Do birth defects occur in the Na'vi or in other Pandoran species?

Kiri's unusual connection to Eywa as shown in TWOW had me thinking. Are there any naturally occurring birth defects in the Na'vi or other Pandoran species, or are they being 'regulated' by Eywa? I could not find a clear statement on this in the canon materials.

Does anybody know if there was ever anything said about birth defects or their non-occurrence on Pandora in official material?
 
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Eltu

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Assuming that genetics work largely the same way on Pandora, which seems like a fair assumption given how life overall seems to work in a similar fashion, I would imagine so! As Neytiri put it, Eywa simply protects the balance of life, so I doubt this would be something she would influence - though it's true that I don't think we've seen anything explicitly stated one way or the other.
 
I agree with you. In regards to the Avatar universe, I tend to take real life as a reference in case something is not properly detailed out in the fictional canon. I might have read some theories from people where they say every Na'vi is born perfect, etc, which is probably why I started doubting that Pandoran species followed the same 'rules' as Earth species. Theories are, of course, not canon.

What we have seen of Eywa so far in the canon does not suggest omniscience or all-controlling influence. Although Eywa might have had a hand in the evolution of the species on Pandora (I believe this is implied with the way queues and tsaheylu work), I have serious doubts she is able to prevent spontaneous mutations in every individual birth. So if there is no canon statement, I tend to say birth defects would be a natural occurrence on Pandora, same as on Earth.

Just for info, the reason I asked the question is because I was thinking about creating a Na'vi character with dwarfism in one of my FF stories. I don't like to deviate too far from canon, so I wanted to get a better picture of how plausible this would be.
 
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Given we know that the Na'vi (and therefore assumably all life within Eywa's collective neuro system) have DNA that is fundamentally similar to way DNA works on Earth (so much so that it's possible to create Avatars in the first place) then we have to assume that mutation can likewise occur in a similar manner. I feel the bigger question is how would the Na'vi, and by extension Eywa as a collective of life handle those born with birth defects? We know that the Na'vis shared bond with all life through and with Eywa does allow for some healing processes so would they attempt to "heal" these defects, or instead see them as a sign of special bond with Eywa held by the individual, or as a gift, good luck, or possibly a learning experience for the clan as a whole that should not be "fixed", as humans would see it?
 
I don't know if it is within Eywa's influence to heal serious birth defects that have their cause on the genetic level, especially after the birth of that organism. Once a genetic sequence has been established, I would expect it cannot be altered anymore, not even by Eywa.

I do think it makes a lot of sense for the Na'vi to accept an individual with a birth defect, and see them as special and that they wouldn't always want to fix everything in the same way humans do. At the same time, there appears to be a culture in the Omaticaya and Metkayina clans that implies that being useless is not seen as a good thing in their society. The Omaticaya wanted to cure Jake of his 'insanity' and turn him into a productive individual and the Metkayina didn't want the Sully family to suffer the shame of being useless, so they wanted them to be productive as well.

So I am thinking a Na'vi with dwarfism could face a variety of difficulties and it might in the end depend on the Olo'eyktan's and Tsahik's personal views on how such an individual could fit within the clan (or not fit at all).
 
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I don't know if it is within Eywa's influence to heal serious birth defects that have their cause on the genetic level, especially after the birth of that organism. Once a genetic sequence has been established, I would expect it cannot be altered anymore, not even by Eywa.

I do think it makes a lot of sense for the Na'vi to accept an individual with a birth defect, and see them as special and that they wouldn't always want to fix everything in the same way humans do. At the same time, there appears to be a culture in the Omaticaya and Metkayina clans that implies that being useless is not seen as a good thing in their society. The Omaticaya wanted to cure Jake of his 'insanity' and turn him into a productive individual and the Metkayina didn't want the Sully family to suffer the shame of being useless, so they wanted them to be productive as well.

So I am thinking a Na'vi with dwarfism could face a variety of difficulties and it might in the end depend on the Olo'eyktan's and Tsahik's personal views on how such an individual could fit within the clan (or not fit at all).

I was thinking of that darker undercurrent, and it's definitely a possibility - though if we look at pre-industrial civilizations on Earth (either non agrarian or early agrarian) it seems that the attitudes towards disabilities, birth defects and old age infirmity seems to correlate very strongly with the degree of resource availability and physical security of the society.

Societies that had very low resource stress and a good degree of security seem generally to have taken a more positive, or at least tolerent view, of "useless" people and often found roles for them - "useless", of course being somewhat subjective, given that spiritual (perhaps "shamanic") roles held a non-tangible but extremely valued role in pretty much every pre-industrial society, and arguably still do today (you'll find few towns in the west where we don't have a paid priest of some description) In Ancient Egypt dwarfism was recognised and held a secure and accepted social niche, and we know some other birth defects did not preclude social inclusion. By contrast, the inuit - possibly one of the most resource stressed cultures we know of - had no choice prior to the 20th century, except to take their elderly and infirm out onto ice floes and abandon them to their fate during in times of famine - something that was frequent enough in their extremely harsh climate that this had become a recognised and accepted, if unhappy, practice.

I would argue that the Na'vi clans we have seen so far lead relatively unstressed existences - their climate is benign, and resources abundant for their limited numbers, putting little pressure on them to rid themselves (one way or another) of "useless" people (the Metkayina wanted to teach the unskilled newcomers after all - not just shun them - and these were "outsiders", not true members of the clan).

It could easily be imagined, though, that if human colonisation of Pandora were to continue, that the driving of the Na'vi from their home lands and the over-exploitation of resources by the humans will stress Na'vi culture to breaking point, and that it would become *much* more violent, stratified and intolerant of any kind of diversity - much as New World societies (especially in central America and Mexico) did during the early years of Spanish conquest and settlement.
 
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Those are some solid points, and I can imagine this happening on Pandora. Though I would expect the Na'vi to have more empathy in general than humans and if the one with the birth defect has direct relatives in the clan, I am pretty sure they will not abandon their child/sibling when life becomes harder for them.

I think I might actually go for a subversion. The character I intend to write would already be middle-aged at the time of TWOW, but would have been living as an exiled person or hermit for a long time already. However, the subversion would be that the dwarfism isn't the primary reason for the character living in isolation, but rather her unorthodox beliefs regarding Eywa and the three laws.
 
Those are some solid points, and I can imagine this happening on Pandora. Though I would expect the Na'vi to have more empathy in general than humans and if the one with the birth defect has direct relatives in the clan, I am pretty sure they will not abandon their child/sibling when life becomes harder for them.

I think I might actually go for a subversion. The character I intend to write would already be middle-aged at the time of TWOW, but would have been living as an exiled person or hermit for a long time already. However, the subversion would be that the dwarfism isn't the primary reason for the character living in isolation, but rather her unorthodox beliefs regarding Eywa and the three laws.

tbqh if I were going down that road with a fic, I'd feel it best to keep it simple with the exile. If they are exiled for their beliefs, then keep it simple to that, and have a different character inside the Na'vi community who has dwarfism, so it can be explored separately, as due to the nature of *our* real world community, people will read it as dwarfism = ostracism, even if you don't intend it that way, because sadly, that's how we treat people.
 
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tbqh if I were going down that road with a fic, I'd feel it best to keep it simple with the exile. If they are exiled for their beliefs, then keep it simple to that, and have a different character inside the Na'vi community who has dwarfism, so it can be explored separately, as due to the nature of *our* real world community, people will read it as dwarfism = ostracism, even if you don't intend it that way, because sadly, that's how we treat people.
Then it is my job to make them see otherwise :)
I currently have two FF.NET stories going on, and the one I intend the character for is the smaller, simpler story, which due to its limited scope, is only focusing on one main character. I am still going to combine dwarfism with exile, because I was actually kind of aiming for a Yoda homage (yes I like my pop culture references)
 
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