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(Previous Question)

Recap:

Jimmy Hopkins (yes, that's his name) is a extremely weird organism. For one thing he is extremely large, but on the other hand, he is extremely weird, because of one thing- He is an unicellular organism

You heard it right. JH is just nothing but a giant unicellular organism about 50m across and 30m tall, resembling a giant bacterium. JH has a extremely hard capsule made of cellulose and lignin, to protect it from abrasions and dents. Inside JH is a collection of thousands of chloroplasts to produce food. JH's mitochondria are really nothing more than a bunch of oversized mitochondria that produce a lot of energy. Since JH is so massive, it would die if it were to exist on land, so it simply swims in the ocean. JH has multiple flagella that are about twice as long as the host organism itself, which help it to propel through at high speeds through the water. In short, JH is basically an upscaled version of an cyanobacteria, except with chloroplasts and a proper nucleus. JH is rod shaped.

So Jimmy Hopkins has now found a way to propel itself (the fuel is for your imaginationツ) in times of emergency, and is now safe from its predators. However, JH now has to contend with another huge problem-Reproduction

JH is a unicellular organism, so it cannot reproduce sexually, and has to therefore reproduce asexually.

However there are a few problems with reproduction:

  • As JH is an extremely huge organism, its cell wall and capsule, despite being transparent would be over a few cm thick, to protect from abrasions, infections and dent. However, this capsule being made of cellulose and lignin, would be extremely brittle. JH trying to split apart by fission is like trying to perfectly split an egg. If done improperly, then JH will die catastrophically, as the cell wall and capsule rupture. This also risks the ignition of the "emergency fuel" it uses to escape predators, thus exploding and destroying JH.
  • Even if fission was done properly, there would be a chance, that one "child-cell" would end up with the flagella, while the other would end up with no flagella, risking predation
  • JH cannot bud like Hydra, as you cannot have a bunch of flagella growing on the "child-cell" as the cell's back is attached to the parent during maturation.

This means that JH's species would go extinct if it did not reproduce. So, JH has to look for an alternative way of reproduction

The question is:

What type of reproduction would JH use to create offspring (without dying or ending up with deformities)?

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't follow this bit: "JH cannot bud like Hydra, as you cannot have a bunch of flagella growing on the "child-cell" as the cell's back is attached to the parent during maturation." $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ It sounds like you are saying "It cannot be budding, since if it was budding it would happen THIS way and I don't want that." Just have it do budding in a different way. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Daron Flagella grow at the back of the cell. You cannot have flagella sticking into your body. $\endgroup$
    – Alastor
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ Then have the babies grow backwards so the flagella point away from Jimmy's body. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 18:51

3 Answers 3

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Tiny Baby Hopkinses

Jimmy Hopkins creates a bunch of microscopic unicellular babies inside its body. Then he releases them through pores in the cell wall. Jimmy Hopkins of course has loads of pores to let nutrients in and waste out. The Baby Hopkinses grow to full size over several yearses.

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Spores could be released through tiny openings in the cell wall, which open when Jimmy here has to spawn. Like fish eggs, these spores could be tiny and be released en masse, with most being eaten by predators, but enough surviving to grow in macroscopic adults.

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Asexual cellular fission is totally fine. You are probably overthinking the alleged issues with asexual reproduction.

  • the wall can be built inside the cell until it split it into two parts: no losses to the outside. Alternatively, it can be temporarily replaced by a less performing wall until the final one is synthesized. It's plausible a temporary increased vulnerability, like crustacean have immediately after changing their shell.
  • being an unicellular creature, it doesn't have organs, but rather molecular aggregates which can be made by decoding the appropriate genetic sequence. Getting it or not after the split is again a temporary inconvenience, nothing major.
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