Awright. I'm back from my appointment so I have a little time.
I don't dismiss physical shifting, because I have about 30 years biology background and I know better than to say, "It can't happen." But whether it can happen or not, I don't think it does for several reasons. I've checked out reports of physical shifts - in person - (and several other mythologies of online therianthropy) and I find two instances. On one case, the person never seems to be able to shift when someone else is around - convenient. The other, the person honestly believes that they're shifting - only no one else can see it. It is relevant, I believe, that in the two cases like this I ran into, the persons were schizophrenic. We're a cross section of the larger population and we have about the same diversity. I have occasionally had something I call a pseudoshift. It feels like my body is trying to conform to the image I have of myself inside - and not having a very successful (or pleasant) run of it. I can easily see a person who is vulnerable to hallucinations having one of those and filling in all the rest.
The other reason I don't believe that there are physical shifts is that there are first and second person records of lycanthropy and historical werewolves didn't claim to be able to physically shift (I'm discounting the werewolves of the witch trials since they did not seem to be the same people at all). They almost all explained that they squirreled their bodies away and projected a wolf form. Same with the berserkers.
But I don't know everything and I'm not closed minded about it. I'd like to see it happen. I'm not so sure I care to do it.
Hey, Dust. If you are the Dustwolf I remember, I don't remember being all that put out by you. Good to see you again.
Hey, Lycan. It's good to see that we'll have a member of the IARP here. I've followed them closely. I'm glad that Sharon is doing well. I didn't know about her illness. I hope that interacting with Therians will clear up the misunderstanding that we're a "subset of the furry community".
Venetia Robertson is still laboring under the assumption that we're an Internet phenomenon. Heck, I was a Werewolf before there even was an Internet.
But social research works like that. It's a very chaotic area and it's easy to let error creep into your study. For instance, if the only sample you have is Internet forums, you might miss the huge number of Therians that never go onto the Internet for social purposes. As more studies come up, they correct the errors in past studies and after a few centuries (joking) the research cleans itself up.
My frustration is that we first came to the attention of the religious studies group and now, after 5 or 6 years, we're finally being discovered by sociologists and psychologists. We need medical answers! I want to see immunological studies - drug studies, PET scans. Grph!
BearX, I don't think we've interacted much but I've certainly heard of you. I'm not actually a contemporary of AHWW. I found the community about when AHWW was phasing out. I came along on the WereNet.
I'm realizing that the amount of DNA isn't very important because most people with Neanderthal genes don't manifest them. It doesn't take much to make a person look Neanderthal. Many Weres I've met - you could look at them and - yep, Neanderthal. If the flaring rib cage doesn't give them away, when they start talking about the auto-immune problems, or the color blindness, or the migraines, it'll be pretty obvious. There are some Weres that sweat Wereness but they don't show clear signs of Neanderthal traits, but I don't meet very many of them, and I just figure the Wereness is the Neanderthal trait.
Or I could just be wrong - it's happened before.
But I've seen too many very startling instances of Weredar. We have to be picking up on something physical.
And I'd love to see a DNA study. The touchy thing is that DNA doesn't directly code for traits. DNA codes for proteins and what they do is put together a body that has certain traits so phenotype is far removed from genotype. What I'd like to figure out is why I obviously have auto-immune problems and the factors on an auto-immune profile are low average or below average. Then, why do medicines that are so reliable for everyone else that my doctor accuses me of not taking my prescriptions, don't seem to work for me, or why so many Therians react so unpredictably to so many old, tried-and-true medications. I'd bet some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
When I hear a doctor exclaim about how they don't know how this patient is still alive (It's a miracle!) or why that patient died (We may never know.) by brain perks up and thinks (because that patient isn't what you are.) Doctors need to learn that they have diversity to deal with.