Consider a planet where there is only one type of organism. And this organism reproduces through fission.

Thus the offspring is exactly similar to the parent. These organisms are multi-cellular and similar to human in structure and behavior but every single body is genetically identical to the others.

What may be the other ways which they may use to avoid confusion among them and to identify a specific individual?

The population in the planet is about 100 million units. And their technology is similar to our year 1900.

  • $\begingroup$ Identical twins are genetically identical and yet they have different fingerprints. The genetic code is not everything: ontogenesis matters. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 14, 2017 at 7:18

2 Answers 2


Name tags

Because why not?

As life goes on we tend to wear our histories on our skin. A tan, scars and tattoos, a beard, a limp, age that shows more for one than for another, the marks of stress or a soft life. Whether you carry a little extra weight, train hard, or just diet.

As a being undergoes fission, the children are identical to the parent, though of about half the mass, and to each other. There's no way to distinguish between them, but equally there's no reason to. As their lives lead separate ways, as with identical twins, they'll start to look different and the differences will show.


When the new born is generated, it gets a tattoo on a visible part of the body, let's say the forehead.

For those already living when this is enforced, they get their tattoo at the moment of enforcement.

Tattoos are unique (think to a serial number if you want to stay basic) and, not being genetically coded, are not transmitted to the offspring.

side note: It's impossible that a human like organism is the only one existing on a planet, for the simple reason that humans are heterotrophic, thus need to get some other living being as food. The only way your scenario can be plausible is if the organism is a vegetable.

  • $\begingroup$ What about the already born organism .. $\endgroup$
    – Amruth A
    Dec 14, 2017 at 6:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AmruthA, see my edit $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Dec 14, 2017 at 6:47

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