A New Scientist article, “Nursing Dreams of a Three-Parent Baby”, from their 2013 Holiday Special issue, provides a science-fictional solution to an old literary conundrum. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the titular anti-hero is two-thirds divine. How could this be? The answer, I now speculate, is that the goddess Ninsun provided egg-nucleus and womb; the mortal king Lugulbanda provided the spermatozoon; and a second deity, identity unknown, provided the mitochondria.
Who provided the mitochondria? Perhaps the sungod Shamash, considering the favoritism he showed Gilgamesh later. But perhaps it had to be a female to provide the mitochondria, in the cytoplasm of an ovum; which leaves the creepy possibility that Gilgamesh’s mito-mom was Ishtar.
This fan theory has tragic implications for Ninsun, whose defective mitochondria make her vulnerable to blindness, seizures, dementia and mental impairment.