Questions tagged [biology]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
194 votes
18 answers
79k views

How could dragons be explained without magic?

Dragons are a grand classic of fantasy. For this question, let's assume we're talking about the following stereotype: hatches from an ostrich-sized egg and can grow to mountain size if nothing limits ...
user avatar
  • 12.1k
74 votes
4 answers
8k views

Can you simply scale up animals?

There have been a number of questions focusing on mythical creatures where the logical approach to answering has been to scale up an existing animal. For example dragon's wings can be extrapolated ...
user avatar
  • 18.1k
38 votes
4 answers
11k views

How to make a realistic 'giant'

Imagine a race of what we would call 'giants', each of them possibly around 8 to 10 feet (2.40-3.00 meters) tall. What differences would they need compared to us regular humans in order to function? I ...
user avatar
63 votes
15 answers
39k views

Would the human body support living on planets with a greater gravity than Earth?

I once read a novel about a prison-planet which was chosen to make the prisoners suffer. One of the different "tortures" was a gravity three times higher than that on Earth. Would the human body ...
user avatar
  • 2,177
20 votes
6 answers
8k views

What would be the tallest possible height for humanlike creatures in earthlike conditions?

This is about "giants" inhabiting a fictional earth-like planet somewhere in the Universe (like those in the movie Prometheus, for example). Assuming that all the conditions (temperature, gravity, ...
user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
5k views

How to make a flying human

We are in a future where genetics has advanced to a point where arbitrary modifications can be done to living beings. Now a geneticist wants to make a flying human. That is, he wants to modify a human ...
user avatar
  • 31k
98 votes
14 answers
10k views

Is there a scientific explanation as to why aliens should look similar to us?

In almost all science-fiction stories that include alien races, said aliens are similar to humans in many ways: bipedal (and often humanoid), communicate with sounds coming out of a mouth, orient in ...
user avatar
  • 12.1k
57 votes
3 answers
18k views

Is there a maximum size an ocean bound creature could grow to?

Assuming the ocean is deep enough and not overcrowded is there any upper limits to the size a "sea monster" can grow? On land creatures are limited by gravity, they have to be able to generate the ...
user avatar
  • 18.1k
23 votes
3 answers
9k views

What is the maximum size of a flying creature?

Giant winged beasts such as the Roc and the western dragon feature strongly in mythology. Is there a maximum size on a biological winged flying creature? How would an atmosphere different from Earth'...
user avatar
  • 3,210
48 votes
7 answers
34k views

If accelerated natural healing were to occur, what would happen to the human body?

The Details: The human body is capable of impressive acts of self-repair, but such processes take a lot of time, and can take a toll on the body. Infection or other complications can also develop, and ...
user avatar
  • 1,628
37 votes
10 answers
3k views

Plausibility of Floating Whales

Ignoring the plausibility of their evolution and sources of food, could a whale-like creature which internally consists largely of hydrogen bladders/gasbags realistically stay aloft? If these ...
user avatar
  • 10.9k
12 votes
2 answers
4k views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton [closed]

Sometimes you just want to have a dragon, giant scorpion or a superhuman that has a bit more realism behind it than "it's strong, fast, can jump extreme distances despite it's weight and it's smart, ...
user avatar
  • 39.9k
27 votes
7 answers
7k views

Could life form in outer space?

All life we know of to date (presumably) formed on a rocky planet (more precisely: earth). Fiction has been written about life in more exotic locations. Though as far as I know, these lifeforms were ...
user avatar
  • 5,535
24 votes
3 answers
4k views

What colour is the foliage if the sky is violet?

This question on Physics.SE asks whether other colors are possible for the sky. I would like my planet to be inhabitable by normal humans. It has 768 days and they are living in a temperate/...
user avatar
  • 1,347
64 votes
13 answers
18k views

What kind of natural armor would stop bullets?

It should not resist 50 cal bullets, but an armor which could protect a creature from the US standard issue rifle, for example. Here are a couple of things the armor needs to do: Protect the creature ...
user avatar
  • 3,074
41 votes
5 answers
11k views

How would multi-race humanoid evolution happen?

If we were to pull the following races out of a D&D players handbook and remove them from the setting/history of Faerun and look at them from a biological/non-magic perspective (no other planes of ...
user avatar
  • 32.5k
29 votes
8 answers
7k views

How to Breathe Both on Land and Under the SEA

The popular image of a mermaid is a half-fish, half-human creature breathing fine above and below the surface. The only real-life analogy to this are the amphibians - frogs, toads and salamanders. ...
user avatar
26 votes
6 answers
9k views

Maximum size of an exoskeletal creature

On a world I am building, I have a species of creatures that evolved from crustaceans. The problem is that while they have an exoskeleton, they also live on a world with the same gravity as Earth. I ...
user avatar
  • 55.2k
43 votes
12 answers
6k views

Multiple DNA, one creature

Suppose a species possessed different sets of DNA for different parts of its anatomy. I'm not suggesting one set for every function in the body; that would result in hundreds of thousands of unique ...
user avatar
  • 24.9k
2 votes
4 answers
940 views

Could my Wyverns exist?

A long time ago, Yi Qi diverged into three main groups: Cockatrices, Drakes, and Wyverns. Some characteristics of Wyverns include: They are tetrapods/quadrupeds They are covered with feathers The ...
user avatar
  • 6,043
41 votes
14 answers
9k views

Anatomically correct Arachne

In the fantasy culture it's not uncommon to find Giant spiders with the upper body of a human. There are many variants as the spider body having only 4 legs and the upper human body have 2 additional ...
user avatar
  • 3,802
20 votes
3 answers
3k views

Minimum brain size for consciousness?

In the limit, how small can a brain get and still host an identifiably human-like consciousness? Obviously, they can be smaller than an adult human's, since children (with smaller brain volumes) and ...
user avatar
29 votes
3 answers
4k views

How tall can a tree grow?

In my fantasy world I want fantastically large trees, particularly in the height category. The tallest trees on earth grow just over 100 meters tall. Why can't they get taller? What circumstances ...
user avatar
  • 13.5k
43 votes
11 answers
9k views

How do I explain a unicorn discharging powerful electricity at a distance?

I am thinking of copying the design of an electric eel to create the horn, however as air is not a good conductor of electricity it cannot discharge any electrical shock unless there is a physical ...
user avatar
  • 46k
49 votes
12 answers
5k views

Natural Projectile Weapons

I'm not aware of any animals which have evolved projectile weapons that they fire. There are a number that spit venom but none that even throw rocks, let alone using projectiles. On the other hand ...
user avatar
  • 76.1k
14 votes
8 answers
4k views

Anatomically reasonable respiratory system for human-derived merfolk

This question considers the respiratory apparatus of an aquatic (or amphibious) species descended from engineered humans. The history of the species provides a relevant constraint. While the science ...
user avatar
  • 719
24 votes
5 answers
6k views

Could plants develop intelligence?

I know the idea seems a bit far fetched but it's something I believe is common is science fiction and fantasy stories. I remember the talking trees of Zelda: Ocarina of time and of course, Tolkien's ...
user avatar
  • 16.6k
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 2: nervous system

Part 1 here: Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton This question is about a complete rebuild of the nervous system. The question as proposed here: Improving human ...
user avatar
  • 39.9k
14 votes
8 answers
2k views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 3: Physical shock resistance

Part 1 here: Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton Part 2 here: Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 2: nervous system In most movies, comics and ...
user avatar
  • 39.9k
23 votes
9 answers
5k views

How fast could a directed breeding program turn another Earth species intelligent?

There is no genetic engineering allowed, just selected breeding and offspring selection. There is no genome sequencing, imagine medieval technology plus mendelian principles. The laws of heredity are ...
user avatar
23 votes
6 answers
3k views

Living Planet Possible?

Although a question about how large a living thing could be has been asked and answered, would a being such as Mogo from DC's Green Lantern series be possible? Mogo is the size of Earth roughly can ...
user avatar
16 votes
6 answers
4k views

What would a Collective Consciousness look like?

The idea of a collective consciousness (Or Anthill) is pretty simple: instead of cells you have small sentient animal that make up a larger creature. This is different from a hive mind in that the ...
user avatar
  • 55.2k
26 votes
8 answers
4k views

Can an atmosphere englobe a planetary ring?

Would it be possible for the atmosphere of a planet to reach beyond its planetary ring so that earth-like biology could develop on some of the asteroids there? This question is mainly about whether ...
user avatar
  • 12.1k
17 votes
6 answers
2k views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 6: Radiation protection

Previous parts here: Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 2: nervous system Creating a scientifically semi-...
user avatar
  • 39.9k
10 votes
3 answers
936 views

Space Whales, how to survive?

We have escaped the galactic government, and now our greatest endeavour yet, life in space. How will these gargantuan space entities eat and survive in space? The whale or other in question is the ...
user avatar
  • 1,987
17 votes
3 answers
3k views

What evolutionary pressures would lead to Orcs?

In my story Orcs, humans, and a bunch of other fantasy races live along side each other and i'm curious as to what evolutionary pressures would to a group of divergent hominids to evolve into Orcs? ...
user avatar
  • 6,043
1 vote
3 answers
545 views

Making a Predator For Chompers

Yep, I'm back with another predator question! Before I even posting Creating a Predator For Plops, I knew I'd have to post similar questions for Chompers, Snappers, and Anklebiters (the last will come ...
user avatar
  • 12.8k
21 votes
3 answers
1k views

Life on a planet with multiple gas layers

Could a terrestrial planet have a stable set of layers of atmospheres, and could different lifeforms evolve within those different layers? This question is inspired by the diversity found on Earth. ...
user avatar
  • 213
35 votes
4 answers
82k views

How big would a pair of wings need to be to allow an adult human to fly in a given environment?

Lets indulge in a bit of Mad Science, here. Assuming the world described here: Making the Enterprise Fly (60% of earth's gravity, 50% denser atmosphere) what is the wingspan needed to allow an ...
user avatar
  • 5,886
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

Where do mushroom forests thrive?

Lichen are a symbiotic organism that involves algae or cyanobacteria living inside a fungus. The algae produce energy through photosynthesis, while the fungus protect the algae from the environment ...
user avatar
  • 84.3k
31 votes
6 answers
8k views

Does living without access to sunlight for extended periods have known physical or psychological effects on humans?

Humans (even programmers :-) ) are used to having some access to natural light, but in a colony in space, on the dark side of a tidally-locked planet, or underground (for example) this won't happen. ...
user avatar
10 votes
9 answers
3k views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 4: respiratory system

Previous parts here: Creating a scientificly semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton Creating a scientificly semi-valid super-soldier, part 2: nervous system Creating a scientificly semi-valid ...
user avatar
  • 39.9k
12 votes
5 answers
1k views

What evolutionary pressures would lead to Goblins?

A long time ago homo floresiensis split off into two main groups Goblins and Halflings. Now Goblins are an odd little bunch (here's a rough mock up of what a goblin might look like) and I was ...
user avatar
  • 6,043
53 votes
18 answers
13k views

Is it possible for a species to have more than two sexes?

Every species I'm aware of on earth has two sexes (with the possible exception of species which change their sexes to allow self fertilization). Is it possible for a species to evolve which could ...
user avatar
  • 18.1k
20 votes
3 answers
13k views

The Centaur--Let's Get Real, Shall We?

Undoubtedly, one of mythology's most iconic creatures is the centaur, a human being with his or her waist glued to the torso of a horse. For this post, we are avoiding the question of how ...
user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
1k views

How might kinetosynthesizing "plants" look?

Suppose that there is a moon, orbiting a gas giant, and that gas giant is a rogue planet - it moves freely through the universe, unbound by the gravity of a star. This means that one, the moon will ...
user avatar
  • 14.7k
24 votes
7 answers
41k views

How would the human body develop under a different gravity?

What would be the effects of high or low gravity on human body development? How would the human body develop under a different gravity? Many science fiction stories explore the idea that people from ...
user avatar
  • 13.5k
26 votes
8 answers
3k views

What could cause rock formations (small stones, boulders, islands...) to levitate?

You see this in quite a bunch of movies / books (think avatar). What could be a reasoned physical explanation of such phenomenon? Would this explanation impact other things on a planet? Like most ...
user avatar
  • 12.1k
25 votes
4 answers
6k views

What minimal radius is needed for rotation to simulate gravitation without adverse effects on humans?

A quite common idea to provide "gravitation" in space stations is to make them rotate, so the centrifugal force gives an effective gravitation. A possible design is a ring-shaped space station. Now ...
user avatar
  • 31k
30 votes
15 answers
5k views

Can evolution be prevented?

Imagine a world where a creationist situation holds: God (or an alien master species, if you prefer) created all the species you see in the world today, and there will never be any others. Are there ...
user avatar
  • 3,608

1
2 3 4 5
17