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This is a question for an alien species.

Is there anyway to scientifically justify having two separate beings/creatures that depend on each other for life? In other words, two separate bodies that adjust to each other. When one is weakened, its partner’s life is tapped to heal it.

How would that health be shared if not physically touching?

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  • $\begingroup$ Could they require periodic contact with each other? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 4 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ No. I’m imagining it as subconscious bond. Maybe their atoms or molecules. But I really have no idea what science could support that. $\endgroup$ – Cherry Oct 4 at 22:32
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There is a lot of symbyotic organisms - lichen, humans and their gastrointestinal microbiota, and so on.

For example, there is cold climate with some pathogen present in atmosphere of planet in your story.

One of symbiotic creatures in your story breathes away antidot against this pathogen, and this creature is small and docile. While other creature - is big and fluffy, and it carries the first one like breathing apparatus, constantly warming it in its hands and feeding it when it can. Without each other small breather creature and big fluffy one cannot exists. Big one will be poisoned by pathogen in atmosphere, small one will starve and freeze.

Or, for example, there is big, island size jellyfish like creature, slowly floating on surface on ocean. And there is full tribe of smaller rodent like creatures living on its surface. The rodents cannot swim, and they feed on parasites living in jellyfish. If rodents stops eating jellyfish parasites, jellyfish dies and rodents drowns.

Also there can be symbiosis between big Mycelium, that pumps nutritional materials from deep underground, and forest above it. Mycelium cannot digest nutritional materials, but plants - can, so mycelium feeds plants, plants feeds animals, animals dies and mycelium devours animals corpses.

There is symbiosis between animals and plants. Plants makes O2 and edible matter from water, minerals, CO2 and animals by-products (manure and urine), while animals feeds on plants and spread plants seeds (for example, via eating fruit and dropping seeds around). Plants cannot live without animals, animals cannot leave without plants.

I think, if you read links i provided, you'll have lot of inspiration. But its all hard science, no telepathy, no magic...

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@vodolaz095 gives a good answer but I don't think it answers the question you had in mind.

If I interpret your question correctly:

You are not looking at a standard symbiotic relationship where two creatures cannot survive without the other (which is what @vodolaz095 was answering) but a relationship where if one member of the partnership is damaged or weakened, the other will be weakened to heal the other one until they reach some kind of balance.

In the case where the second interpretation of your question is correct, the answer is probably not.

The only way I can see it working is if the creatures are actually colonial life forms. This is where a creature is actually made up of several individual, separate life forms (wiki: modular life forms). In that case, some of the individual components detach from one colony organism and merge into the other. The trick to this method is figuring out a way that evolution would develop this technique. It seems more likely that evolution would favor the stronger organism absorbing the parts of the weakened organism.

I don't see any other way of doing it without some form of non-scientific energy transfer. If that fits your story better; be free, throw off the clothing of science and just run through town with it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that's exactly the right interpretation of the question. $\endgroup$ – Cherry Oct 5 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ In terms of evolution, maybe the mother can transfer her health to her children. Giving the creature more chances of prospering. The Mother and Children are forever linked. If she lives, they live. If she dies, they no longer have the protection, but they are linked to the new generation of offspring, and so on and so forth. $\endgroup$ – Cherry Oct 5 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Cherry, like I said, the trouble is getting the "healing from one to the other." Physical transmission of cells (or larger components) is the only scientific way I can think of doing it. If it can only be done from mother (or father) to child then it makes evolution sense and would reduce the risk of rejection. Though for the father it is more efficient to make more offspring (his investment is less). They still need physical contact for it though. $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Oct 9 at 22:45
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I am going to take a slightly different approach and suggest this alien race is actually a really advanced AI, loaded into an android. The beings are paired at the creation and are able to share processing power wirelessly as needed. (Maybe they are quantum entangled if they need to be far apart) this is done so that if one is injured or needs to be upgraded the other can do the processing required to keep both AI entities alive. Of course as one body is now maintaining two consciences it is severely hindered and unable to function as it normally would until the second body is restored/healed/upgraded.

This answer requires you to accept a sufficiently advanced AI as being alive, but from a science standpoint it stands up a little better than most biological explanations. If you are really wanting biological aliens you could probably say that two of them are psychically tuned together and they share a connection that way to get much the same solution. It is just less scientifically grounded in a biological creature than a constructed AI.

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Ok. I think I’ve got one. This is a stretch, but...

Imagine a species whose brains are multiple separate modules throughout the body. Each module goes computation for local body part and sends info to central brain. But instead of using nerves, this species developed intrabody radio for faster coordination than nerves can provide.

For the most part, these are low-power transmissions, and individuals in a community unconsciously use different frequencies.

Now imagine two individuals are born whose brains use a high-power transmitter and who don’t have a wide range of frequencies to use. When one of them, Alpha, thinks heavily, it clouds the channel of the other, Beta. Beta literally cannot hear nemselves think! Nir appendages become uncoordinated, nir breathing erratic, and nir speech slurred. Beta’s brain modules try to compensate by boosting its internal signal. That overpowers Alpha, who now goes into decline.

The whole process sloshes back and forth until they get out of each other’s range. And they get very hungry burning calories to power the amped radios.

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