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I am creating a planet which is similar to earth (but slightly smaller), with similar climates and resource distribution. It is inhabited by 3 races, one of which are humans, and the other relevant one a race of cyborgs.

They are not "human" cyborgs, but a completely different organism, although they are humanoid in shape.

Essentially, they are partially composed what I would describe as "intelligent slime". This is enclosed in an armored cavity in their chest, which is what keeps them alive. This "slime" roughly approximates the function of a human brain. In essence, it is a neural network.

My question is: How would this kind of species evolve? How do you go from being an amoeba to an advanced race of cybernetic organisms, with no intermediary evolutionary step?

The easy way out is simply that the humans invented them, but I am curious what you all have to say. Is it scientifically possible, (or at least possible sounding) for something like this to occur?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't have time to write up a proper answer right now (I might revisit this question later, though), but generally speaking, any time you want quantum leaps ("no intermediary evolutionary step"), you are outside of what evolution allows for. Evolution is the gradual process of small adaptations that cause an organism to have greater fitness in their environment; that's why evolution tends to get "stuck" at local maxima rather than seeking a global maxima: the current state is good enough that moving away from it is a net loss of fitness. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 21 '17 at 8:07
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    $\begingroup$ Welome to WorldBuilding Androgen! It seems you've got the idea of how world building works; well done. If you haven't already, you should take the tour and look around in the help centre. $\endgroup$ – Aric Aug 21 '17 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ So, basically, your cyborgs are Krangs ? $\endgroup$ – Keelhaul Aug 21 '17 at 8:34
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You start with slime moulds. You get a variety which spends more time as an aggregated swarm, than as individuals. That variety gets slowly smarter.

Meanwhile, also on your planet are some humanoids, who build humanoid-shaped robots. C3P0, Terminators - whatever shape you like. They need to have gaps and chinks in their 'carapace' or joints and be fairly dumb robots, not smart like C3PO or Chappie or Wally.

The smart slime hides from predators in cracks and crevices. It discovers that the dumb robots aren't predators - they might accidentally stand on you, but they don't chase, kill and eat you. One day, in an emergency or just being curious, a smart slime climbs inside a dumb robot.

This practice spreads. Dumb robots are a safe haven (if you don't get electrocuted by nomming on the wiring/circuits), and you can use them as transport, just like pigeons use the London underground and feral dogs use the Moscow metro.

Then either:

  1. A humanoid realises what is happening, makes 'first contact' with the slimes. Over time the humanoid civilisation builds them purpose-built bodies which can be steered, translate slime language into human language, etc. Slimes learn human skills like building robot bodies of their own.
  2. By trial and error the slimes mess with the internal structure/programming of robots, and learn to steer them. (Humans will think their robot has malfunctioned and wandered off, or short-circuited when a slime accidentally climbed in). Then by some hand-wavey means, in one part of the planet humans abandon the area but leave enough robots and factories intact that the slimes can 3D print new bodies, learn how to mine for raw materials, etc.

Some combination of above probably works best.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is an interesting idea. For the world I am building, it would be better for them to have less contact with humans (i.e. they live on different planets), so perhaps they take over rovers and other robots sent to investigate the planet? They would not initially be humanoid, but it still works. $\endgroup$ – Androgen Aug 27 '17 at 19:46
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Key is regression.

  • Start with a "normal" intelligent race (say: humans).
  • They already are getting weaker and less resistant by reduced culling due to civilization.
  • Have them invent some kind of exoskeleton to help them move without effort.
  • Make them depend on the exoskeleton for all functions.
  • They'll keep improving exoskeleton.
  • Natural selection will discard all useless crap (i.e.: the body).
  • You will end-up with something adapted to its environment (the exoskeleton) thus with very good "interfacing" and little else (some real world parasite, in adult form, have discarded good part of their internal organs as useless; e.g.: tapeworms have no gastric tract). It won't be just a brain, though, it will, at the very least, some reproductive means.

NOTE: this schema wouldn't work well for races (like our own) that actually shield populace from natural selection by preserving and allowing to mate (almost) everybody thinking it's a "natural right" (while it's an "artificial right", of course).

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure your 'less resistant and reduced culling' holds true. Civilisation may be doing its utmost to preserve the lives and health of kids with (for instance) sickle cell anaemia, but it is simultaneously offering gene screening to avoid having a sickle cell kid, and trying to eradicate the malaria parasite which is the natural selection driver to create all those anaemias and thalassemias in the first place. Also, if you discarded 'the body' how do they reproduce? The OP stated slime and amoebas, not a brain in a bucket. $\endgroup$ – DrBob Aug 21 '17 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ Adding to @DrBob's comment, what if the species' culture was more like that of Klingons of Star Trek than like your run-of-the-mill western civilization humans? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 21 '17 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ @DrBob: unfortunately this isn't speculation. It's epidemiologically demonstrable (and demonstrated) fact. Being screened by most bacteria our immune system suffers (fast search yield this). Incidence of genetic "correctable" malformations (from myopia to bicornate uterus) are incrementing at a fast pace. There's also evidence our encephalization quotient (whatever your opinions may be on subject) is decreasing, especially in large town (traditionally protecting better, this seems to be changing). Statement seems reasonable. $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Aug 21 '17 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ @ZioByte Scientific citations? Especially for any 'incrementing at a fast pace'. Abstracts on Google Scholar will do. The BBC is lovely and does try hard (I'm biased as I used to work for them), but they aren't a primary source. $\endgroup$ – DrBob Aug 21 '17 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ @DrBob: I'll try to dig something out this evening. I'm at work now. $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Aug 21 '17 at 11:02

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