I asked two months ago if a very short-lived species may raise as stable civilization, and it appeared that the global answer was yes, but with culture and society more focused on community rather than individual than ours.

But last time I played the Sims, I noted something : their world and life mode are very similar to ours, except their life expectancy. As long as I know, they usually live around three months (for normal a game). But almost nothing in their culture differ than American culture.

The only consequent differences are activities or periods that are long for humans, and shorter for them.
Some samples :

  • An average human life expectancy is around 80 years, a sim's one is around 3 months.
  • Gestation period is at most 9 months for a human, 3 to 5 days for a sim.
  • Humans that start to date each other like to wait for steps even if they are sure to love each other, and wait sometimes years before a wedding. Sims can marry only a few days after met their partner.

Finally, it looks that they reduce times for everything that would be too long for them, and keep short common life events (eat a meal, take a shower, to sleep a night, etc) as long as humans do. And it seems to work!

So my question is : if on another planet, a sims people was real, but without help of a supernatural player-god (let's suppose they would be as intelligent as humans), could it build a civilization that would stand the test of time? With culture and traditions similar as human ones?

  • $\begingroup$ Would this be with or without the local deity: Player 1? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Aug 5 '15 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Without help of any player. I edited the question. $\endgroup$
    – Aracthor
    Aug 5 '15 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ On this other planet, are you defining a month as 30 days, a day as 24 hours, and an hour as 3600 seconds? Three months on that planet could be 80 years on Earth, otherwise, and the answer is trivial. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Aug 5 '15 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ Benzi chibna looble bazebni gweb (that is as long as the planet's orbit and rotation match that life expectancy) $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Aug 5 '15 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ I don't really see why the planet could not have the same rotation than earth... If you do, please leave an answer explaining why it make civilization impossible. $\endgroup$
    – Aracthor
    Aug 5 '15 at 20:51

3 to 5 day gestation Just over 3 weeks from new born to full growth Dead two months after hitting full growth

My first problem here is that growth rate, you're going to be able to sit and watch a kid grow. That's going to take some serious calorie and protein intake.

The next problem is the transfer of knowledge. It takes us years to teach kids the basics and years more to teach them a trade. It takes 6 months to become proficient at a basic office job and they don't have time for that sort of thing, they need to get on with reproducing or they won't live long enough to do so.

You could have some big meerkats but I wouldn't call them a functioning society by our standards.


Well the first problem, the lifetime is too short. 3 months from birth to death would not leave time to DO anything. It can take that long to build a house (or longer). It would take several generations to start, build and live in a single house, unless a whole community worked on it.

Learning, unless the vast majority if knowledge is passed either by instinct or by some mental transfer, you have no time to learn. Think of how much a kinder-gardener learns in 3 months of school, and that is from a teacher who spent years learning to teach.

Growth: Rabbits are a fairly small mammal and some species take about 35 days to grow up.

Evolution: The life span is so short there would be no evolutionary benefit to have a brain with human level intelligence. Instinct would work well enough to keep the race alive for such a short life span.

So really? No.

  • $\begingroup$ Your answer ignores the obvious problem of 3 Earth months vs. 3 Planet X months. Regardless, I agree; a three-month lifespan is too short for a sapient, functional society. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Aug 5 '15 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Unless otherwise specified (or it just won't work), I tend to assume they mean current earth time frames... $\endgroup$
    – bowlturner
    Aug 5 '15 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ Well, assuming the sims student behavior, they learn more quickly that we do. They make written homework as children, and children are from 7 to 20 days old. But your point is totally right on buildings... $\endgroup$
    – Aracthor
    Aug 5 '15 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Aracthor: The sims programmers are free to ignore physical reality whenever it gets in the way of interesting gameplay. The Sims' "reality" is a very thin layer that is entirely non-real when it comes to the agent intelligence. For instance, they don't perceive anything, they just have a list of nearby objects calculated for them by the server. All interactions are scripted/animated and selected from a limited repertoire. No low-level learning or rational thinking (e.g. from reading text, communicating by speech etc) actually occurs. $\endgroup$ Mar 1 '16 at 13:39

if you gave the species some kind of genetic memory or natural instinct for knowledge it might be possible, but you would still run into problems with construction and other kinds of long-term development. if you extended the lifespan the something like three years this civilization would be much more plausible; but if average age has to be limited to three months than the organisms would definitely have to be much more socially oriented from an early stage in evolution in order to survive and develop sentience.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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