These aliens live on a planet with a thick atmosphere and light gravity, and spend most of their life in the air.

They communicate through a series of piercing whistles and sound-wave vibrations, and I've concocted a slightly convoluted mechanism that provides them aesthetic appeal, and, hopefully, a bigger range of sound and amplitude.

I want to know if this concept would work as intended, or if it would be contradictory or extremely challenging to functionality.

Here's the associated design. Blue arrows indicate oxygenated air and red is air pushed out. To allow for continual conversation, the alien can divert air straight to its larynx for prolonged communication. (Click image for larger version.)

owl-like alien with a circular larynx indicating breath and airflow with blue and red arrow.

If it does not work as intended, what would need to be added/removed to ensure it's viable?

Thank you very much. Please let me know if you have anymore questions, I'm willing to provide more context.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1 Thank you for not asking if your design is "realistic" or "plausible." This is a great question, asking only if the design meets your expected criteria. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 22, 2022 at 2:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH Thank you! Glad it's phrased the way I intended. Thanks for the edit as well, I couldn't figure out how to save space without sacrificing clarity of the image. $\endgroup$
    Aug 22, 2022 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


It should work just fine. Expelling air past our larynx out through a modulated opening is how we humans(and most animals) communicate.

As a side note, based on the sounds you're describing, the appendage would be more of a hollow sac, lacking vocal chords and not called a larynx. But dolphins use air sacs in this way to create whistles and pitches; we also believe parasaurolophus dinosaurs communicated like this as well.

Fictional or otherwise, everything about this is anatomically sound and would work in the way you describe. I love the design as well, by the way.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ohh that's nice. Very simple answer, but great tips, thank you. It does make sense the lack of a need for vocal cords. Do you think this could potentially cause problems with complex communication? $\endgroup$
    Aug 23, 2022 at 0:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not really, no. That is to say, communication seems to be as complex as it needs to be. The variety of sounds is (mostly) set by what mechanisms a creature has available to it but parrots can imitate sounds that we need lips to make without having (quite) the same grasp on language, and orcas (one of my favorites) are limited to clicks and whistles but are capable of coordinating and even passing innovations on to their young. Long story short, your aliens' will communicate with the sounds they can make, but they'll be able to communicate just as well as you need them to. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2022 at 23:30

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