Questions tagged [biology]

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

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21
votes
10answers
4k views

Increasing muscle power without increasing volume

Some of you may know my mutant thread, and guess what? It's back. I'm wondering if there is any biological means to improve muscular power without greatly increasing the volume of said muscle. My ...
13
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2answers
604 views

How Efficient Could Anaerobic Megafauna Be?

Obviously, if available, atmospheric oxygen is a great source of energy. However, I'm surely not the first worldbuilder who wants an alien species which doesn't depend on it (whether due to having ...
3
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4answers
220 views

“Realistic” Dwarfs Part One: Bioluminescence for active Vision

I've been thinking about dwarfs and their depiction in classical fantasy for while now and concluded that I find it unrealistic and lazy. Some research showed me that the current fantasy dwarfs have ...
6
votes
2answers
180 views

Are there existing Earthly body plans that make trapezoid or hexagonal spacecraft volume efficient?

Volume efficiency is extremely important when it comes to minimising the targettable cross-section of a warship in space. Humans make pretty efficient use of spaces that are generally square or ...
1
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2answers
194 views

How much is it possible to fake age? [closed]

There's a society with a privileged class of people. Privileged - because the period of time when they can be part of that class is limited. Only people between 20 and 30 years old can be admitted and ...
24
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9answers
8k views

How could an animal “smell” carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air. So begins Wikipedia's article on carbon monoxide (CO). To the best of my internet ...
2
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3answers
167 views

How can I fast-track the growth of a human being with an artificial womb?

A homoculus is an artificial human being that is created through the magical science of alchemy. These creatures are born in artificial wombs by a dark ritual that requires various materials, and the ...
2
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4answers
113 views

What are some difficulties in synthesizing desirable substances produced in nature?

Suppose that there is a substance that is produced in nature by an organism. This substance is rather desirable. The reason this substance is desirable can be anything: Whether it is because it is a ...
5
votes
3answers
196 views

Realistic melange - Part 1: Formation

Melange, also known as "the spice", is a fictional drug in Frank Herbert's famous Dune series, which has many benefits (and some drawbacks). In this series of questions, I'll try to see how many of ...
6
votes
3answers
248 views

Is it possible for thermophilic viruses to infect humans?

I'm writing a short story that focuses on an area with high thermophile activity, like a hot spring. There are known thermophile viruses, but thermophiles aren't able to transmit these to humans ...
1
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4answers
191 views

How dangerous are sodium salts?

I am in the early stages of planning a story called The Four Flamingos of the Apocalypse. The premise is that the Four Horsemen have manifested on the surface of the earth and are tasked with bringing ...
9
votes
7answers
3k views

How to evolve human-like eyes that can stare at the sun without protection?

Imagine a species that is very much like humans in shape, size and physiology. But they are able to stare at the sun for long periods without suffering any harm, and without needing any artificial ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Could there possibly be any alternative biomolecules that could store genetic information like DNA and RNA? [closed]

I study quite a lot of chemistry, biology, and other branches of those fields, alongside some forms of astronomy. As part of a large-scale project I have been working on for a few years and continue ...
2
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2answers
103 views

Segmented Endoskeleton

I have a primarily marine creature that needs to be able to move around effectively outside of water yet still be extremely flexible. My idea is having an anatomy based largely on bony disks similar ...
13
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5answers
307 views

Where are all the non-aquatic mouthbrooders?

Some fish mouthbrood. Some amphibians mouthbrood. Crocodilians carry their babies in their mouths to water. Is there a reason why there are no instances (that I know of) of terrestrial animals that ...
6
votes
3answers
229 views

Could people harness the bioluminescence of a firefly?

The world I am creating is in a swamp that contains larger than life bugs; this includes fireflies. What I ask is, could the bioluminescence of their glow somehow be harnessed or used as a light ...
4
votes
1answer
252 views

What effect would living underwater have on a mermaid's skin?

Mermaids are commonly depicted as mammalian, human-like creatures from the waist up and scaly fish-like creatures from the waist down. What properties (color, texture, etc) would their mammal skin ...
5
votes
2answers
193 views

External ATP Synthesiser Plausibility

Assume a civilisation with futuristically advanced knowledge of biochemistry. Assume it wants to develop a cybernetic device meant to facilitate the organism's ability to perform high-power activities ...
2
votes
0answers
84 views

Equipment needed for comatose/bedridden persons outside a hospital? [closed]

I'm still working on a short story series revolving around a resistance cell who fight against an oppressive, dystopian government. To make a long story short, they use a popular hotel chain as a ...
2
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2answers
134 views

Injury to the lower jaw - what would be the consequences?

One of my characters suffers an injury where a spike pierced his lower jaw and severed his tongue. Ignoring the fact that he may not have survived this wound under normal circumstances (eldritch ...
9
votes
4answers
491 views

Crop production in mountains?

Would potato- or grain-like crops be able to flourish in northern alpine regions? There's a lot to be said about the Andeans, but the have the benefit of living near the equator that other ...
1
vote
5answers
332 views

Does a character being allergic to water (specifically the $H_2O$ molecule) make rational sense?

I'm writing a drama book and it's meant to be taken 100% seriously, and the main character was born with an allergy to $H_2O$. She does not have Aquagenic Urticaria, as that only affects the skin. She ...
3
votes
4answers
185 views

How can leaves knock out a dragon-like creature? [closed]

The "hero" of the story is a biologist/botanist that lives in the 30th century. All is fine...high-tech city, lots of flying cars, robots flying around. She works at a big lab, with a room next door ...
6
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3answers
239 views

Super earth habitability

I'm trying to build a super Earth that's capable of sustaining human life for space exploration in a way that's close to reality. So far I'm lacking some understanding of planetary science and human ...
8
votes
4answers
408 views

Alien life interbreeding with Earth life [duplicate]

I had an idea for a planet which, millions of years ago, was accidentally contaminated with various animals, plants and microbes from Earth, and - via the planet's native aliens' bizarre reproductive ...
11
votes
3answers
999 views

Can immunity be reverse-engineered simply by using a blood or tissue sample?

I'm working on a novel, in which a character was given a cutting edge vaccination to a deadly disease. She is now valuable because she was the only one given the vaccine and the research to make more ...
5
votes
1answer
192 views

What would happen if Aromatase turned much of a man`s testosterone levels into estrogen?

I'd like to create a story in which a genetically modified man has Aromatase Excess syndrome. For example, if a man has a genetic mutation where he produces a lot of aromatase that turns 10% of his ...
5
votes
2answers
812 views

UV emitting alien species

I am currently writing a species for my story that can self generate UV radiation by consuming cinnabar/mercury ore, being immune to mercury poisoning, converting the mercury into a vapor that ...
38
votes
5answers
7k views

What could a reptilian race tell by candling their eggs?

I've got a D&D-inspired setting, and one of the races present are yuan-ti. They're sentient snake people with a variety of forms, ranging from mostly human-looking to basically just a giant ...
3
votes
2answers
151 views

Deadly virus going extinct - “grey goo” a solution?

With the evolving global warming and thawing of permafrost, an ancient deadly virus begins to spread from Siberia across Eurasia, affecting domestic animals first and mutating quickly onto the rest of ...
5
votes
8answers
540 views

How could re-absorption of mana be dangerous to an expecting mother?

Mana is the life energy of elves that allows it to function. These elves are similiar in design to human beings. When an elf becomes pregnant, the developing fetus feeds off of its mother's mana, ...
4
votes
7answers
259 views

How can high-level awareness resulting in telepathic radar be made possible in the human mind?

The humans in this setting are telepaths who are able to communicate with each other through their minds. This form of telepathy transfers simple phrases, symbols, or emotions to the designated person ...
6
votes
8answers
445 views

What limitations can I put on wings for more tense/risky action scenes?

This is my first post on Stack Exchange, so I'm not sure if this follows the right format. Let me know what I can change to make this more helpful on the site. Anyways, let's get to the backstory of ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

If a world had a massive single giant world tree could it stop an earthquake?

You know stuff like Yggdrasil tree but just a normal tree that is the biggest and tallest in the world. If the roots grow to surpass the continental and oceanic plate either it only cover some parts ...
42
votes
19answers
8k views

How to get cool night-vision without lame drawbacks?

In this scenario, I would like to focus specifically on humanoids (read: human shaped blinking eyes, protected by eye-lashes and evolved in a waterless environment and fitting human eyesockets, from ...
5
votes
4answers
205 views

Nanobots that search and destroy cells with damaged mitochondrion [closed]

I read somewhere that scientists are trying to create nanobots carrying functional mitochondria to search out cancer cells and restart apoptosis. Instead of trying to create nanobots with a fully ...
1
vote
3answers
144 views

Ecological balance in a pleistocene+ world

So a friend is working on a worldbuilding/rpg project and I'm "beta-testing". He drew up an earth-like map and set the players start locations. Then I ask him about fauna. Will it be modern earth? ...
3
votes
7answers
897 views

How could a tree survive a volcanic blast?

Background I am working on a Role Play Video game, and I have a particular island called Morogar in my medieval fantasy. (Magic and Mythical Beasts run wild). Originally an island with forests and a ...
8
votes
4answers
204 views

How big could a land-dwelling arthropod get if it wasn’t limited by oxygen consumption?

Insects and other land-based Arthropoda are stuck at the size they are due to how inefficient their respiratory system is. They were able to reach the size they did in the Carboniferous period because ...
7
votes
2answers
194 views

What's the disease?

In a near-future sci-fi world, I described a disease with the following characteristics: Affects human female children (not necessarily exclusively). Is a neurodegenerative or similar disorder, ...
5
votes
3answers
288 views

Is acid blood possible?

I'm designing an alien species, whose blood is highly acidic and can easily cause someone's hand to melt down. It's pretty similar to the Xenomorphs from Ridley Scott's Alien, except for the color ...
20
votes
8answers
3k views

What could be the physiological mechanism for a biological Geiger counter?

Some humans have been genetically engineered to be able to detect ionizing radiation to better survive the harsh environments found outside of earth's protective magnetosphere. What could be the ...
6
votes
4answers
259 views

How can sex lead to a boost in performance for competitive sports?

Many believe that sex before a competition can have a negative impact on performance in combat, speed and strength sports in males. Athletes from strength and speed sports showed decreased performance ...
5
votes
3answers
164 views

Could the Amazon's jungle exist in a continent without the Andes mountain chain?

I assume a planet like earth. Obviously the Amazon river is fed into the Andes mountains as well as other rivers that give water to the system. Could the same amount of water come from a specific ...
6
votes
6answers
449 views

Is plausible to have subspecies with & without separate sexes?

I'm creating humanoid specie with two subspecies Hairy races - roughly based on humans, chiss, mirialans, with standard males & females sexes Tentacle races- roughly based on asari, twilek, ...
4
votes
6answers
287 views

How can I prevent the creation of fruit-salad chimeras?

A Chimera is a creature made up of two different animals that are fused together in a process known as polymerization. This spell can combine animals to create an entirely new animal which contains ...
2
votes
2answers
255 views

Anatomically Correct Ego Sword

I'm reading a comic set in a really unique fantasy game. One of the creatures that really caught my attention were a type of slime/sword called ego sword. In their normal form they're a blob but can ...
8
votes
6answers
838 views

What would prevent chimeras from reproducing with each other?

There exists a polymerization spell that allows distinct animals to combine with each other, creating an entirely new creature. The beasts in question are held in transumutation circles linked by ley ...
24
votes
11answers
4k views

Why is long-term living in Almost-Earth causing severe health problems? [closed]

The people of Magical Almost-Earth needed the Chosen One to be brought from our world. Now that the day has been saved, Chosen One would have liked to stay, marry some royal sibling and enjoy life in ...
6
votes
2answers
190 views

How much blood and/or platelets can a human give to their vampire overlord each day and still be healthy?

This is based on the idea of a society where vampires are known and subsist off of 'willingly' given human blood. An average adult human needs approximately 2000 calories a day to maintain their ...