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How could you explain an alien race having the power of elasticity? By that I mean able to stretch out its limbs as if made of rubber. Think Mr. Fantastic or Elastigirl, but an entire species can do it.

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The Kraaho of the Ben 10 universe have such abilities and are explained as coming from a very hot planet and being made of tungsten, but that's it.

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    $\begingroup$ Nope. Being able to stretch, is not so difficult. Being able to perform muscle movement any other than just contracting the stretched limb.... is a bit of a stretch of the laws of mechanics. You could kludge together a bit of stretchyness using pneumatic/hydraulic support structure to replace bones, but this would be very limited and would give variable rigid limbs, not the smooth flexibility you seem to be looking for. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Apr 5, 2021 at 6:42

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Think hydrostatic muscles but with air instead of water. The high tensile strength folded muscle folds up and uses pressurized air as rigid support when walking around and lifting things. They then inflate their muscles to stretch them out, and the muscles contract in different configurations for movement, like an elephant trunk. The more they stretch, the weaker they are. Unlike hydrostatic muscles with constant volume, the shape change is from a changing volume, more or less air. When the extra air is exhaled, the muscles fold back up to be dense enough for normal movement, but with much less compressive strength then bone. Instead of a pair of lungs, they have a body wide lung.

What I worry about most for something like this is the brain. It cannot bend or stretch without damage/amnesia/death. Distributed processing allows for a smaller brain, as does high neuron density or a higher frequency.

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First of all you would rule out bones or the like, because they would impede stretching or compressing beyond a small amount. You see something like that in an octopus, who can pass through narrow passages just by squeezing its body through them, thanks to the lack of bones.

To have a rubber like behavior also the body would be made in a rubber like way: long and loosely bound molecular chains which, in the unstrained state are randomly garbled up and which with an imposed deformation tend to align in a single direction, allowing for elastic deformation.

However you would still be bound to the conservation of volume: a volume delimited by a surface of 10 square units and with a length of 10 units would stretch to 100 units of length with a cross section of 1 square units, but it would reach a point where it cannot stretch further (which is not a feature for Mr. Fantastic, AFAIK).

Overall I doubt that a creature with this feature would be much more different than a blob or a goo, because of the very way it is made. Nothing like a humanoid in the examples you gave.

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  • $\begingroup$ Observationally, Mr.Fantastic and especially Elastigirl have not read the script on conservation of volume. They routinely stretch to 50x length, but only thin themselves down a bit, maybe to 1/3 thickness. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Apr 5, 2021 at 18:53
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Frame Challenge

They have not evolved biological elastic powers, but are using Clarkian magic (sufficiently advanced technology) to convince other races that they have.

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Think about it: you can replace "Inspector Gadget" with "Mr. Fantastik" in the Gadget theme song and it sounds fine. Coincidence?

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