family has an average of approximately 1.55 children by couple. In Generation 4, the rate increase to c. 2.25 and continues to c. 3.0 in Generation 5. Or in other words: About the double of the average fecundity rate! Same thing for the other families. The Mouses’ average being around 1.6, but 2.75 in Generation 4; the Ducks’ fecundity average is around 1.25, but increases to 2.0 in Generation 4. All these observations suggest some sort of systematic disorder for Generation 4 – and even more so for Generation 5 in Goofy’s family. But what could be the explanation for this phenomenon?
3) Other examples of unusual fecundity in Stella anatium
We have seen that Ducks, Mice and Dogs seem to have some fecundity problems. They could have only a 0.5- or an even lower fecundity rate, which is far too low to maintain a population. And at the same time, two generations before, having a 2+ fecundity rate, which is higher than a developed country like Calisota. But we also have other examples of abnormal fecundity in the shape of unusual births and peculiar fertility. What I am now going to talk about is the worrying number of twins and triplets in Duckburg. Just to give some names, we have for the most famous twins Morty and Ferdie (Mickey’s nephews), Millie and Melody (Minnie’s nieces), and Tiny and Lily (Minnie’s nieces in I M 41-1).
Millie and Melody (from W 01518 A-06 ).
And even better known, the triplets Huey, Dewey and Louie (Donald’s nephews) and April, May and June (Daisy’s nieces), as well as the less known George, Patrick and Simeon (Rockerduck’s nephews from D 6106).
George, Patrick, Simeon, Huey, Dewey and Louie (from D 6106).
Even if this is not an exhaustive list, we can conclude that the number of twins and triplets is rather high. Moreover, I would like to draw your attention to one particular point: all these triplets and twins belong to the first generation, or Generation 1 as I called it. They are almost all located on this generation, whereas in the other generations triplets and twins become almost non-existent.
The phenomena of twins and triplets can be due to different causes, which will be explained in more details later, but the two main factors are these: the ovaries produce two ova, so both are fertilised and that gives us two babies, but not identical. The other possibility is that the fertilised ovum, the zygote, split in two identical parts, both of which will give a baby, and here they are identical twins. However, these phenomena are only known for mammals, not for birds.
II / The hormonal explanation
I will spare you all the technical details about genetics, but here is the main idea of my thesis: The fact that these people have an overwhelming number of children can be explained by a hormonal disorder! Hormonal problems can cause the production of several ova at the same time. The effect is usually the production of twins or triplets. However, the 18 children on Goofy’s father’s side are not all twins and triplets. They are just normal brothers and sisters, even if they all look more or less alike, and even if some of them apparently have significant age gaps, they still seem to be all around the same age. This leaves us with two possibilities: 1) They are non-identical twins or triplets (even quadruplets or more), and due to a hormonal disease, their mother had around 6 (!) times triplets; 2) They are all normal brothers and sisters. But for both hypotheses, there is one question: How on Earth is this possible?
The answer can be found in the very “heart” of the procreation system. During the menstrual cycle, several hormones activate or inhibit other glands, which can itself produce other hormones. In the female cycle, GnRH-hormone is released by the hypothalamus to activate the pituitary gland, which will itself produce LH- and FSH-hormones. These last two ones will then activate the production of oestrogen and progesterone. In the end, oestrogen reduces the production of GnRH, expected on the 13th day of the cycle. On that day, an ovum is released and can be inseminated. A small disorder in this process, for example on the FSH-production, can lead to an abnormal number of released ova. This can be the explanation of the surprising number of twins and triplets.
But for all the brothers and sisters, this would imply that the female would have been constantly impregnated, as the ovum production goes on. Moreover, there must have been another hormonal disturbance. Indeed, once the ovum is inseminated, the embryo produces HCG, a hormone which will activate the production of oestrogen and progesterone, which eventually will reduce the GnRH-production, and stop the cycle. This is the normal process, to avoid the risk of having two embryo at different states of development at the same time.
This following big question is: Where does this disorder come from? It can be noted that for all the studied families, generation 4 had the highest fecundity rate. There must have been some kind of global effect during this period. Based on my research, I assume that these individuals mainly have lived in the time period 1840-1910. I cannot draw a conclusion for the moment, as I have not identified any global, major disaster that could have caused this great disturbance. The high number of children may have been due to a physiological characteristic of Ducks, Mice and Dogs in Stella anatium. As well as for cats, which can have lot of babies at the same time, Ducks too could have this peculiarity. The high fecundity rate may also be explained by a physiological characteristic, or by a hormonal disorder. But for this last explanation, we have to consider if and how (not to say why) the female was constantly impregnated while still being pregnant.
III / The ethico-religious explanation
As stated in my earlier article, I assume that the Ducks are Christians. Actually, I reckon that they do not practise it regularly, but their ancestors did and they are still living in a ‘Christianity-influenced’ world. The point I want to make is that even if they do not themselves believe in God, they are still influenced by Christian mentality around them. At least some fractions within the Christian Church are rather strict about having several children, as every child is a gift from God, and, thus, they preach that sexual relationships only should take place with the purpose of making children.
2) Social pressure
Pressure from the surrounding family might too be the cause of this behaviour. I have mainly talked about Ducks, but the same behaviour is visible in Mickey’s and Goofy’s families.
3) Survival instinct
My last hypothesis can seem rather strange and off-topic, but nevertheless it cannot be disregarded. Like all living creatures, Ducks, Mice and Dogs have, somewhere deep inside their mind, a survival instinct. We may assume that their primitive brain sometimes takes over and acts on the reproductive impulse from such an instinct. In a Freudian analysis, the “Id” takes over the “Ego”, and the “Super-ego” cannot repress this behaviour. I will not go any further into this process, as I am not very knowledgeable in this field.
The high number of relatives in Duckburg families, especially in the Goofy family, remains a mystery. As possible explanations, we can suggest hormonal disorder, physiological characteristics, and socio-religious behaviour. For my personal view, I would like to consider a combination of both hormonal disorder and Christian influence. There could have been some kind of physiological problems to allow this number of children, even very close by age, combined with the repetition of unprotected intercourse. This would have lead to a “constant pregnancy”-state for the mother, and therefore a continuous delivery.
Dr.don.ext.hon. Jon GISLE (1973): Donaldismen, Oslo.
Gilles MAURICE: Duck Family Tree, Calisota Online; http://goofy313g.free.fr/calisota_online/trees/ducktrees/index.html.
Sydnordisk Akademi for Donaldisme henleder opmærksomheden på, at rettighederne til (næsten) alle de anvendte billeder på Akademiets sider tilhører © Disney, der i Danmark er repræsenteret ved Egmont Serieforlaget A/S. Billedmaterialet må ikke anvendes i erhvervsmæssigt øjemed.