I'm currently designing an alien world that has a rich biosphere.

Now, one thing about the lifeforms of this planet is that they have a completely different genetic code than us. Apart from being different, their genetic code has some.. "different settings", than ours. To make this more clear, here on Earth most scientists say that the goal of all lifeforms is to ensure the survival of their own and the next generation.

As for the planet I'm designing, the goal of every lifeform is to ensure the balance of the ecosystem. What do I mean by that: Well for starters, the animals aren't competing with other ones of their species for territory or food. In fact, animals and plants would rather share food, living space, soil for plants etc.
Apart from that, most species on the planet are social creatures and almost no creature is on its own. Even plants are cooperating with each other by sending nutrients to other plants via their "roots". Now on this planet, there is the predator and prey relationship, but the primaryreason for this is so that no species will grow too big in numbers and cause damage to the environment. If a species is on the path to cause damage to the ecosystem on a big scale then the ecosystem will sort of try to "fix" this. Basically, it's like the ecosystem has a mind of its own.

Now, as for how this whole "ecosystem brain" works, I'll explain. First thing I should say, all plant species have neurons. What does that have to do with the ecosystem you ask? You see, as I mentioned earlier, the plants of this planet can communicate with each other to exchange information with each other. This way they know when is a good time to flourish or leave their seeds and also when plant-eating animals are around the area.
Now animals have a way to access this information. For example, plant-eating animals can sense when the plants that they like are ready to eat. Of course, the plants can sense it back so they inform each other that a herbivore is coming. The reason they do this though is not to put out some sort of defense, but in hopes that a nearby carnivore will sense this sort of signal and go to eat the herbivore. So basically these creatures have a way to connect with the rest of the planet.

On this planet, there is also an intelligent lifeform that has developed an advanced civilization. Their species is completely peaceful, they have never driven other species into extinction, they live in balance with their ecosystem and their motive for advancement was purely curiosity and wonder.

Now my question is, could this planet and the function of its ecosystem really exist?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi John. Your question has seen a few tweaks from different users; perhaps most notably, I edited the title of your question to try to make it better summarize the question you're asking. Feel free to Edit further. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Aug 9, 2018 at 14:44
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If they are not competing how did they evolve at all? They could have remained single cells in the primordial soup... $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Aug 9, 2018 at 16:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm not suggesting that Matthew Dave's answer wouldn't be the best, but it is recommended you wait 24 hours before selecting a best answer. We have incredibly creative participants all over the world and human nature is to not bother answering a question that already has a selected answer. Long story short, you can (and often will) miss out on wonderful creativity and insight because you select an answer too early. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 9, 2018 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed with JBH, I was surprised I was selected as answer so early. $\endgroup$ Aug 9, 2018 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


'To make this more clear, here on Earth most scientists say that the goal of all lifeforms is to ensure the survival of their own and the next generation. As for the planet I'm designing, the goal of every lifeform is to ensure the balance of the ecosystem.'

So, how does the genetic code have this 'setting'? Is it merely chemical-based, because if it is, the only setting it can really have is 'make more of itself and more bodies that produce more of itself'. If the genetic code is imbued with some kind of... spooky ethereal directive that's somehow giving the chemical itself intellect, then yes, that makes sense, but if it's just a chemical like our DNA, there's not much in the way of 'intrinsic harmony' that the genetic code itself has.

That being said, most of this behaviour you've mentioned isn't just possible: It's commonplace. That's because, despite DNA's ultimately selfish 'motive' (as much as you can apply a motive to chemicals), co-operation is oftentimes the best way to advance a selfish aim.

This phenomenon is known as 'symbiosis', and stuff like root-based communication, is surprisingly common in the likes of fungi. An ecological hive-mind is not necessarily the case with every species on Earth, but functionally this happens with regularity.

Bee colonies, baboon/savanna herbivores banding together to protect themselves against predators like lions and to share fruity spoils, heck, humans domesticating and breeding animals, all of these are forms of symbiosis where a balance (of sorts) is maintained due to entirely selfish motives.

Essentially, all you're doing is providing a wooey 'benevolence' to genetics (which if it has a mystical origin, fair enough, and if it doesn't... well, it's probably not possible) while the end results are indistinguishable from regular selfish genetics. The humanoids are just a little nicer to nature in your ecosystem.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .