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The Bunnicula of Mount Doom (an Abstract)

Early historians speculated that this bunnicula inhabited the immediate area of Mount Doom as a native to the region. However, an ecological study in the late 1950s demonstrated that the region today, as then, could not support complex mammal life. An extensive series of core samples were used to validate the regional survey of 1953 (cf. Bates, M., A Geologic Survey of Modern Middle-Earth, Boston University Press, 1978) against the chemical and geologic composition of the area at the time the Third Age itself was drawing to a close. Core samples and available historical texts (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, supra) matched with the modern-day record remarkably closely (Bates, Appendix XXI).

While not dispositive, it is notable that no fossil evidence of vertebrate mammals have been found in the region. Orc, Man, and Elvish remains, both fossilized and preserved in Mordor's bogs, are, of course, quite prevalent due to the locale's use as a battlefield throughout the three Ages, but the immediate vicinity of Mount Doom stands out for its dearth of archeaological record (Kent, A., The Bones of Mount Doom, Simon and Schuster, NY, 1972).

Even the most favorable meteorological models do not predict sufficient moisture to the Mount Doom region to support complex animal life (Holden, F., The Climates of Mount Doom: Possible Histories, London University Press, 1982), and only insect fossils and the occasional bat habitat have ever been found in the area. (Smyth, W., Shelob and the Bats of Mordor: Parasites or Symbiosis?, Cambridge University Press, 1966)

To presume, therefore, that the Bunnicula (Tanzer, E., Bunniculae: Habits, Haunts, and History, University of New Mexico Press, 1994) could survive in such a region is unlikely, given its predatory nature. Even granting the heaviest possible reliance on the quasi-abstract nature of Bunniculae, still, a Bunnicula must feed, and the lack of a sufficiently evolved food chain to support Bunniculae at its apex weighs against the Bunnicula of Mount Doom's presence as a natural one.

We propose, instead, based on the historical record (Tolkien, supra) that the Bunnicula of Mount Doom was not native to the region but carried there by members of the Fellowship itself. A Tenth Fellow, as it were, though not so famous as the rest. In such event, given the well-recorded delicate constitution of Frodo Baggins (the Underhill) during the last days of the Quest, the Bunnicula could only have been transported by Samwise Gamgee, the only other member to scale Mount Doom with Baggins. It may be considered a testament to the civilization of Hobbitkind, that they did not attempt to stew the Bunnicula as Gamgee did a brace of coneys outside Mordor before their capture with Gollum by Faramir of Gondor (Tolkien, The Two Towers).

Some have proposed the Bunnicula retained a certain spiritual importance for this small remainder of the Fellowship, given Hobbits' traditional deep respect for storytelling, thus affording it some protection. Others, however (Carson, V., The Temptations of Mordor, W.W.Norton, NY, 1990), have proposed instead that the Bunnicula fled the Hobbits' company in an effort to avoid consumption. This neatly explains the Bunnicula's presence on the mountain post-destruction of the One Ring, but has little direct textual support.

Subsequent expeditions to the Mount Doom area have failed, to date, to clarify this point.


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