Evolution is generally seen as an arms race. Those that are most adept at surviving to pass on their genetic material, others die or at least fail to mate. However, in the case I am looking at, there is no real threat to the population's survival. At least not enough to cause any significant short term pressure on the population.


For universe I am constructing, there exists a race of powerful beings that naturally emit a powerful energy that previously did not exist in the universe at the levels these creatures emit it. To draw a comparison, their energy release is akin to human release of green house gasses. It exists and is produced in nature, but now these guys are emitting it at a higher than normal levels and it is damaging. Now for various reasons, they can't get back to their own dimension and they are the only sentient life in the universe as it is very early in the universe's creation. They are also selfishly irresponsible and keep producing little energy emitters of their own (generally at a rate of 2.3 per bonded for life pair. At least according to existing census information). The plan is to have all (or most) sentient life evolve from these guys, but in order to not destroy their new home they would have to do something about their emissions issues (these emissions are natural so ideally they would "evolve away").


Is there a potential parallel for this in real life? I ask because I am attempting to keep hand waving to a minimum by basing the phenomenon on a real world example.

  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure I see what is unclear about this. Creatures produce a gas that is bad for the environment as part of their biological processes. This gas COULD destroy the environment, is there a way that the creatures could evolve to modify the emission, or eliminate it all together so as not to damage the environment. Its still about survival but in a much less specific way than standard ideas of survival of the fittest. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Apr 28, 2015 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ Is it damaging to them? The farting race that is. If you have two groups of farters, and one farts more for some reason, the more-farters may die of farts, leaving only less-farters. Lather, rinse, repeat. $\endgroup$
    – Resonating
    Apr 29, 2015 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I think I fell into the trap of only seeing it from the one direction. Now that I see the answers and comments it feels really intuitive -.- $\endgroup$
    – Jake
    Apr 29, 2015 at 10:55

2 Answers 2


Sure - Camouflage tends to evolve all over the place.

These creatures are emitting large amounts of energy. Energy is detectable, which means that it's counter-productive for them (things have to detect you to eat you). If they prey on each other, containing their energy release will give them a survival advantage over other members of their species.

Additionally, presumably this is waste energy of some sort that doesn't do anything useful. Evolving a more efficient system that doesn't emit waste energy means they can consume less for the same benefit, giving them a another survival advantage.


It looks like it's time for some ecological engineering! It seems that this is essentially an invasive species problem. These creatures are not native to that world, and are harming it. Of course, they are sentient, so it is more like the problems we humans face with global warming.

Here are some, not always viable, solutions:

  1. Introduce something which consumes the "energy" coming from these people. This is basically the rationale behind people encouraging tree planting. Also that of using biowaste to make fuels.
  2. Introduce Population Control, via predator or homicide. For intelligent species such as the one you propose, this is super immoral. It will, however, solve your energy-emissions problem. This has other problems, like the predator killing off your population, or preferring to eat something native.
  3. Have life evolve to take advantage of this new energy source. If these thinking being give off energy, they could form a link in some sort of energy "food source."
  4. Genetically engineer your own population to not express the gene to emit the energy. This is just hijacking evolution, but it may solve your problem.

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