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This species comes from a world 1.7x the mass of Earth that is about 75% water.

I would like them to be very apathetic so that when a space-faring species contacts then there is a definite difference in morals and principles. This means that they are going to be sapient.

They evolved from a species that didn’t hunt. So they do not cook their food because it is plants. Love does not exist in their species, they help others because their brain is literally wired to make them do it. (Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is how this species works)

It isn’t the exact model but they all have excellent logical, mathematical, and visual spatial intelligence. They excel in other intelligences but they varies per individual.

Question

Could they be an apathetic race yet have a strong pack mentality but neither they nor their ancestors hunted?

Edit

I misdefined apathetic with empathetic in my head and spelled everything wrong.

apathetic. / (ˌæpəˈθɛtɪk) / adjective. having or showing little or no emotion; indifferent.

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    $\begingroup$ Cooking of plants is on the vary useful side of things. It greatly increase nutrient value of many foods To the point where It could be argued that cooking is required for intelligence past some point. It also makes some food that is unsafe to eat, safe $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2023 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by pack mentality? Hunting in groups like wolves? There are a few non-carnivorous animals and insects to show strong group behaviors : Cows, horses, sheeps, ants... $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2023 at 19:51
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    $\begingroup$ If they do not hunt, then maybe instead of a pack mentality they might be better said to have a herd mentality? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 12, 2023 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think "apathetic" is correct either. It doesn't mean "not emotional" in the literal sense of "not having emotions". It's "disinterested" and as far as emotions are concerned, it's not showing emotions for something. One could be apathetic towards kittens, for example. Treating them with the same amount of attention and interest as a rock. Neither liking nor disliking them at all. If somebody is described as "apathetic" as a whole, that means they have no interest in anything and lack motivation and passions as well having suppressed emotions. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Sep 13, 2023 at 5:41
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    $\begingroup$ So you are talking about zebra herds, fish schools, large flocks of birds, insect swarms? That is, strong group cohesion but every individual for themselves? ie the boids simulation? $\endgroup$ Sep 13, 2023 at 19:23

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Maybe they are like ants, but bigger, more independent and more intelligent. Still, like ants.

What looks like apathy on the surface is potentially an adaptation to environment that is incredibly harsh. It is not worth investing emotionally to brethren when they die so easily. Instead they invest in their colony, because that provides the key to their survival.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking more about insectoid. It would make the most sense. But I definitely want them to be just short of the average human height. This is a problem because the world has a higher gravitational force(about 13m/s^2) and the fact that exoskeletons aren’t that strong on a large scale. It would crush the bug people if they get to big. $\endgroup$
    – Martamo
    Sep 13, 2023 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Martamo Then give them a proper skeleton. Just because they are insectoid doesn't mean they evolved an exoskeleton in the same way as Earth's insects. $\endgroup$
    – Abion47
    Sep 13, 2023 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ Exactly, look at eusocial insect societies, ignore their anatomy. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Sep 14, 2023 at 11:55
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One of the weaker herd animals would fit your scenario if it gained intelligence.

They're geared towards being apathetic in terms of one being killed by a predator they won't try and retaliate or defend each other. Because they cannot stand up to predators even in groups.

They'll just go back to eating grass glad it wasn't them. Things like sheep, deer, etc,.

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    $\begingroup$ Deer would absolutelly destroy any predator if they had a modicum of intelligence to coordinate and cooperate. $\endgroup$
    – Davor
    Sep 13, 2023 at 15:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Davor so would sheep $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Sep 13, 2023 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ I mean, in sufficient numbers, sure, but the largest sheep that I saw still had like 5 times smaller mass then deer. I honestly think most people don't understand how massive deer are because they only see them in pictures. They are horse sized, are adapted for headbutting, unlike horses, and have terrifyingly huge antlers. $\endgroup$
    – Davor
    Sep 14, 2023 at 8:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Davor thats a moose bro, not a deer, deer come in all sizes, but not that big $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Sep 14, 2023 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Kilisi sheep can have up to 100kg(female) and 150kg male. European deer can have up to 350kg(male) but bigest noticed one(Asian) have 580kg. If @ Davor had seen only average sheeps 50-80kg ones then 5x is 250-400kg and this is in range of deer mass. Moose can have up to 800kg, Horse(Shire) over 1200g but horse(Dartmoor) no more than 350kg. $\endgroup$
    – k_z
    Sep 14, 2023 at 12:06
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If they evolved from prey animals

It sounds like you want a creature with r-selection strategy for survival. "Breeds like rabbits" is a common way to describe it, but you might think more along the lines of "breeds like cicadas." The survival strategy of this species during their evolution towards sapience: to overwhelm their predators with sheer numbers, so that some individuals are certain to survive and reproduce.

Critically, they would have evolved in an environment with abundant resources, such that the main constraint on their population was predator pressure, rather than not having enough to eat (otherwise they would evolve K-selection).

This means that every nearby member of the species is a potential distraction for a predator, but not also a potential rival for food, mates, etc. Neither is cooperation required to obtain these resources, so a fellow person suffering injury or illness doesn't affect your own survival - it actually improves your odds.

Especially if survival conditions are dynamic

There is a short SF story with a species that fits your criteria pretty well: they are very dogmatic and not at all individualistic, to the point that (as the name suggests) they eat their own young, otherwise the population would quickly outstrip available resources, and there is no collective will to figure out a different approach.

A species that evolved r-selection in environments where resource abundance and predator pressure can fluctuate would conform even harder to this herd mentality: we must stick together in times of plenty for safety from our predators, but we must stick together even more in times of scarcity because any individual who defects from the group consensus will endanger the community at-large.

Why do they still act this way?

Now that the aliens have achieved space travel, why do they still act like they did in their prehistory? If you don't want to handwave it as "they evolved this way and it's deeply hard-wired in their biology" you could easily engineer a predator that can still threaten them and encourage this behavior. Something between an antlion and a raccoon could be a good model: a creature capable of infiltrating all but the most secure environments, concealing itself, and striking unexpectedly. Maybe they hibernate for a long time after eating, so that attacks are uncommon but no less frightening - isolation doesn't mean you are safe, only that you're the only morsel in sight when the predator wakes up hungry.

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  • $\begingroup$ They aren't the ones that have reached space travel. It is a human adjacent species that discovers these inhabitants. They are a species that doesn't feel love for their fellow beings. They only work to progress and keep the species alive. Not out of love, but necessity. $\endgroup$
    – Martamo
    Sep 14, 2023 at 3:49
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Yes

Elephants are a good example in the animal kingdom. They are herbivores, live in herds, do not hunt, and they are considered highly empathetic.

Herd behavior seems to have its roots in protection and social support in this instance.

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    $\begingroup$ Let's add to them horses and cows. Here's an article for cows showing they both are able to communicate emotions among one another, and have herding behavior yet keep their individuality. $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2023 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for the answer. I forgot to add that they are going to be sapient. Are you ok if I add that if it invalidates your answer? I also just realized I made a spelling mistake. I meant apathetic. Meaning they have very little feelings. Sorry for messing up your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Martamo
    Sep 12, 2023 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ @T.E.D., it used to say Empathetic, but was then edited to change the meaning. See the comment above yours from the OP. So I guess my response would be "sic erat scriptum" $\endgroup$
    – Mathaddict
    Sep 14, 2023 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ Ah. ADHD brain didn't make it to the "also..." part of the comment. My bad. May consider adding exactly that as an addendum at the bottom of the answer, to forestall trigger-happy downvotes. That's what I usually do in the rare cases where my answer gets invalidated by an edit (or in one appalling case, a totally inappropriate merge). $\endgroup$
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 14, 2023 at 20:25

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