Let us suppose that we have a non-human sentient species that has "evolved for war", i.e. has evolved significantly both biologically and sociologically from a non-sentient state such that its members consider a state of warfare as natural and right, and for there to be an absence of war as quite unnatural and merely a precursor to a new war.

This species would consider any other sentient species, including itself, as a legitimate opponent in its perpetual wars.

This species must be capable of organised, technological warfare, yet have sufficient restraint so that it would not cause its own demise in a Mutually Assured Destruction scenario.

How could such a species evolve, and what physical and sociological traits would it need or gain as a side-effect of such evolution in order to fulfil this role?

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    $\begingroup$ Hm. I seem to have heard of a species on Earth like this. You might check out Homo sapiens. It's a rather violent species, both to other members of its species and to members of other species. ;) $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jul 6, 2015 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre, yes. However, I'm looking for a species even more violent than humans. One that makes humans look positively peaceful, where every individual is positively itching for their society to pick a fight with another, and if one doesn't come along, they'll take sides and fight themselves. With millions of years of evolution in combat behind them. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Jul 6, 2015 at 2:56
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ What is your definition of "war?" We've had some very violent "police actions" and we've had some very non-violent "wars against ideas" (such as "war against women"). Meanwhile if you look at the daily life of a yeast colony, it is war 24/7 (that is, assuming your yeast have concepts of days and weeks). The answers to this question could actually go quite philosophical if one structures the answers in some ways. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Jul 6, 2015 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ I think the primary concern for a species that violent would be, how does it propagate? If every encounter between members leads to violence... $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jul 6, 2015 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon, The species must be sentient, and the wars must involve physical violence and potential death or dismemberment of the combatants, though if the species has some exceptional ability to regenerate after taking non-lethal damage, that is acceptable. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Jul 6, 2015 at 3:01

10 Answers 10


Social insects have evolved "castes" of warriors (ants, termites, worker bees called to defend the hive etc.) which might be a template to work with.

Rather than the entire species be devoted to war, they have evolved into separate castes to specialize in particular areas of work. This may have evolved because having a specialized caste of "farmers" meant that the group had more food than other, non differentiated groups, and carried on from there. Since it is always easier to "take" than to "make", it soon became imperative that a way to protect the group was found, hence the evolution of a warrior caste to protect the group.

Warriors are generally larger, stronger and have more extreme fighting mechanisms than other castes (teeth, mandibles, poison sacs, stingers, whatever the evolutionary background is), better defensive mechanisms (armour plating, toughened skin, spikes or other protrusions) and enhanced senses, coupled to lightning fast reflexes.

A species with a warrior caste will have some built in limitations to warfare, since the breeding and feeding of warriors takes resources away from other things. You might not have enough farmers or engineers, for example, and the society suffers. Too few warriors and you are in danger of being overcome by your enemies. So society is in a constant dynamic with various groups within the society competing for resources while also trying to strike a balance to deal with external threats. Another issue is the Warriors will generally be much "smarter" in many senses than other castes, simply because stupid soldiers get killed too easily. If there is already a ruling caste (analogous to the "Queens" of social insects), then there will be some conflict developing within societies as well. Warrior genes might be recognized as being useful (even in pre literate societies, the recognition of breeding for traits is well known), so warriors might be interbred or interbreed with the other castes to enhance the entire society.

Since on Earth war is a "continuation of politics by other means", and total warfare or "war to the knife" is rare (and self limiting), we might expect that alien beings will also have evolved similar mechanisms to keep warfare under control. This could go out the window when they start going into space and meeting extraterrestrial beings, which would be seen as far outside any norm and an existential threat, upsetting the internal social order and possibly causing their society to start mass producing warriors to deal with the threat.


Consider what it means to wage war. First, one must identify a sentient entity besides yourself. Let us call it the Other, after the traditional name given to a sentient environment or portion of an environment. At all times, it must have a desire to destroy this Other, often at the risk of its own Self. However, its own sense of Self must be strong, or else it would eventually be worn down from defeat after defeat. This leads to the first psychological structure that has to be present: it needs to have enough patience to destroy the enemy while growing its Self.

However, destroying sentient beings and species is hard. They adapt to the onslaught, so if the onslaught of war is not sufficient to completely obliterate a species, those that survive tend to carry with them scars that could eventually lead to the destruction of such a warlike species. Accordingly, the second psychological structure I could see would be a fanatical completeness in the destruction of the Other. Nothing must remain.

Now, what happens with these two attitudes? Nothing good, that's for sure. I'm going to call the species The Hateful, and they will earn that name.

The Hateful could be sexual or asexual, but the sexually reproducing case is more intriguing because it's a harder to build world. Let's play with that.

The Hateful are a live-birth race. During gestation, the mother emits a chemical into the fetus' blood stream. For most of the term, it does nothing. However, at a key point in development, a brain structure forms which will be the nexus of their hate the rest of their lives. This structure is held in an undifferentiated state by the chemicals emitted by the mother. In this state, it emits neural pulses and chemical messages to the mother. The mother responds by sending her own pulses and chemicals describing her hate. She doesn't describe the object of her hate itself, for reasons we shall soon see. She, instead, directly exposes her hate, like an angry ranting and raving to the fetus. In this undifferentiated state, the special brain organ begins copying those signals, learning them carefully.

At birth, the chemical stream from the mother fades. Hateful mothers watch eagerly for the passivity to leave their eyes as their brains began to focus under the clarity of the hate. The brain structure which once received hate from the mother now differentiates, forming an organ custom built to identify and destroy something hated.

This is a tense time for the mother. At this phase, the child must tune their hate properly. Too little hate, and the forces within their brain cease to incentivize their heart to beat. Too much hate, and it becomes overeager, like the universe's most violent allergic reaction. In this case, even the slightest protien shared between them and their quarry will cause the child to consume itself in a hateful rage.

At this point, a young Hateling is taught everything they will need to know. Despite their outer image as a destructive mindless species, the Hateful are a very intellectual race. In fact, intellect is the only truly safe way for them to interact with one another without accidentally invoking the hateful centers of the brain (with murderous results). Hateful are taught to use this intellect for one thing: to maximize their ability to destroy that which they hate. If they were not taught this, eventually their own intellect would oppose the hateful centers of their brain, and in response the brain would simply shut down their heart and lungs, just in case the intellect had gotten infected with the Other that they hate.

They learn to use this intellect to build relationships. No two Hateful have exactly the same target of their hate. However, there is a mutually beneficial relationship between two Hateful if their Others' are similar. Political structures arise to scuplt and tend to the hate of the many, aligning it for interstellar warfare.

A Hateful must constantly sense that they are actively fighting their enemy. This is difficult for a Hateful raised to be a farmer. It is hard to see how the bread that feeds their armies actively combats that which they hate. Accordingly, there is a gain circuit within the brains of each Hateful, with which they can control their level of sensitivity to that which they hate. Their warrior castes can leave this gain down, for the blood of their enemies is easy to see. However, if the enemy is less present, such as for a farmer, or even a warrior after the complete xenocide of their enemy, they immediately begin increasing their gain, looking for any shreds of that which they hate. If there is nothing left, this hate will consume them, leaving them desperate to find anything to hate. They may turn on their fellow warrior, simply because there is still some hated blood left on their blade, and that's sufficient to send them into a murderous rampage. Those who cannot find enough to hate are put down before they destroy all.

This sounds like an evolutionary dead end with all this wanton destruction, but evolution never leaves a dead end. Sometimes, a mother fails to make contact with their unborn child before it leaves the womb. When this child's hate centers differentiate, it has no subject to hate, and one of two extremes happen.

One situation is the child becomes hateful of absolutely everything. Such a creature is one of beauty to a race as hateful as this, so destruction is... wasteful. They are left to the wolves, sending them far and wide to new planets to start a new tribe of Hateful there.

The other situation is more intriguing, for when it finishes raising the gain on its sensitivity to hate all the way, and still cannot find it, it instead finds something else. Something subtle and clever. This Hateful learns quick to pretend it has the hate of its comrades, but with eyes unclouded by hate, it can find other paths. The Hateful don't know it, but it is these children who are essential to their survival. These are the children which subtlety shape the intellectual discussions to ensure there is always a new subject of hate outside of the tribe. And maybe one day, they can utter the sacred words to annihilate all hate within their race... but not today. There is too much blood left to spill.

  • $\begingroup$ This is an interesting description of the emotional processes of a warlike species, but how could such a species have evolved? $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Jul 6, 2015 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Monty Wild I think you are looking for bugs in starships troopers franchise shredding everything in its wake 100% devoided of emotion, or look at the incredible hulk full of anger smashing anything in its wake so you can't zap these bugs with gamma ray and hope that you can attend someone wakes. When you wake up the demon you either lose it or lost. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jul 6, 2015 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ @MontyWild I give evolution a lot of credit for the ability to create the unexpected. However, everything in life is focused on the furthering of itsself, rather than the destruction of an Other. Even the most virulent of virii only kill the host as a side effect of seeking their own survival. To evolve with such a counterproductive goal called for creating a species whose sense of self could start with war and end with war, and along the way still focus on its own survival. Doing so through gestation and early childhood seemed like the largest challenge. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Jul 6, 2015 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ My opinion is that the primary step towards that process working is to avoid self-hate. The absolute worst thing that can happen to a species which is incapable of not being at war is for it to accidentally declare war on itself (or even to have its left limb declare war on its right) $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Jul 6, 2015 at 15:14

Raymond Feist has sketched such a race in the 'Dasati' featured in his Darkwar Saga

Some tidbits from the wiki:


Millenia ago during their version of the Chaos Wars His Darkness the Dark God rose to supremecy & disposed all the other 10,000 Gods of the Dasati. He twisted them & turned them into the nation of fierce implacable warriors they are who worship death. He is served by his Deathpriests and Heirophants who keep the people devout and search for any sign of rebellion.

The Hiding

When Dasati women become pregnant they go into Hiding as their children would be viewed as a threat by Dasati males who would see them as one day becoming a threat to their offspring. Males remain in hiding with their Mother until they reach puberty & start to become violent, at this time they are sent to their Father's estates, During the Hiding women and children only come out at night for safety.

  • $\begingroup$ Frank Herbert wrote a book about a planet called 'Dosadi' where a population of humans and aliens lived in a single, dense city isolated on a poison planet and lived in a state of constant warfare. $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2015 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ Yep. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dosadi_Experiment $\endgroup$
    – Bookeater
    Jul 6, 2015 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ There is also by Harry Harrison en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deathworld $\endgroup$
    – Bookeater
    Jul 6, 2015 at 7:59
  • $\begingroup$ Also the Daroth in David Gemmell's Dark Moon. $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2015 at 10:14

citing nature:

There would be violence in every level of society. So much so, I'd argue that there would be almost no nation-scale warfare. Every few generations, maybe a major conflict occurs, but by and large it would be nearly impossible for a group to establish dominance over more than a couple of other groups at a time. And even then there would be so much infighting, they would likely destroy themselves. Interestingly enough, any sort of governance which is permissible would be trim, responsive, and highly effective. They would be temporary and probably only arise to tackle a single issue, then dissolve away so members can resume fighting. Humans societies are rot with rabid corruption and absurd bureaucratic labyrinths because of lazy, docile populations. By contrast, the warrior society would need no law, and no constitution but a supreme sense of honor and justice in-which everyone is eager to participate and enforce. Unless they're all mindless drones.

A child born would either exemplify the maximum genealogical abilities, or be culled from the family. If the former, they are groomed for combat and trained by a tight nit the family/clan. Else, they are either terminated, exiled, or made to perform menial labor. Or used to inflate the ranks. Your society must be supremely stratified. In lieu of being truly mortal, conflict most often used to establish submission/dominance. Those who lack the strength or whits to fight for themselves will be allowed to live only as slaves. There is also the possibility of some form of 'royal syrup' used to prepare young. Without this syrup, a child would grow up dumb and brutish and utterly submissive. With it, they rule absolutely. You might need something like this to account for the mass-stupidity required to fill your infantry.

I'd argue against some other points raised by this question. Most humans share their resources rather openly and are accepting of others. I'd say throughout our history we've been mostly exceedingly peaceful and respectful of others. It's just, people like to be dazzled with tales of the exploits and explosions of war and so the most popular subjects of history are warfare. If we were truly violent (beyond the few thousand shameful years of 'civilized' history), we would have selected more serious natural defensive mechanisms. Claws, horns, fangs, stingers, scales, camouflage, something! Instead, look at these meat-slugs! I'm all soft, fleshy and pink! Before the great leviathans of history, there was no need to compete for resources because the natural world was full of food and water. Most fighting would have likely been personal.

Truly Self-Violent species tend to have higher degrees of sexual dimorphism. Another proof for the lack of pre-historic mass-violence in humans, is the fact that women and men appear roughly the same size because for millions of years women have been selecting men who would share the responsibility of rearing young. Your species is likely to have one sex dominant over the other (could be either) as the most desirable traits exemplify dominance.

Rhesus Monkey live fairly despotic and males are 30% larger than females. Extreme examples include bee and ant colonies. If you want a surefire way to ramp up the shear scale of your conflicts, I'd consider a species which organizes as doth the hive.

Gene-pools are probably isolated and insulated, and you probably have a few populations fully speciate (spelling?) with some major differences cross-species. A hive society would fill their infantry ranks with mules and drones. Don't be fooled by the title given the 'queen' bee. She is actually ONLY slave in the hive. If her egg production slows, the drones will produce royal syrup and feed it to larva in secret so they can produce a new, better queen and kill the old.

Actual warfare usually occurs as a result of an expanding population amidst limited, irreplaceable resources(the case of the yeast colony). The development of modern nations is exceedingly a violent endeavor, but no conflict occurs where there is not profit and plunder to be had. And even then the conflict eventually ends. For an enduring conflict, your spices would not be 'resolving' a boarder or legal dispute, or securing resources. If the reason for such violence is not it is not part of the courtship ritual, you'd be hard-pressed to discover a truly convincing McGuffin.

unless they're all crazy.


To help prevent the Assured mutual destruction, I think that the 'war' would be much more focused on individual combat skills. Whether the killing is done with hands, a sword, a gun, or even an airplane dog fighting, the wars are for warriors. So things like bombs might be seriously discouraged or scoffed at. Anyone can kill with a bomb, you don't even have to be there for it to work. But a swordsman who can lay out 12 enemies is a great warrior, or a pilot that has shot down 20 enemy planes is a hero for the songs. This of course would require a little of Japanese Samarii type honor, where some things just are not done.

edit: Also the species would have to breed numerously, which might both encourage competition and keep their numbers up. With a fast healing rate this might also encourage aggressive behavior, if taking a sword through the guts is not likely to put you in the grave but only keep you off your feet for a week, then less reason to back off. These two traits would be needed to keep the species from killing itself off. Lots of young, maybe litters, and very tough to kill or permanently maim.


To go the whole human route... What if the species had more of what humans have? Rather than making them an incredibly powerful, martial-based warrior race of he-men, what if they were instead a race of incredibly intelligent, cunning and vicious murderers?

This race would essentially evolve initially very similarly to humanity, using intelligence and tools to overcome their physical shortcomings. However, their technological growth would outpace humanity tenfold. The kicker to this would be that their cultural growth would not - they are simply more intelligent, not more refined.

Their 'Romans' would chase out the barbarians with the Julius-IV Main Battle Tank, their feudal lords would be bombing each other with drone strikes, their renaissance would be the development of space travel.

The reason they would be so warlike? Because they can't stand each other, and their increased intelligence makes them want to constantly prove that. The reason they don't destroy themselves in the process? They're smart enough to see how that would be a bad idea.

TL;DR: Super-intelligent humans.


First, war is something that happens between groups, "us" and "them", or "good" and "evil". So there is no particular reason to think that a warlike species would be more violent or less emphatic within its own group. If anything they would probably value their family and children more than species not in the constant state of war. After all they would need constant mutual protection to survive. Friends and relatives would highly valued for the mutual assistance in survival.

For that matter unless you can trust your comrades and be loyal to them, you will not be much use in war at a species level. A sniper or similar type can be highly effective in even modern settings without teamwork, but for the bulk of warfare good team players are wanted.

These might imply strong family bond and maybe a cultural code of honour that stresses loyalty to your family and comrades. Something like: "Stand together, fall alone"? Group succeeds, individuals fail. People would dislike being alone and avoid individual responsibility. They would also dislike leaving anyone alone or not helping share responsibility. Or any other burden. So to their own group they would be gregarious, helpful, and steadfastly loyal. Singing and dancing accompanied by good food and drink might be involved.

What would set them apart from humans would be a inbuilt xenophobia that prevents peaceful interaction with other groups. People would simply not be able to trust other groups enough to have trade or share territory even temporarily. They would not even expect betrayal since there would be no trust to betray in the first place. Any interaction would end up with violent confrontation by default.

This does not necessarily imply fighting to the death or even any fighting as people would be good at estimating the relative strength of the groups and the weaker group would retreat until the stronger one would stop pursuit. After all usually if the pursuit goes on long enough the retreating party has control of where and when any engagements happen, which can be very dangerous for the pursuers.

Note that even defeated foes would not necessarily be killed as slavery would probably be normal. Otherwise lack of peaceful interaction between groups would result in loss of genetic diversity and surplus of genetic disease. Having the defeated embedded in the victorious group as property solves this issue. And this type of slavery was historically common. At higher technology levels this would also allow ideas and inventions to spread between groups and enable social evolution.

Social evolution would probably follow similar lines as with humans family groups would grow to tribal chiefdoms for better defense. With invention of agriculture kingdoms with organized religions and divine mandate would be created. With better communications and transport the size of kingdoms would grow. Maybe you'd even get nation states.

History would be quite different as people would see no value in having neighbouring states. Any such that could be destroyed would be destroyed. So you'd have kingdoms that are as large as possible along the natural borders of the geography. The balance of power between nomads and civilization would also be different. Groups such as the Huns or the Mongols were really alliances of many tribes. Depending on the level of the genetic xenophobia this might be impossible. There might still be large nations of nomads, but they would grow gradually and be civilized as they grow and capture slaves and territory from their civilized neighbours.

  • $\begingroup$ In another remark I mentioned ants, and this answer makes me think of that too: if the group that cooperates internally is "different" than other groups even of the same species, but the group itself can grow, what defines the group? A colony being or distributed body ruled by a queen or mutual interaction. A different colony is like an infection in a body, "other" DNA that is not part of the self. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jul 8, 2015 at 5:55

Alien options are a the bottom.

Let us suppose that we have a non-human sentient species that has "evolved for war", i.e. has evolved significantly both biologically and sociologically from a non-sentient state such that its members consider a state of warfare as natural and right, and for there to be an absence of war as quite unnatural and merely a precursor to a new war.

You'd pretty much have human beings. Prior to civilization and specialization of labor, all men were warrior and human-to-human violence was the major cause of male death.

As civilizations formed, warriors seemed to become a specialized caste but in reality that was just because it took a huge number of workers (tail or shaft) to support the military head (teeth or spearpoint.) The highest status individuals in all major cultures were warriors and warfare considered the most morally pure endeavor.

Consider the origins of the worlds, villain, vile and noble as they apply to morality. The first two come the latin 'vil' as in village and mean "farmer" the last comes from the latin for "famous name" and the 'nobel' of the West and the rest of the world were a caste of killers whose males trained from infancy for killing. Probably half the wars in history were fought for glory just because the "nobles" didn't have a purpose without war.

Now consider that the words for farmer mean evil and disgusting and the word for the killers means the most moral and you can see just how great a role war played in the past. All other major languages have similar evolutions.

The idea of world without war does not seem to ever popped up until less than 300 years ago in northern Europe. That's when war began to be seen as the anomaly instead of normal. What we think of as a normal moral attitude is a very, very recent cultural invention. Ethical universalism, seeing all human beings as morally equal who should be treated the same, is really less than 200 years old in the west, imperfect even here, and spreading only slowly across the world as advancing technology requires wider and wider degrees of cooperations.

Jerry Pournelle's once observed that, "Peace is an ideal whose existence we infer from the fact there are intervals between wars."

Likely, that is because prior to evolution of the corporation, large scale, long distance trade and technological progress, productivity changes only over the course of centuries. If anyone from individuals to people's wanted to improve their lot, their only option was to grab some of what somebody else had, land, food, minerals, population etc.

Heck, before capitalism, investing and stock ownership, the only way to get anything major built was by collecting taxes at sword point.

Given that all social mammals and insects fight collective combats that we could call wars, and that includes social apes, humans likely evolved from fighting primates. The same rules of evolution would apply on other worlds.

The aliens

The only big difference we could imagine for a alien species would be physiological. Humans have no fangs or claws because of neoteny, the retaining of fetal characteristics. Likely, this is because our upright posture is the original posture of primate fetus. Neoteny probably helps with brain growth as well.

But other sentient species might follow another path. Humans can't have muzzles or fangs because we need our mouths to talk but it a species used their nostrils and sinuses to make sounds, then they could retain muzzles and fangs. Claws could be retained as long as they didn't retard grasping or helped it. Or they might take other forms. Could be anything as long it didn't get in the way of their becoming tool users able to organize on vast scales.

Since it's not necessary to evoke a particular impulse to war beyond what humans and other earth animals display, we don't need to assume that just because a species retained fangs and claws and whatnot that the mathematical logic of MAD would not work for them as well.

The real problem in making a space fairing conquering people is the economics. Once you've got enough energy to get into space, you've got enough energy to harvest all the material resources any planet could ever need.

To make a species compulsively warlike, they'd have to have a frozen technology and no productivity growth just like humans had in the pre-corporate era. They would have to have lost the idea that make a new resource and instead just keep trying to get more of the old just like pre-corporate humans never thought of making their own land grow more food but just of grabbing more land.

Some options:

Precursor technology jumps them past the corporate/scientific/industrial era.

Before they develop the idea of progress, mass trade or resource creation they stumble across starships and weapons whose operation they do not understand. The advanced weapons might be AI with no will of their own so they just take orders from the first sentient that finds them. Our aliens just use the starships and weapons to extend their pattern of conquest to other worlds, never understanding they could harvest much greater riches at any random asteroid.

Note: The precursors could be their own ancestors who reached the stars then blew themselves up leaving only cave man survivors back on the home world to find bits and pieces of the old tech that still works.

Science forgotten, technology becomes ritual

In Jerry Jerry Pournelle's and Larry Nivens' Condominium series of the 1970s, the US and USSR become more worried about the spread of nuclear weapons and the destabilizing effects of advancing technology so they shut down most scientific research and contaminate scientific databases with bad data bring technological and scientific process to halt. Fortunately, this happened just after the invention of space travel.

Our aliens could do something similar but more extreme and off longer duration until they forgot science existed and their technology was produced and utilized by rote passed down as rituals through the generations. Again, with no progress and no ability to create new resources, they can only conquer.

Reavers take over

At some point, after the society becomes star faring, they decide to undergo a species wide genetic engineering program to make them incapable of aggression. But, some back-to-nature/primativist-cult that idealizes the old days of incessant war and hides out to avoid the transformation. When everyone else is rendered passive, they come out, and under the principle of "in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king," take over and enslave the others, forcing them to create and maintain the technology they use to fight pointless wars of glory just because they think its what their species does.

Bored post-singularity hold-out, game players

Most of the population passes through the singularity and takes forms unidentifiable to pre-singularity beings. But some don't choose to do so but they've hit an advancement ceiling. What now? What do they have to do but loll around and play games. What happens to their society when natural competition for status breaks out into civil war. Much better to direct that bored frustration against other species.

Since they can't progress technologically and they might usually run into technologically inferior species, they make it a game, intentionally downgrading their technology to match their opponents to make it fair. Their entire culture would be based on seeking glory in war, regardless of how those wars are fought. Maybe they'd destroy or corrupt all the nuclear weapons on a world just to keep things going longer.


The aliens encountered are on a mission to wipe out any competing species before they become a threat to home world species. The warriors encountered are far, far from home and not equipped with the latest and greatest technology. They don't conquer but exterminate. Some thing like Fred Saberhagen's berserkers, but subculture of biological organisms instead of robots.


I'm thinking that if you had two sentient species evolving together, you may be able to develop the necessary conditions pretty easily.

Say you had one species occupying the temperate region of the planet and the other species occupying the remainder of the planet.

This imbalance could lead your marginalized species to develop a culture somewhat similar to the Viking raiders, basing a large part of their culture on pillaging the other species.

You'll probably need to give your marginalized species a physical edge to keep them from being wiped out by the better fed and likely more numerous temperate zone species. You'll also want your marginalized species powerful, but not powerful enough to take over.

  • $\begingroup$ How about a predator-prey arms race that leads to sentience for both species? The prey could be a hive mind like ants, making them have a different concept of mortality. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jul 8, 2015 at 5:51

In the vast majority of cases, species tend to evolve away from war, not towards it.

Take the case of sexual competition, where animals compete with each other for mates. In almost all known animals, the fighting does not consist of all-out warfare, but rather subdued shows of force. A good example of this can be seen in lions fighting with sheathed claws when competing for dominance.

Why do they not fight all out, when so much is at stake? This can be analysed using game theory. In most cases, fighting is a mutually destructive action, and despite the high rewards of winning, losing has penalties which are almost as large if all out warfare occurred. Therefore, there is little reason to "evolve for war" as such a species would tend to encounter mostly members of its own species and are genetically related, and is therefore more likely to reduce its own fitness by warring within its own genetic group.

  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't answer the question. This explains why not, but I want answers explaining why. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Jul 7, 2015 at 23:40

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