I have a world that I largely have figured out in a big picture sort of way. It's sort of a Buddhist realms style "multiverse" with multiple realms encompassing the true universe. In this multiverse people can travel between worlds in the multiverse, and while largely keeping their same biology, they may be forced to adapt a more humanoid form. My problem is that I am having trouble with is how to represent a humanoid from a more extreme realm.

Take for example a human-like creature from Dante's 9th circle of hell. My thought is that some variety of alternate evolution could have taken place, where rather than evolving a more insulated body, they instead evolved into a creature with a lower body temperature so they could reduce the amount of energy required to maintain their core body temperature. Perhaps they even developed hair in shades of white, grey, and blue to reflect more energetic wavelengths of light to prevent their body from getting too warm.

Now my question is: for this variety of creature what other traits could one expect a common example of such a creature to exhibit on Earth? For example, since hair and skin color are caused by the same chemicals, would one expect a different common skin color? Would their height and "energy" requirements be greater or less than those of a common human?

I hope this is clearer than my original question. It is kind of difficult for me to put into words.

  • $\begingroup$ Hair color and skin color don't need to be dependent on each other. They could have completely different pigments and/or structural coloration. Skin color will also be heavily influenced by what's underneath it if it's translucent like human skin. So go crazy. $\endgroup$ – Jay Vogler Oct 7 '14 at 4:20
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not quite sure what you are asking here so you might need to be more specific. Hair and Skin pigmentation can pretty much be anything. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Oct 7 '14 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ Although you have tagged this biology it seems more a question of artistic choices at the moment. If what you're seeking is biological plausibility then you will get the answers you seek by adding a lot more detail about what influences you are looking to take into account. At present we have no reasons that they would look anything different from human, since they are already being transformed. Explaining what links they have to their original form and what things are more difficult to change would give answerers something to work with so they can give you the likely consequences. $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Oct 7 '14 at 11:07
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding, by the way... If you edit your question to include more detail, I'd also recommend editing the title to give a bit of extra detail - perhaps mention the Buddhist realms/multiverse. Then you are more likely to capture the interest of people who are specifically interested in your subject matter (bringing you more answers...). $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Oct 7 '14 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ @L'Carpetron It's better than before but it needs a couple more clarifications: Do these realms have different physical laws? You state that "hair and skin color are caused by the same chemicals" which makes me think that you're implying the creature, upon moving to a different realm, will change because the chemicals work differently in that universe - but I'm unsure what it means. If you're asking about biology on worlds resembling metaphysical worlds, rephrase your question that way - it's unclear if you're asking about how they change when moving, or how they'd be in their home realm. $\endgroup$ – mechalynx Oct 8 '14 at 1:16

There are actually a few problems with the concept as you have described them.

First, energy wouldn't necessarily depend on average body temperature, because one could be better insulated. (If you're ok with merely humanoid looks, not true human, an extra layer of fat would be no problem). But if they have the same internal build as humans, then yes, they would need to use more energy to keep their average body temperature. I don't think height has a large effect on average body temperature.

Second, skin and hair color are independent. You can see this in human bodies because when someone stays out in the sun for a long time, their hair gets blonder (it bleaches), but their skin grows darker. Human skin won't naturally have colors other than those produced by melanin (brown, skin is white without the melanin pigment). Hair color is the same way, but different varieties of melanin enable more types of colors. You could introduce new pigments to the alien's body, or use structural coloration to make strange skin colors.


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