I am still working on my intelligent detrivore alien species and so far I have gotten some great help from you guys. But after searching online a lot about detrivore psychology I still cannot find anything to help me so I go here. And my question is: what kind of psychological differences from a human could you expect in an intelligent, detrivore species?
Based on the fact that y’all need more info and I am very happy to give it to y’all, here is an info dump of everything I have developed so far...
The planet has about 20% less gravity than earth, a much hotter and more radioactive core, and stronger electromagnetic field(on the surface about 2.55 Gauss). It also orbits a dwarf star, so other than that it is very similar to earth.
Most of the ecosystems on the planet are thick forests, but not like an earth forest as the tallest autotrophs are called the ZXyphernics and they look like super tall(about 500-1,000 feet) pail blue mushrooms with multiple stems(30-50 per ZXyphernic). They absorb most of the light so it is dark below them, but not too dark so you can’t see(think of the nigh time with a full moon).
The other autotrophs have adopted a clever strategy and now instead of photosynthesis they use a made up process I call it thermalsythesis, it is basically the autotroph sucking up heat with its dermal layer that contains ethylene glycol saturated cells.
If you're wondering where all the heat comes from on an earth-like planet well I got your answer. Their are vents all over the plants surface that give off a lot of heat and carbon dioxide (fun fact: if you go deep enough into the vents you can find super critical carbon dioxide). Now for the major consumers on the planet, well their are super sized herbivores(for common size think of the titanosaur) and the predators are small, fast, strong, mean, and work in packs.
This one should be obvious cause because detrivore is in the title, but I will go into more specifics about the specifics and maybe answer the question of why they stay detrivores. So basically the ethylene glycol has a similar effect to how cow’s milk reacts with human digestion.
The giant herbivores cannot digest all the nutrients in the plants and can only get some because the ethylene glycol in them block some nutrients from getting in so the herbivores so they just excrete it. This is where the detrivores come and get their energy, they evolved the very rare ability to separate ethylene glycol from the nutrients and eat the poop of the herbivores as an easy food source.
But this separation takes energy and they aren’t just gonna waste a perfectly good PCM like ethylene glycol so instead of just excreting it they use it in their own biology and mimic the thermalsythesis of the bottom autotrophs. They now have energy from two sources and can now support a big brain.
Now for why they have these big brains, well the floor ps of the planet are covered in detritus, yes, but the detritus isn’t very nutritious and what they want is the herbivore poop. But their is a problem, to avoid being tracked by the predators the herbivores adopted congregational pooping habits(similar to the hyrax) and where changes very frequently even in the basis that one herbivore is slightly nervous.
So to get this poop you need to have a great long term memory and super advanced eyesight, leading to an advanced brain. And to evade or overcome predators they need to clever and have abstract though with great problem solving skills.
They breed parasitically, and to understand why you need to understand yes they may be in the minority for it but do it is as old as the lymbic system is for earth creatures. Most of the consumers on the planet don’t but that’s simply because they are as different from the other consumers as fungi is from plants and split off very early from each other in their evolutionary history.
And the system never hurt them and was energy efficient so why change it? It’s a lot like angler fish but with the genders reversed and the brains don’t eventually dissolve in the female but they meld. And don’t worry the females aren’t intelligent until they meld with the males.
They all start out as small goop blots that are about the size of a quarter, and then grow really fast after the third day of their birth and the females stop after day 8. The males start puberty at 2 years old and the females never go though this puberty (think Osedax with the genders reversed) and then the males grow even bigger and gain all the stuff they will need to make babies. After 17 years of this they are finished and adults, and live another 110 years on average.
I haven’t gotten to this one much or gotten very details because I wanted to design it after their psychology. But what I have is so far is an idea of cast system and it is signaled by how you commute. They tend to be very individualistic and touch and interact with each other more than a person on ecstasy.
When born all the larva are placed into pairs alone into holes for two days to bond, then on day three all the pairs are shoved into a very large hole for two hours without supervision, and in these two hours, lets just say all of the larva start out as hermaphrodites and by the end of two hours, all but one pair are female and the and the still hermaphroditic pair, are taken by some adults and made to be male. At day eight the females will have been fully developed and fuse with some males, and the males are raised for 17 years by the group, kinda like Capybaras.
uhh basically a rigid cast system based on 17 year gaps between the generations, having kids outside of this will have you killed and your child kick outside of the clan. You gather your own food(poop) and give a portion to the oldest generation, as they are looked on as feeble and foolish. They are kept out of respect and love more than for any practical reasons. They are also a theocracy, that's all i got sorry...
Quick membrane color flashes and color changes(microwaves to UV light) along with hisses and that's about it.