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There's two isolated islands, each big enough to support a population of millions and with all the natural resources they need to advance to the industrial era. But there is one hereditary flaw in 100% of the population of each island.

  • Everyone on the first island is completely colourblind (achromatopsia). They see everything in shades of black and white.
  • On the second island, people are born without a nasopharynx. The nasal cavity does not connect to the respiratory system. People cannot smell and cannot breathe through their noses.

Now, my goal story-wise is to make the two islands roughly equally disadvantaged, if that makes sense. Both should be able to survive every era of human history, but while tackling a few hurdles along the way. So if the second island would not survive the stone age, I could change their disadvantage to just not having a sense of smell, still retaining the ability to breathe through the nostrils. And if achromatopsia is too harsh, that can be changed to any of the other forms of colour blindness.

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    $\begingroup$ FWIW, complete inability to smell is called anosmia, it's a real thing in humans (occasionally follows a skull fracture, if bones shift enough to cut off and block regrowth of the olfactory nerves). $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Oct 23 '19 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ Not being able to breathe through the nose seems like something that will lend itself to long term medical issues. If the nasal cavity is still there, that seems like a source of hard-to-shift illness and potentially fatal infection. I bet it would screw up vocalisation, too. Seems like they've got the bad end of that particular deal... $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Oct 23 '19 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ @KeizerHarm I would recommend taking this question to meta. I feel like it has the potential to be a good question, but as currently worded I agree with overlord that it feels a bit too opinion-based (or maybe a bit too broad). My personal recommendation would be to ask something more along the lines of "what systemic problems would a population of colourblind people suffer, given they live in [] environment with [] level of technology", and then another question for the anosmiatic population. But perhaps folks on meta will have better advice. $\endgroup$ – Qami Oct 23 '19 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ This is like taking two of Jonathan Swift’s lands and having a competition. Lilliput vs. Blefuscu. $\endgroup$ – Vogon Poet Oct 23 '19 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ @KeizerHarm fair enough, lol! But thank you for putting effort into working with the website/rules/community. $\endgroup$ – Qami Oct 23 '19 at 17:29
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I think you are biased against No-nosers while it would be the Blackendwaiters who are in the serious disadvantage. Not being able to recognise colors means eating a lot of wrong things during "Hunter-gatherer" stage or even at scavenging.
What worse is that it stop the ability to gather and share/pass knowledge about dangerous food items. You cannot make catchy song about not eating the snow where the huskies go.

One could argue that seing colors is an evolution feat that homo omnivours developed. IF you gonna try to eat everything make sure that some things will be only eaten once by only one representative for a very long time.
One type of color blindess wouldn't be such tragic as people (I assume) would just learn to no eat gray things all together. So in such occasion doing it "just a dash" would yell no visible results (maybe later when some type of animals that feed on some type of fruits would have larger than usual population).

What I would advise (if you want to go with the vision perk) would be to for example make all people cursed with night-blindness OR loss of side vision (for example on right or left side).

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  • $\begingroup$ I feel that lack of smell is a bigger problem. Plenty of animals are color-blind and they are fine. Never hear of a land animal that can smell. I think smell is essential to detecting bad food, both directly, and since taste is linked to smell as well. $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Oct 23 '19 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ @BaldBear Your friendly neighborhood anosmic here. There's still a spectrum of tasting ability depending on what causes your anosmia - blockage vs. nonfunctionality of olfactory bulb vs. nonfunction of brain region - and bad food is still very easily detectable with a (probably limited) sense of taste or just by lookin' at it. Another risk is inhalation, but as one who works in a biology lab (chemical vapors) and has a partner who often burns food, it's still pretty easy to determine air quality. Particles irritate your throat, chemical vapors cause secondary effects (eg headache) $\endgroup$ – Punintended Oct 23 '19 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ @BaldBear Plenty of animals are not omnivores. When you eat one type of food you can specialize in detection of that one particular type that is not poisonous. Smell, as you pointed out, is a sign of bad food. Food that went bad. Past it edible time. What if the food is poisonous BEFORE being edible? Your smell give you nothing if the only sign of berries being deadly is their color. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Oct 23 '19 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth considering, since this an island, if color vision is ubiquitous amongst the other animal life on the island; because if it's not, the evolutionary strategy of plants using color as a warning mechanism either wouldn't have occured because it would offer no fitness, or else would have evolved in the constrained chromatic spectrum that represents the vision of their would-be predators. $\endgroup$ – Jonline Oct 24 '19 at 17:27

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