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Questions tagged [biology]

For questions about living things. Does not exclude aliens, but additional information is usually necessary (consider using "xenobiology" instead).

12
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5answers
2k views

What would birds look like if they used buoyancy to fight gravity?

What would birds look like if they did not have to fight gravity to fly? The question comes from the premise put forward by some that gravity is not real and that what holds us down is pressure ...
28
votes
10answers
7k views

In theory, could all mammals be wiped out by a single pathogen?

Pathogen Note: For the purpose of this question I define a pathogen to include viruses and/or bacteria. Edit: I don't exclude other biological agents such as fungi that might have the same effect. ...
2
votes
3answers
794 views

Possible biological adaptations to make current humans more suited to surviving on Earth-like primitive planets? [on hold]

Premise My alternate version of the human race has progressed just to the brink of the ability to explore and possibly colonize other earth like exo-planets. the story follows an expedition crew has ...
1
vote
2answers
55 views

How Would a Filter-Feeding Marine Turtle Feed?

Back home, many large planktivores have ingenious ways to trap food and not water. For sharks like the basking and the megamouth, that is no problem, as they have modified their gills into rakers to ...
11
votes
13answers
2k views

How could a plague that killed off the dinosaurs come back?

In my story, something pretty insane happens during the 3rd season. The common conception was that an asteroid strike contributed to the extinction to dinosaurs, but unbeknownst to all it was not a ...
39
votes
8answers
9k views

Is it harder for an intelligent octopus to live on land, or a human to live in space?

I have a race of octopodes with the same intelligence distribution as humans. I want them to “colonise” land to a similar extent as we have “colonised” space; have regular transport between the ocean ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Could 'robotic' prostheses be possible in the victorian era?

In my world I would like to have a cyborg-inspired veteran, but am not sure what kinds of prostheses would be possible, ideally without the use of electrics. My main concern is how the prostheses ...
0
votes
3answers
192 views

How can I alter humans to allow them the ability to choose the sex of their child in the ancient world?

Research shows that some creatures in the animal kingdom manipulate the sex of their child in order to maximize the number of grandchildren. Parents in good condition, based on health, size, dominance ...
-1
votes
4answers
247 views

The Galaxy has been colonised but why the big feet?

Far, far into the future, pretty much the entire Milky Way has been colonised by humans. The thing is that now the Empire has fallen, the technology of FTL travel has been lost in most places. Those ...
6
votes
3answers
556 views

One Mother + Two Fathers = Twins

In the human species, one male partner is enough for the sperm to fertilize the egg. The average cargo is just one child, half of its DNA from the mother and the other half from the father. But ...
10
votes
3answers
359 views

Would having ZW sex-determination system have any drastic effects on humans?

I'm trying to make a world where my "humans" have ZW sex-determination system that means sex is determined in the ovum instead of the sperm. Could I just easily hand-wave everything else as being the ...
3
votes
5answers
162 views

Best place on an humanoid body to develop biological radio?

As seen on others questions biological radio could be a thing. How to evolve biological radios? What would a species require to be able to inherently transmit and receive radio waves? I was ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Destroying one of the Great Pyramids without killing the protagonist [on hold]

A woman finds herself inside the Great Pyramid of Kheops when a bunch of terrorists starts blowing it down from outside. The woman manages to find a way out but before being able to leave the Pyramid,...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Could crystals grow on living things?

A friend and I are creating a magical bird that eats gemstones then uses them to form a thin coat of crystal armor over its body. Is there any way for this bird (or any living thing) to actually have ...
3
votes
1answer
136 views

Would it be possible for an animal to develop pneumatic muscles through evolution? [closed]

I have been pondering the question of how make animals stronger in unusual ways. It was during this process that it occurred to me: "Can living things naturally develop pneumatic muscle systems?" For ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

I Need Help With Human Degenerative Disease (HDD) [closed]

I am currently working on a post-apocalyptic world where roughly 90% of humanity get infected by HDD (Human Degenerative Disease). HDD causes the human brain, gland and tissues to change quite ...
11
votes
13answers
574 views

Why would only negative mutations be inheritable while positive ones are not?

Human souls are born in the immaterium, a spiritual realm that is a reflection of the mortal world. This realm is made up of light and dark energies that symbolize concepts of "good" and "evil". For a ...
3
votes
1answer
268 views

Iron based life

Lately I have been thinking about possible forms of life on planets that would have radically different experiences than here on Earth. I was wondering if life based on transition metals was possible ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

Is sleep exercise possible? [closed]

Is is possible to put someone to sleep and, while they are sleeping, attach muscle stimulating pads, causing the muscles to do work and causing exercise to be done without consciousness?
77
votes
17answers
17k views

Would a 'World Tree' be feasible in real life?

A livescience.com article claims that trees can reach a theoretical height of 400 to 426 feet (122 to 130m). This is due to the tree being unable to carry water up to the top at that certain point due ...
23
votes
12answers
8k views

How can a mortal woman successfully carry a demigod to term?

Demigods are special humans that are born partly divine. These individuals have been extremely rare throughout history, and always have various significant effects for the world around them, leading ...
1
vote
2answers
73 views

If magic were the manipulation of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation through a biological medium, how would this affect the body?

The idea here is magic is cast by altered mitochondria in-taking a new form of radiation which acts as a sort of manipulation net for ionizing or non-ionizing radiation depending on need. Then ...
3
votes
4answers
178 views

Evolution in dragons

I'm currently working on a world where there are two groups of dragons, Continent dragons and island dragons. The basic story is that long ago there was one massive population of dragons that lived on ...
2
votes
3answers
249 views

Explosive joints that allow people to jump really long lengths

How does a joint need to operate and be structured in order to allow a person to do leaps of 10 meters in length with ease and without taking a long run first? Here's an example of what I'm talking ...
7
votes
2answers
119 views

Tolerable range of surface gravities for interplanetary colonists?

Human physiology is adapted for life at 1G, but planets colonised by future humans will likely have different surface gravities. What is the range of values for surface gravity that humans can ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

Creating a earth-like moon orbiting a gas giant that life can evolve naturally [duplicate]

We're trying to create a alien race physically very similiar to humans including carbon based chemistry but with completely different mindsets, culture and society because of the different ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

How long can a preserved human body last before turning to dust?

Some Context The setting is a fantasy world with lots of magic where Liches exist. A Lich is "born" through a series of complex, dangerous and horrific rituals that a mage casts upon himself over ...
27
votes
8answers
8k views

Is it safe to grow and eat food on post-nuclear-war land?

Follow-up of Could the entire world have been destroyed by the existing nuclear arsenal in 1962? Is it safe to grow food on land that was hit by nuclear bombs? Or will such food kill/fatally sicken ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

What would the effects be on a earth-like planet if the magnetic field was much stronger

The hypothetical world is for all intents and purposes earth or very close to it. So what would the effects be if the magnetic field were either stronger from the start of the planet, or if the ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Can you help me design humans that naturally grow green hair?

Is there any chemical that is biologically produced in humans, that when impregnated in hair follicles, produces green hair? If current keratin follicles cannot do that, pick another biochemical for ...
8
votes
6answers
290 views

Biological healer, how does it work?

How can a species force an external body to heal itself and speed up the process without the use of magic and technology but by biological means? Sanators are creatures who can force the body of a ...
6
votes
5answers
245 views

How would shapeshifters be affected by their abilities?

So I have a race of shapeshifters in my world, and in order to change shape or make adjustments to their body (grow wings, arms, tails etc.) They rearrange the atoms in their body, probably through ...
29
votes
8answers
4k views

How would trees communicate?

An alternate world is populated by mainly intelligent trees and other plants. These plants are almost exactly the same, biologically, as Earth's plants. The world's climate and geology are very ...
6
votes
1answer
102 views

Effects of a ferret-like spine/ribcage on bipedal posture, possible leg lengths/proportions?

I was recently redesigning some mostly hominid Aliens I designed a long time back in high school and felt were a little lackluster, and since they were already Tall, Wiry, and vaguely Shambolic-...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How do mermaids' ears work?

Whales and dolphins surely do not have ears similar to ours and yet they can pick up ultrasound underwater without fear of water pressure damaging the eardrum. Any idea how the mermaids with ears like ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Would it possible for a creature to melt down rocks in its stomach and spit out lava?

Worldbuilding and biology have always been two huge passions of mine, especially when it comes to dragons. So well, at the moment I'm working on a little project in which I'm attempting to make ...
4
votes
8answers
380 views

How to modify DNA without using computers?

I would like for a civilization to be very good at bio-engineering, but I do not know how they would be able to modify DNA to suit their purposes, with greater things than breeding can bring. For ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What impact would copper-based blood (haemocyanin) have on a humanoid creature?

Prompted by a question about the impact of dietary iron in elves (How would Fair Folk-type elves deal with dietary iron?), I wondered whether haemocyanin could be an alternative to haemoglobin in ...
7
votes
2answers
132 views

What could be used as an alternative to ATP in boron based biochemistry?

I have created a life form that is based on the element boron. As a substitute for DNA it instead uses Diborane as a building block. I've come across a problem however that I can't seem to get around. ...
7
votes
3answers
797 views

Can cellular replacement based on embryonic copies explain the longevity of elves?

In my research on how I could get elves to live the time spans I wanted them to live, I came up with this solution: Every elf generates while still developing inside the womb of the mother copies of ...
2
votes
3answers
163 views

What kind of biological characteristic does a human being need to achieve great speeds?

In my book there is a tribe and one of the characteristics I describe is that they can achieve great speeds, something like 80km/h (50 mph) for 2 minutes approximately. How could it be?
0
votes
3answers
129 views

how can I ensure that the amount of jing that a person has at birth is completely random?

Spiritual energy, or jing, is a powerful substance that forms the essence of who and what we are. It is the primal energy of our life. Jing is the deep foundational energy reserves of the body and it ...
5
votes
10answers
1k views

With current technology, genetically modified virus able to end mankind

Description : Even in the ⅩⅩth century, biological warfare was studying only existing diseases. But recently we're able to modify viruses in order to cure genetic impairments. Would it be possible to ...
9
votes
2answers
156 views

What are the uses of colour in a world where nothing can see?

In a previous question - How might kinetosynthesizing "plants" look? - I introduced a worldbuilding thought experiment of mine centered around a habitable moon, heated by tidal forces, which ...
1
vote
1answer
140 views

Are there chemical elements deadly to mushrooms but not to humans?

Are there any chemical elements dangerous to fungus/mushrooms that wouldn't threaten the human species. The chemical elements I'm looking for would be in the periodic table of elements. It doesn't ...
0
votes
2answers
129 views

Can E=MC2 be used when thinking about human strength

As we know just because a person has more mass that doesn't mean they can lift more weight or punch harder as those actions are more about training your technique. My story is a martial arts / ...
10
votes
2answers
217 views

How can a bird survive self ignition?

This may seem similar to this question but my goal is for one: The bird does not die and secondly to get more exact solutions. The ultimate goal would be to create a bird which can ignite itself at ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Never-ending string kebab for a dystopian future

For a Matrix-type future I want to feed people via solid food. This is to keep all their internal organs working properly. The idea is to feed them an endless kebab that is held together along its ...
1
vote
0answers
70 views

Internal Body Heat of Giant Animals. At which point would their size cook them from inside? [closed]

It is my understanding that one of the reasons for why massive lifeforms (as depicted in fiction) aren't possible is the fact that the heat radiated by their body after a certain point would be too ...
9
votes
8answers
261 views

How could a bloodline ability manifest in one sex but not the other?

A kekai genkai is a bloodline ability that is passed down genetically within clans. They give users access to specific powers unique to that family. These abilities take a number of forms: going bones ...