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Silicon is abundant, let's say life forms when the planet is still mostly fire and volcanoes. High temperatures and no oxygen, perfect for silicon based life to be able to form.

Let's say then the planet cools down and carbon based lifeforms start forming and they bring oxygen on the planet and new fauna.

Would silicon based life be able to survive and adapt to a cold planet full of oxygen?

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    $\begingroup$ Well...we know carbon based life uses oxygen as the oxidizing agent to produce energy. What does a silicon based lifeform use? Judging from the responses in this thread, the two are probably incompatible. worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/39278/… $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 20 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ I have some experience with carbon-based lifeforms, having been one occasionally. But I have never met a silicon-based lifeform, thus cannot comment on their needs, habitat or culture. Could the poster please elucidate on these matters? Just what is a silicon-based lifeform like, what environment do they require, what are their political leanings, and just how developed is their fashion sense? $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Jan 21 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ @PcMan you are basically asking me to describe on details a world with dozens of billions life forms, try answering your own questions about earth life, it's basically asking to write a full life encyclopedia. $\endgroup$
    – user81643
    Jan 21 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ @User24712 and YOU are asking us to answer how these beings would interact with co-existing on a world with carbon based lifeforms. If you are too lazy to describe your lifeform, just HOW are we supposed to describe it's interaction with yet another lifeform, hmm? $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Jan 21 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ @PcMan do you literally expect me to describe something like 9 million different lifeforms in this post? $\endgroup$
    – user81643
    Jan 21 at 14:35
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Like the archaea?

Methane is abundant, let's say life forms when the planet is still mostly fire and volcanoes. High temperatures and no oxygen, perfect for archaebacterial life to be able to form.

Let's say then the planet cools down and eubacterial lifeforms start forming and they bring oxygen on the planet and new fauna.

Would archaebacterial life be able to survive and adapt to a cold planet full of oxygen?

Yes. The archaebacteria would persist in niches and ecosystems which did not have a lot of oxygen. They would be displaced by the new life forms in areas exposed to oxygen.

I could imagine similar with silicon and carbon based. The older life forms would be displaced from some places but persist in others where they were still better adapted than the newcomers. In some ecosystems there would be a mix of the two types.

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First, can you even have silicon-based life? Long Si chains don't work and if you use Si-O-Si-O-Si chains and tack on hydrogens you just put both fuel and oxidizer in the same molecule. Such molecules are typically referred to as explosives.

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  • $\begingroup$ No oxygen when the lifeforms are born. $\endgroup$
    – user81643
    Jan 21 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @User24712 The point is that Si-Si-Si-Si chains don't work even for non-living matter. I don't recall the exact problem but it's due to the silicon atom being larger than the carbon atom and thus not permitting the same bonds. $\endgroup$ Jan 22 at 4:15
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There are actually some organisms on Earth that use silicon as an integral part of their bodies, although they're not truly "silicon-based". We also have protozoans and bacteria that can live without oxygen. A biosphere with both silicon- and carbon-based life forms would effectively be a more extreme version of something we already know exists.

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