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Specifically, arthropod eyes that are neatly in their respective sockets, much like the human eyes. Could that work?

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I'm mistaken. In the review queue, I thought this was a new answer to an existing question, not a question itself. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Aug 5, 2018 at 13:54

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The humanoid species would have to be humanoid in terms of general morphology and their body plan, but their biology and evolutionary history would have to be radically different from mammalian humans like ourselves.

The closest guess would be if humanoid creatures evolved from arthropod ancestors and retained compound and multiple eyes like many arthropods. Since alien planets can be expected to have radically different evolutionary histories even assuming they evolved from arthropod-like ancestors is likely to be wrong.

Vision is one of the commonest biological features that arises from convergent evolution. It has risen over a dozen times in widely divergent phyla. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that humanoids could have evolved from a different lifeform that retained a version of a vision system that resembles arthropodal vision.

Please note arthropods have a range of different vision systems. Bees, flies and butterflies have compound eyes, while different species of spiders can have multiple eyes. These variations if they occur in this humanoid species with arthropod eyes could give them a very strange appearance.

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You can evolve anything, given enough time. But this seems particularly unlikely.

Arthropod eyes fit with the exoskeleton body plan. Vertebrate eyes are in nearly all ways better. The lens quality is better, we can see with better resolution. We can rotate our eyes so we only need a small fovea. Arthropod eyes are either low resolution, or take up a substantial portion of the skull.

While I could imagine the humanoid evolving into a blind worm and then re-evolving compound eyes, given a billion years or so, I can't imagine a billion years of evolution leaving the humanoid unchanged, except for the eyes.

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  • $\begingroup$ Re-evolving is quite difficult... You don't see that very often. Dollo's rule of irreversibility seems to apply for the most species $\endgroup$
    – JulPal
    Aug 5, 2018 at 20:21

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