I continue to write a setting in which fantasy races have a scientific basis within a setting close to science fiction. Today I would like to touch on the topic of elves and create a planet where such creatures could appear.

The elves in this setting should be close to the classic elves of Tolkien or any other classic fantasy. Accordingly, here is a description of the elves, from whom you can start by creating a planet for them: creatures of human height or sometimes slightly taller, but rarely when elves reach a height of two meters or higher; elves often weigh slightly less than humans; their skin color is dominated by light or even pale shades, as in the color of their hair; their eyes are usually blue or green and rarely brown; they also have long and pointed ears;; they are flexible and agile creatures, and their life expectancy is usually one hundred or one hundred and fifty years, but they can live up to two hundred years.The technological development of elves in itself is familiar to such settings - laser weapons, spaceships, and so on. Their society is equal to ours. Despite technological development, they do not make drastic changes to their appearance, so the elves I described developed like this over a long evolution, and not due to numerous plastic surgeries or genome changes.

In addition, I allow some changes in certain aspects concerning their appearance, physiology, anatomy and other things, if you consider these changes appropriate in creating a planet for these creatures.

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    $\begingroup$ What is your specific question? $\endgroup$
    – dubious
    Commented Jun 13 at 9:34
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ You have written a description of your fantasy species but there is no question you need help with. Are you asking for advice? $\endgroup$
    – dubious
    Commented Jun 13 at 9:37
  • $\begingroup$ No, I am asking people to create a planet suitable for the evolution of the race I have described. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 9:53
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    $\begingroup$ That's not a question though, and worldbuilding is intended to be a question-and-answer site. What parameters have you already thought up for yourself? What's the problem with them? Where are you stuck? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


This one is considerably easier to imagine than Orc Planet.

If you want to have organisms with tall, skinny, pale, and long eared bodies, pick an environment where these features are naturally to evolve, which we actually have plenty of.

Tall, lanky creatures evolve in places where food is scarce, and it takes a lot of locomotion to find it. We see it in gazelles, in deep ocean fish, and in caves.

Pale creatures evolve where light is scarce. Unless your elves spend most of their lives in shade, they would evolve swarthier skins with melanin in it.

Similarly, pointed ears (and to complement them, big eyes) evolve in places where light is scarce, and danger all around.

Finally, long lifespan (and with it, slow breeding) evolves in cool environment with scarce food.

Verdict: put your elves on a planet that is dominated by a single, giant, polar-oriented continent, where most of it is near-barren wasteland (best parts look like Iceland), experiences Polar Night for months. The rest of the planet is covered with extremely deep, mostly barren ocean, with a few tiny, rocky landmasses, where only lichen can grow. Prehistoric Elves were sub-polar steppe apes, that traveled the continent nomadically scavenging for edible plants, and persistence hunting animals, while in turn being constantly hunted by desperate predators. And this was during the Polar Day. During Polar Night, they would starve, huddle in caves, possibly even hibernate to save calories. Hardiest survivors would emerge, comes Polar Dawn. As species they would grimly cling to life and invent technologies as fast as they could out of sheer despair of the long, hungry Night.

The Elven Planet: a near-dead ocean planet with an ice-free Antarctica that looks as lively as Iceland at the coasts, and as northernmost Siberia in the middle. The Elves are like the Prehistoric Scaninavians, Finns, or Siberian tribes of humanity, but taken to their absolute final form through absurdly harsh survival of the fittest and "invent or die" approach to new technologies.

  • $\begingroup$ In a northern and cold climate, should these elves be covered with fur? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ Or feathers, or fat? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 10:12
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, these are also decent options, although given the evolution from primates, it seems to me that wool would suit them. In addition, with white fur, you can disguise yourself from predators in a snowy landscape, and it's hard to escape from predators with fat. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexanderHerman only if they were covered in fur to begin with, and if they had not lost it for another reason. Fur also gets in the way of persistence hunting, exactly because it traps heat so efficiently. Notice that humans never grew fur back on when we moved into the North Eurasia. BTW, there is no reason the Elves cannot have extremely short, swede-like fur, which would explain their pale coloration. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ Got it, thanks for your answer $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 10:54

As I proposed in this answer to OP's related question, if we presuppose a departure from human evolution at some point in the past, we can achieve a sufficient departure from human evolution to achieve 'elves' over a relatively short period of time, given a different planetary environment.

If we were to depart from human evolution about fifty thousand years ago, by transporting humans to a world similar to earth, with surface gravity of approximately 0.85g, orbiting a star with a low UV output, such as a K class star, we could achieve a tall, lean build, and with low UV, this would select for pale skin and hair to maximise UV absorption for vitamin D production.

The evolution of pointy ears could easily be the result of sexual selection. The longer lifespan could easily be explained by the reduced effects of gravity.

If the environment that the pre-elves were introduced to included many opportunities for persistence hunting, this would only serve to reinforce the elves' lean, lanky builds.

As humans were effectively anatomically modern at this point in their evolution, there would be little reason why the elves could not have invented modern-equivalent technology.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, I don't think that's an option for me. I would like a planet where a certain race could have developed initially, and not be brought by someone from the outside. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13 at 11:36
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexanderHerman As I said, we can presuppose a similar but separate evolution to that on earth, but it is highly unlikely. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Jun 13 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ would lower gravity not result in fat elves instead, since carrying adipose mass now costs less? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 1 at 7:11

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