So I have been working on world-building regarding a humanoid race living in a sheltered archipelago. The archipelago is sheltered from the open sea by the edge of a mountainous, densely forested continent.

I am satisfied that I have accounted for the dense fog/mist existence in various decisions I made about their environment, culture (ie communication, clothing, etc).

I am really struggling with deciding on morphological and anatomical based changes this culture may develop. I can't decide how things like skin, eyes, etc might be adapted for an environment that 40% of the time covered in dense fog and 40% by blankets of moving mist.

Any pointers would be appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ Have you never seen a person from Great Britain? ($\leftarrow$ That is a joke. The serious base of the joke is that the question does not indicate the timespan of which we are talking. The question does say "culture", which means that we are speaking of timespans measured in centuries, or a handful of millennia at the most. Then the answer is simple and disappointing: the lifespan of a culture is much, very much too short to have any effect on the physical aspect of the members of that culture.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 14, 2020 at 11:48
  • $\begingroup$ I log back into Stack Exchange after playing two hours of Persona 4 Golden and this is the first question I see... $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Jun 14, 2020 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, well I have been working on the background of this worldbuilding idea for at least 4months. It's been 1000's of generations since they migrated from the nearest civilization, much like our world their history is built on millennia of oral histories. They do trade and provide services with two distinct civilizations, both with their own distinct differences. ie the culture and history lore notes, (i have written as their baselines) reflect how their environment (climate, resource.. ) impacted their culture (views, communication, the value they put in resources, etc). - Vega $\endgroup$
    – Vega
    Jun 14, 2020 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ It was more of a question of (would it be plausible) - If a society lived in such a foggy environment for millennials, would forced adaption occur? Adapted eyesight? $\endgroup$
    – Vega
    Jun 14, 2020 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ Right, let's say 1000 generations. The Egyptians have lived in hot and sun-drenched Egypt for much longer than 1000 generations. Britons have lived in cold, rainy and foggy Great Britain for much longer than 1000 generations. What "morphological and anatomical based changes" have occurred in Egyptians and Britons? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 14, 2020 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


Edit: This is not 1000 generations stuff. This is "crawled from the sea into a perpetually foggy land and evolved as such" stuff. For 1000 generations I'd imagine the main adaption is a resistence to Pneumonia and other illnesses caused by breathing damp cold air.

For a real world example (urban legend?) Kenya is very high up and has a lower oxygen density. So the people there have adapted to have more efficient lungs.

Frog Skin:

Frogs can breath through their skin, at the cost of needing to stay wet or else they suffocate. They are very happy in your misty environment since it means they don't need to stay near a puddle at all times. Your humanoids have a similar slimy skin that lets them absorb oxygen -- not only through their lungs -- but through every part of their body. This leads to greater physical endurance. The lungs are still there as a backup but if the air suddenly dries out they become slow and lethargic.

Outside noses:

Noses are similar to lungs in that they must stay damp to work. That's why the smell tissue for the nose is inside the body. It's also why a dog's nose is damp. But if the air is always damp you could have a big rumpledy-dumpledy (extra surface area) bunch of smelling tissue on the outside of your body.

Reduced Eyesight: Since visibility is so limited their eyesight never developed and so they rely more on smell.

  • $\begingroup$ the main adaption is a resistence to Pneumonia and other illnesses caused by breathing damp cold air Diseases are not caused by breathing cold and/or damp air. $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2020 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG That is a matter of perspective. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jun 14, 2020 at 14:13
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    $\begingroup$ @StephenG For example you can get sick from not eating anything for a few days. And I'll admit the actual cause of the illness is germs that were already there, coupled with a weakened metabolism, and blah blah blah. But it's still accurate to say you got sick from not eating anything. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jun 14, 2020 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG Same with breathing fog all day every day. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jun 14, 2020 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG caused? no. Exacerbated? absolutely. My wife just had a nasty bacteria surgically removed from her ear that's strongly exacerbated by a high-humidity environment. In other words, her diabetes (high blood sugar, aka food) coupled with our poorly vented bathroom (high steam) led to a serious problem. The steam didn't cause the problem, it exacerbated it by creating an ideal breeding environment. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jun 14, 2020 at 16:30

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