32
$\begingroup$

The species I have created looks eerily humanlike, practically indistinguishable from human except for a reptile-like tail and an exposed brain.

The top portion of the skull is replaced with a glass-like dome, which exposes the brain. The species I created lives on a planet filled with diseases and bacteria that primarily affect the brain, sometimes the physical structure of it but, other times, just the behavior. The glass dome is connected to the skin by a small metal-like ring that glows slightly in the dark.

My question is, is what purpose or advantage would my species have by exposing the brain in a glass dome?

enter image description here

For reference, this is what I mean by “glass dome”, which in the image, the brain is exposed from under the glass dome.

Edit, the glass dome on my species heads aren’t natural, and are surgically added to the head

$\endgroup$
  • 18
    $\begingroup$ Would you mind terribly if I suggested a really funky idea such as the visual sensory organ (retina) become layered around the brain itself, instead of being an independent organ, for much faster response times, and the 'glass' is really a lens that focuses the light on the 'retina'? $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme the Second Mar 2 at 4:00
  • $\begingroup$ When you like being bald you don't want sunburn... $\endgroup$ – user6760 Mar 2 at 4:35
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Providers can't win quatloos if they don't play naked. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Mar 2 at 4:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Notice that the initial answers are only focused on your first question. That tends to happen. Also, it lets us up-vote the best answers to each question separately if they are in separate posts. $\endgroup$ – SRM Mar 2 at 13:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A few years ago there was an article about controlling mice brains with LEDs exposing neurons to flashes of light. The clear glass is obviously to turn them into pod people who can be remotely brainfucked with little lasers on top of all the utility poles. Hats are a capital crime. $\endgroup$ – John O Mar 2 at 19:31

31 Answers 31

85
$\begingroup$

There doesn't need to be any advantage. Your species simply thinks it is aesthetically pleasing.

Look at human history. We do all sorts of strange things in the pursuit of beauty. Depending on the culture we may mutilate our genitalia, ears, feet, neck, and even forehead in order to be more appealing for a wide range of reasons. Most commonly to attract the opposite sex though it doesn't always need to be for this reason. Sometimes we do it out of sheer tradition even long after the point where nobody remembers why we started doing it to begin with.

So to answer your question? It is a cultural practice. Perhaps your species highly values their minds and have taken to showing off the brain in the most direct and literal way possible.So long as they are advanced enough to perform the procedure without a high risk to the individual undergoing the process there wouldn't be a real barrier to it becoming a widely done cosmetic surgery. If it is connected to some form of religious concept it could even be ubiquitous for any individual who reaches a certain age to have it done.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ ‘Hey baby. I hear you want a mate with a great big.. brain.’ $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Mar 2 at 13:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @SRM Well, the answer says that it's a cosmetic procedure they do, not that it evolved. $\endgroup$ – user253751 Mar 2 at 13:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SRM, did we have a reason (other than aesthetics) for the first tattoo or nose piercing? But if you want a reason, how about a clear insert replaced a part of damaged skull, and when the patient’s (something) I proved dramatically, research found that it would work for anyone in the species. $\endgroup$ – WGroleau Mar 2 at 14:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Since the OP clarified that this is an artificial feature that is added surgically, this answer is probably the best one. $\endgroup$ – T. Sar Mar 2 at 19:19
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ "Hey! My eye's are down here!" $\endgroup$ – Hand-E-Food Mar 3 at 0:13
85
$\begingroup$

It is precisely those diseases and bacteria that make the brain need to be visible and, potentially, accessible.

The bacteria and diseases attack the brain from the outside in, and they leave discoloration in their wake. Since they attack the outside protective layers first, this means that if one's brain is visible, the issues can be seen before any symptoms arise. As some of these diseases and bacterias can be extremely problematic but are easy to address if caught early, this has led to making the brain visible.

Further, some of the biologicals are used to the insides of bodies, and are succeptible to ultraviolet light. Having the glass dome allows for the largest produce of ultraviolet light - The sun - to kill these pests. The glow from the ring is also an ultraviolet emitter, and the wavelengths that kill the bacteria are just barely in the visible spectrum, leading to the glow in darkness. It also glows in daylight but it is much, much harder to see.

Going a step further, the early symptoms of some of the diseases might be easy to treat, but they permanently degrade the bone structure of the skull. The skilled and knowledgeable surgeons reinforce much of the skull and replace portions with the glass. This disease has been widespread, so huge numbers of your population have had these surgeries. Children, and those still growing, might not undergo this dome surgery immediately as it would have to be re-sized numerous times, but once they reach an age at which their body stops changing, they must get it since the bone is permanently weakened. They likely have had several surgeries to reinforce the skull in critical areas and prepare for the dome in the future.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Also making the brain visible may mean it is exposed to UV radiation, which is harmful for many kinds of bacteria. $\endgroup$ – Renan Mar 2 at 13:00
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ @Renan Most types of UV radiation don't actually pass through glass, although the fact that some limited types do might still be plausible. hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q12082.html $\endgroup$ – Southpaw Hare Mar 2 at 15:11
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @SouthpawHare While this is a good point for normal household glass, the UV lights used to kill germs are made out of something that does let UV-C light through. Specifically high purity silica glass (fused silica SiO2) and sapphire (Al2O3). materion.com/resource-center/newsletters/…. The bigger problem is that 99% of UV-C light is absorbed by the atmosphere. The lack of natural UV-C light on Earth is why bacteria never evolved to resist it; so, it is unlikely any bacteria on a planet could not resist it's own sun's UV rays. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Mar 2 at 16:21
  • 37
    $\begingroup$ Any UV light that was dangerous to bacteria or microbes would also be dangerous to the very delicate brain cells. One of the purposes of our skin is to produce pigments that absorb the UV before it gets to the delicate livings cells underneath. If the glass dome permits UV transmission, you need to wave a few more wands to explain why their brains are somehow immune to what should otherwise be very dangerous radiation exposure. $\endgroup$ – J... Mar 2 at 16:37
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The number one reason species do weird things with their bodies is sex. From peacock feathers to muscle bound fitness freaks. It’s nice to know your prospective mate has a healthy brain. $\endgroup$ – candied_orange Mar 3 at 0:36
36
$\begingroup$

A species, whose immune system can’t reliably protect itself against bacteria and viruses on its own planet, wouldn’t survive long enough to develop glassware, let alone brain surgery, let alone biocompatible materials for the skull-port.

An invasive mimic attacked their planet and threatened to wipe them out complete as a species. Every test the reptile-tailed humanoids came up with to identify the mimic failed. The mimc could exactly copy their blood, skin, respiratory and digestive systems. But, the mimic couldn’t duplicate their brain. The mimic’s brain looks diffent — like cottage cheese had sex with a Rumba different.

Too ensure their species survival, they all had these viewports installed in their skulls to show the are true . All non-viewport folk were hunted down and killed and eaten. To this day, once a grows out to adulthood they have the sunroof installed.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I get DND Intellect Devourer vibes...I like it. $\endgroup$ – IT Alex Mar 3 at 16:51
28
$\begingroup$

Their brain can produce additional energy from sunlight. It might even be the real-world photosynthesis mechanism applied to the brain (a green brain with chlorophylls).

I've found this amazing visual representation (that can be interpreted as a photosynthesizing brain):

enter image description here
Source: https://www.sott.net/image/s14/287378/full/download.jpg

The alien species need additional energy for the high neural activity. They are smarter than humans. Additionally, they might need the additional energy to fight with the diseases.

Here is a relevant excerpt from a scientific article:

This regulation is especially critical to the central nervous system (CNS) where energy consumption is highly dynamic. Within the brain, increased neuronal activity drives increased energy consumption and compensatory metabolic and vasculature changes in turn enhance neuronal function (Roy and Sherrington, 1890).

While making up only a small fraction of our total body mass, the brain represents the largest source of energy consumption—accounting for over 20% of total oxygen metabolism. Of this, it is estimated that neurons consume 75%–80% of energy produced in the brain (Hyder et al., 2013).

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00216/full
Brain Energy and Oxygen Metabolism: Emerging Role in Normal Function and Disease
Watts Michelle E., Pocock Roger, Claudianos Charles

Addition:

You've provided an update that says "The dome isn’t natural, and is surgically added". I can provide some reasons that can justify my solution as well. They are born with a biologically transparent skull with a protective layer for brain to utilize the sunlight. The layer might not be strong enough and might be vulnerable to some of the diseases (or it can become more vulnerable in time). Thus, they surgically reinforce the skull with a strong transparent material. (It can be some sort of super glass). The material could block ultraviolet light which can be harmful to the brain. (In the real-world, in photosynthesis, plants use the visible light. They don't use the UV light). Also, the biological transparent layer might cover a small area so they make the transparent layer bigger to utilize sunlight more efficiently.

You can even think of similar but different scenarios. They weren't born with a transparent skull. They enhance the brain to utilize sunlight (they biologically/genetically alter the brain to perform photosynthesis or a similar process that would utilize sunlight).


Bonus:

  • Barreleye fish was the first real-world example that came to my mind but their transparent skull is for increasing the field of vision of their tubular eyes.

enter image description here
https://www.mbari.org/barreleye-fish-with-tubular-eyes-and-transparent-head/

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ That fish is weird. Nature is weird. $\endgroup$ – Andon Mar 2 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ As the science-based tag is present, I'm gonna be that guy and point out that neural tissue that also doubles as photosynthetic (or whatever form of solar power) tissue probably isn't very good at being neural tissue. In fact, trying to make a super smart race that uses photosynthesis is going the wrong direction. Solar radiation cannot produce enough energy for that purpose. There is a good reason that animals don't use photosynthesis. The whole "point" of eating plants (or herbivores, to go to the next step) is that you're concentrating that diffuse energy, and thus you can have a brain. $\endgroup$ – Harabeck Mar 4 at 22:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Harabeck: Thanks for the feedback. I can provide some more details. It doesn't necessarily have to be part of cerebral cortex. It can be part of dura mater or even a new layer for the energy production. Additionally, I didn't expect them to have super intelligence, just smarter than humans. Even humans can be smarter than others if they have more grey matter or higher neural activity in certain regions. Also, there is a half-animal, half-plant organism called "eastern emerald elysia" and they can carry out photosynthesis. So, it is not completely impossible for an animal to evolve that way. $\endgroup$ – ermanen Mar 5 at 4:09
16
$\begingroup$

Natural skulls just aren't big enough

This species developed a means of enhancing their intelligence by increasing the size of their brains, but a natural skull just did not have enough room to support their larger brains. Now, there's no saying the expanded skull cage has to be made of glass, but if you're going to expand your skull, you might as well do it in style. Glass has additional advantages in that it is not prone to bacterial growth like plastic, and does not rust or tarnish like metal. It's waterproof, airtight, and unaffected by most corrosive chemicals, and lasts for centuries if protected from chipping and/or shattering. (Though such damage could be repaired if necessary. Think about how people repair/replace car windshields when they get cracked.)

Now the one problem with glass is that unlike bone, it does not expand as you age. It's possible that a child might go through several upgrades to their glass brain-case as they mature. They may receive additional brain enhancement treatments at certain times that coincide with this. Possibly some of these pre-adult brain-cases might not be glass because they're considered to be temporary. But once a child reaches their full adult growth, they get their full-sized glass skull-cap. It's considered a rite of passage.

There may even be scholars who continue to increase their brain (and skull) sizes later in life. They may have even larger heads and be respected as wise elders among the community. The wisest of them all may have a brain case so large he/she cannot even support its weight and must sit on a throne with special support structure around it. This individual would be considered the wisest among all members of the species, and would be consulted as an oracle. They may even have an extended lifespan and be the oldest living member of the species as well. (Just don't let Samus Aran get near them...)

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ like toy dogs: seeker.com/… $\endgroup$ – WendyG Mar 3 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ the primary benefit of glass here would be to see if the brain is growing too large for its current dome $\endgroup$ – Richie Frame Mar 4 at 19:08
12
$\begingroup$

One word: bragging.

Sexual selection tends to boost some "proxies" of the real fitness (see red lips). How about exposing your primary survival instrument? How about lensing it with some glass to look bigger?

And yes, humans can expose their brain with the current technology or very little R&D above it. We almost routinely replace damaged scull parts w/ metal or plastic. No, it won't be completely safe, but the beauty surgery or tattoos are not completely safe either.

p.s. I am sure you have to think about some light filtering or at least wear a hat outside. Light is damaging to most tissues and the heat management will be complex.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
8
$\begingroup$

What you are describing is not that far from Artificial cranial deformations as we know it here on Earth.

enter image description here

Now there can be several reasons for this:

  • Religious reasons : Maybe this species believes in a Creator or superior species and wants to ressemble them.

  • Social status : A large, elongated brain is a trait associated with nobility. Thus, the members of this species desire to deform their cranial structure in order to achieve this look. In this scenario, the glass dome is here to provide the expected shape.

More technical reasons could be:

  • To provide more room for brain growth: This species' intelligence has transcended what its natural body is capable of holding. Their brains are stimulated (either through training or chemical interventions) so much that the cranial structure becomes a limiting factor. Hence the glass dome, which is there to provide some additional space.

  • Photosynthesis: to provide more energy to the brain or stimulate cell division

  • Or maybe this species has discovered another sense, or developed brain-to-brain communication, and their natural cranium would interfere with it.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Because the brain is the essence of the being, not the body.

When the body wears out, or becomes damaged beyond repair, that species can transplant the brain into another body. The glass is just protection for the brain, instead of bone. This makes transplanting the brain into another body easier and safer. You'll have to decide where these extra bodies come from. It could be clones, a species of lower life form, or even grown to order in a lab/factory.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

This used to be a genetic defect. Something like hemophilia in the Romanov Dynasty. Something very rare, killing most people who had the gene until it developed strongly through inbreeding in a royal line. Royalty unlike the peasants could spend their whole life indoors, and would not quickly die from brains sunburn.

Unlike the Romanov this dynasty was as successful as the British. The sun never set on the clear skull empire. Having a clear skull was like actually having blue blood.

The moment the first doctor offered the first procedure to make someone's skull clear, people were lining up around the block. It was a chance to make yourself divine royalty. Unlike the natural clear skulls, this is done with UV proof glass. Anyone could have it and still go outside. Soon this fad exploded and anyone who was anyone had to have the glass plate in their skull.

In modern day the empire has dwindled to ashes. There is still a queen, but she is a figurehead over a parliament. Most colonies are now inducement. Even the royal family has now received genetic treatment for their condition, and children born with clear bones and skin are very rare, and the defect is generally repaired at birth. Still the one thing that remains is that anyone in the middle class and up installs glass domes in their heads. Maybe there is some rebellious youth who don't do it, or get black glass to show that their mind is not exposed to the world. But this tradition is not going away fast.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

They need sunlight Similar to Vitamin D, or photosynthesis. The constant diseases and bacteria present on the planet made their skin evolve to absorb much less, and be much more repellent to such absorption, with the downside that it made it much more difficult for them to absorb sunlight through their skins. This lowered their life expectancy -significantly- over time. By building a glass dome around their brains, they can let the positive sunlight through much more effectively, powering their brains and bodies, while still keeping all the bacteria's and viruses out.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

To have advanced conversations with each other, they syncronize their brains together using optical data transfer send and recieve and they hold their heads together.

Your species makes use of cybernetic implants, which gives them 500 terabytes of memory, mathlab, photographic memory, galactic maps and other super-powers. Only issue is, the fastest way to upload and download their brain information to share with other aliens is optical photon data transfer, in fact the top of their brain glows data transfer photons if you smash the screen and hit some of the electronics. Despite being able to transfer information optically by bringing their heads together, and by uploading to the mainframe ports, they are mostly obsessed with galactic dominance and they relish human brains farci/stuffed with a local variety of avocado from their planet.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I would add it also assists in their artificial telepathy. Much like phone manufacturers would prefer an all glass phone to aid reception, their skull was too thick a physical barrier to accomplish long distance "person" to "person" communication in this manner. The glass allows them communicate smaller amounts of info instantly, silently, brain to brain $\endgroup$ – TCooper Mar 2 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ I guess your version is artificial telepathy too, but I mean over longer distances, each one acting as a node of a decentralized network to communicate among their species, not just for touching, high volume, optical transfers $\endgroup$ – TCooper Mar 2 at 23:03
4
$\begingroup$

Emotions are conveyed by tiny fluctuations in the brain's shape, colour, brightness. Just as a minuscule narrowing of the eyes might convey a great deal between humans, a similar scale of change in brain display might convey as much to your species. This subtle visual communication of mood or emotion would very likely be undetectable to other species.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

Cartesian Dualism / Religious Fanaticism.

How else would their souls travel to heaven upon the death of the body? Supreme exodus blocked by impermeable membrane is not for those who truly believe. Finally, as a sign of devotion to their creator they bear all so that their minds can be easily touched by god.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

Because they simply do not have a skull covering their brains. Their brains aren't just brains but also their sixth sense and require visual openness in order to work. The glass is technological protection against diseases without limiting their sixth sense.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ would not having a skull covering their brains be kind of... dangerous? As in the species would die out? $\endgroup$ – Gensys LTD Mar 3 at 13:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not necessarely... peoples eyes are not fully covered in skull and most people don't go blind...Same could go for the brains I guess... I would imagine their kind will be a bit more carefull than us and won't go and attempt backflips etc... $\endgroup$ – user1841243 Mar 3 at 15:16
3
$\begingroup$

If the effect of the Diseases are visible, then the glass dome could provide an extremely good sexual selection tool, and the species would evolve to consider it attractive - if you want, even the 'glass top' itself could be natural to the species (Although it probably wouldn't be actual glass in that case*).

This is similar to how humans have come to evaluate symmetric faces as attractive; asymmetric facial features correlate with diseases and other genetic issues. Symmetric features then suggest a lack of such diseases.

If such brain diseases are common, and have been so for a long time, then being able to select partners without such diseases would be a strong evolutionary pressure.

Humans - and most other creatures on earth have evolved thick skulls because that helps protect our brains, which increases longevity and thus increases the probability we will have children. With your species, all you need is for the diseases to be a higher evolutionary risk factor than damaging their brain through physical force -- and evolution will have done the rest.

*In this case, the species might have evolved somewhat transparent skulls, and considered being able to see brains clearly as highly attractive. And as a result, replacing the top of their somewhat transparent skulls with completely transparent glass could be common practice.

Some of the older answers have elements of this answer - but I realised they combined very nicely, and wanted to post an answer that pointed that out - hopefully clearly.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

It changes color according to their emotional state, so they make it visible to enhance communication.

"Stay out of Genloo's way. He's been red-brained all day."

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldnt call it an advantage, you're giving up information involuntarily to a potential adversary. $\endgroup$ – Gensys LTD Mar 3 at 13:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd say that depends on the culture. In many cases it's more important to communicate clearly and unambiguously than it is to keep secrets. Also, Nature does it: youtube.com/watch?v=u-YztEA6NI8 . $\endgroup$ – Matt Timmermans Mar 3 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ Also, the powerful don't need to mask their emotions, so maybe it's a status statement. Maybe the "master of his own house" needs to wear a head covering when he goes to work in a subservient position. $\endgroup$ – Matt Timmermans Mar 3 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, well that's the point - voluntary emotion expression is useful, involuntary is, in general - not. But it is a valid idea :) $\endgroup$ – Gensys LTD Mar 3 at 17:30
2
$\begingroup$

Parasites & Cyborg Infiltrators

Two possibilities:
1) The species live on a world where parasitic infiltration of the brain is commonplace and essentially unavoidable. To combat this, they routinely have to open up the skull and perform brain surgery to remove some gribbly horror from their grey matter. To tell when this is necessary, they just added a window. Now they can see the tendrils of the little monsters and know when to visit the doctor, as opposed to being quietly chemically manipulated into a stupor until their friends notice.

2) The species has faced (or is still facing) a threatening race of robots and cyborgs which like to work by implanting cybernetics in the brains of unwitting subjects and using them as meat-puppets. This can range all the way up to replacing the entire brain with an artificial replacement. Having a window in their skull means it's possible to see these cybernetic enhancements and a lot harder to infiltrate by that means.

In both cases, a transparent skull provides confidence that the person is who they say they are and can be trusted.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

I see four possible reasons:

  1. Sex Appeal If your specie value intelligence above everything else, having your brain exposed could be a way to attract more partners. It's size, the amount of sulci (the crevices on the surface), or some other physical aspect could be directly linked to intellingence in that spiece, making it easy to see who is the better candidate for reproduction. This doesn't explain why they would do it on a child.
  2. Identification In our society, we mostly use facial features to recognise each other. Your specie might have extremely similar features, making it harder to tell members of the same family apart, or people of the same gender and age. Their brain shape and appearence, on the other hand, is unique and they are keen to recognise them. This could have ramifications on how the criminal enterprises work, to cover it or make it look different
  3. Medical reasons Assuming most of those cerebral diseases you were talking about had visible symptoms on the brain surface (more likely in case of parasites), this would make it much easier to get a diagnosis. But a specie so technologically advanced to be able to do this would probably have better and less invasive ways to check. (Don't forget skulls grow too. That means that during their lives, especially during their development years, they would need to replace the glass quite often to fit it to the grown skull. It's just easier to do a checkup). Not very realistic, IMO
  4. IT'S NOT GLASS It looks like glass, but isn't. It might be a device to transfer informations: upload knowledge directly to the brain, download memories, even work as medical device to constantly treat the diseases mentioned above. It being a device explains why they go through the operation several times in their lifetime to replace it while growing (as mentioned above), why it's clear (kind of material, or to make it easier to see if it's damaged), and even why it glows (has an energy source, and works just like LEDs on our devices to show they are working properly). I would go with this. It give them REAL meaning and works for all ages.
| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

During times of intellectual stress they can absorb brain matter from another individual and use it for their own cognition. They have a regimented social structure that governs how and why this may be done. Certain of their social classes are required to wear signs reading "In case of emergency break glass" in their language.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

The race needs constant airflow within brain, both to keep it "fed" with oxygen, and cooled down, due to generations of extensive genetic engineering that caused the race extremaly smart they became incapable to provide oxygen and sustain brain temperature at safe levels without additional surgeries. Surgeries might consist exposing the brain and adding small organelle able to provide oxygen from atmospheric air directly to the brain.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

We humans tend to see what we know in everything. When we see a humanoid head with wrinkled mass pointing out of it we assume its the brain. In fact, it is a penis, or well the closest to penis we can get. Aliens "shows off" their reproduction organs to find a mate. Also, not sure how many sexes there are but each have their own "brain", that for a human looks the same, but easily recognizible by members of the alien spiecies.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I like this idea, rather than neural tissue, it's simply a large wrinkled fat-deposit sitting on top of their actual skull $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Mar 3 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Ruadhan fat might be too heavy - alien could broke his or her neck while moving head too fast, I would suggest some spongy material, empty, or even filled with some lighter-than-air* gas. (*depends if air is what their atmosphere contains) $\endgroup$ – internetofmine Mar 4 at 12:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Depends how their neck is built! $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Mar 4 at 14:23
1
$\begingroup$

They need, or want, to do repeated laser brain surgery. Having a glass dome would mean they can access the brain without actually having to cut open the skull every time they need to do so.

They might be modififying how the race thinks, or bypassing different brain centers to optimize their thinking. In essence they are trying to evolve faster than evolution lets them.

The reason why it's a repeated process might be because the brain heals itself over time and they need to readjust it constantly or because it's in such an experimental stage that they need to alter things that didn't go as planned to avoid side effects that only show up after a while.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Rule Of Cool. Plus, only the rich aliens do this - your average everyday Joe Six-Pack alien can't afford the surgery. And it has to be done after the skull has grown to full adult size - or done multiple times - so a child alien who's got a skull window is definitely the product of rich, status-conscious alien parental units.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Only real advantage is that you can see the brain.

Why would you want to see the brain? Because there is something important that can be seen on the surface of the brain at a glance.

What type of important thing? Since the window is artificial it must be some abnormal condition. Since it can be seen at a glance it must be something of imminent interest to everyone. Such as really scary disease, the transmission of which can be prevented if you see who is infected.

Is there such a disease? Not in real life but in movies with zombies. It destroys mental processes which probably causes visible changes to the brain and spreads by bites so if you forewarned both your life expectancy and control of the disease go up.

Is that possible? Probably, kind of. There are fungi infecting ants and insects that take over the brain and diseases such as rabies affect behaviour and spread by bites.

So just add a disease that infects the brain with visible symptoms (if you can see the brain) and gives its victims a compulsion to attack and bite others so the disease can spread but is otherwise not readily apparent. The infected would be just as cunning and agile as before. They'd just have no interest in things other than biting people. Being able to visually check if others are infected before they come close would have value.

So just add a brain window and nod when you meet people.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could be that to treat the disease you need immediate and repeated access to the brain. So species that are "infected" have had treatments (thus a brain covering) and those who were able to remain uninfected (rich?) don't have them. $\endgroup$ – Nathan Goings Mar 4 at 20:50
0
$\begingroup$

Probably a sign of higher order, or something along the lines. Maybe exposing the brain is a sign of truth, versus sheltering the skull, which implied inferiority, for lack of better words. T

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could you expand on this idea? Right now your answer isn't very elaborate $\endgroup$ – Thymine Mar 3 at 9:52
0
$\begingroup$

Some of the species undergo a surgery to expose their Pineal Gland / Third Eye to see more of the electromagnetic spectrum beyond "normal" light.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

These are the descendants of the world we know from Idiocracy.

President Camacho was injured in a motorcycle accident that resulted in him having to have the glass dome installed. Politicians decided that the surgery would have to be offered to any citizen upon demand because to do otherwise would be discriminatory.

Naturally, as a free government service, the appeal to the average citizen was undeniable and rapidly adopted.

In the generations since, the reason has been lost. Likewise the reason for the lizard tail is lost in the mists of time.

These vanities will disappear when the robotic surgeons finally break down.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

A look from the other side: The "natural state" is to have an exposed brain.

Let's say a long time ago, before medicine was advanced, a small part of the population of this species (that had covered skulls at the time) was born with a defect: their skull never closed on top and the brain was exposed to the elements. Mind you, at that time we didn't have so many diseases, so it was something a lot more maneageble.

Strange thing was, people with this "defect" actually lived longer, had better reflexes and had more "intelligence" than the other. Apparently having direct exposure to sunlight was very good for the brain.

Overtime, natural selection ensured that their descendants outnumbered "normal" people descendants and it bacame the norm.

Nowadays they just cover the brain with a glass case to protect it from the elements and all the bacteria present in the world.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Hyper-advanced blood-brain barrier to protect the brain from the bacteria and diseases.

If the “bacteria and pathogens that affect the brain” does so by burrowing through the skull into the brain, then it’s likely that the creatures are selected to use a material that is hard and resistant toward being bored through as it’s skull.

And it just happened that glass, or silica, is one of the hardest, most-resilient-toward-burrowing material that can be deposited biologically—diatoms use it to stop predators and viruses alike, and certain marine animals use it as bones.

So your race uses glass as it’s skull to protect it’s brain from infection as it’s both inert, airtight and water-resistant, blocking out the pathogens from burrowing into it’s brain. The glass may be microscopically porous (less than 40nm in size) in order to exchange air and nutrients with the rest of it’s body, but still small enough to stop bacteria and viruses from entering or trying to burrow through.

The creature’s optical receptors may also be located on the surface of the brain, which function as the creature’s mean of vision, using the glass dome as the lens. The outer edge may bioluminesce in order to provide lighting in the dark.

The race may be able to control the glow, possibly to communicate with others of it’s kind, which may be faster or slower than human speech.

Also, silica is transparent to UV light, which kills bacteria, viruses and other microbes. If they bath in the sun, the transparent skull may also allow some of the pathogens to be killed, further increasing fitness of the creature itself within said conditions.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

enter image description here

1) Stylo Stylo - For Style , fashion statement.

2) Attract or show off of bigger brain than others.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.