Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [creature-design]

For questions regarding the viability of a life-form design. These questions should focus on biologically plausible creatures.

169
votes
18answers
59k 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 ...
63
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
24
votes
7answers
11k views

Anatomically Correct Angels

As part II of anatomically correct myths here we have the Angel. Angels appear in many cultures and are most commonly seen as simply winged humans. Is there a realistic way that angels could evolve? ...
35
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
37
votes
13answers
14k views

Could a creature evolve a biological “bulletproof vest”?

A variety of Earth species have hard, more or less rigid shells covering parts of or their entire bodies as a defense against predators. These work to a varying degree depending on the specific ...
46
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Is the Idea of a Collective Consciousness Realistic?

In how smart can I make ants, an idea was suggested, to instead of making each ant individually sapient, make the 'anthill' as a whole sapient; a kind of unconventional hive mind. Just as a familiar ...
22
votes
6answers
6k views

Anatomically Correct Griffins

As a series of anatomically correct myths, here we have the griffin. Is there a realistic way that griffins could evolve? Using Earth or near-Earth biology, how close could I get to the classic ...
65
votes
8answers
6k views

How often must carnivorous grassland eat?

Don't go into the bonegrass. Seriously, unless you want to be dead. You go in there, brush the grass with your clothes, start to feel sleepy... Before too long your limbs will go numb, then you're on ...
40
votes
12answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
515 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 ...
41
votes
6answers
5k views

How do I prevent my turtle from collapsing under its own gravity?

Suppose the universe contained a species of planet sized turtles1 that can travers at least interstellar space. How can I explain (without invoking magic) that these turtles are not spherical? If ...
14
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Evolution of giant floating mammals

Whales are majestic creatures of the sea, as they glide more gracefully through the water than their size should seemingly allow. What kind of evolutionary path would it take for whales to glide ...
9
votes
4answers
676 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
448 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-...
10
votes
3answers
475 views

Efficiency required of a photosynthetic system to support human level activities

Chlorophyll as we know it on earth is estimated to be between 3% and 6% efficient in converting light energy to useable biomass. This support slow growth and no movement of plants like that observed ...
7
votes
3answers
473 views

How could water breathing animals have a warm-blooded level of metabolism?

In the popular merfolk topic, I always use the model of marine mammals, not water-breathing fish-like animals. They breathe air, that turbo-charged 20% oxygen fluid that enables the scale of ...
58
votes
29answers
11k views

What are the conditions in which a creature would evolve more than one brain?

Would any creature ever need to evolve a second (or multiple) brain(s)? If so, under what conditions, why, and what implications would it have on the creature's intelligence? Note that while an ...
48
votes
18answers
10k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
11k views

Humanoids with digitigrade legs?

I've designed an alien race of bipedal humanoids with digitigrade legs. This race's advanced scientific progress means that they use traditionally human-associated technology, or similar (such as ...
30
votes
21answers
7k views

How could a species survive on just luring in and eating humans?

In a question about mermaids, it was proposed that they might have evolved to look like humans to lure them in and prey on them. How could a creature survive on a diet of nothing but lured-in humans? ...
27
votes
9answers
8k views

How big could a living thing be?

Simply put is there an upper bound for the largest possible living creature in a scientifically rational world without incorporating anti-gravity, magic, the force, or other physical concepts we are ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What evolutionary factors can contribute to large sexual dimorphism in large mammals?

On Earth, the polar bear is among the most sexually dimorphic animals, with males being on average almost twice as heavy as females (Wikipedia claims average weights of 450 kg for males versus 260 kg ...
33
votes
9answers
7k views

Anatomically Correct Medusa

Medusa is a legendary myth about a woman with snakes for hair that turns anything she looks at into stone. How can I achieve both of those features in an animal realistically? And how would these ...
20
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
2k views

Science behind a naturally invisible creature

Suppose a planet developed a peculiar form of life that was naturally invisible, but only within a 15-ft. (4.57 m) radius, by bending or refracting the majority of light around its body due to its ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What else is involved in “silicon based” life?

Silicon is often brought up in science fiction as being very similar to carbon, just below it on the periodic table. The silicon-based "organic" molecules are more tightly bound and thus would find a ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Anatomically Correct: 4-legged sapient creatures (“centaurs” etc.)

This is a part of the Anatomically Correct series. If a magic-free fantasy/SF world were to have naturally evolved hexapods as humanoid as possible, living among bipedal humanoids, how would they ...
22
votes
10answers
3k views

A Human Hunter with Sonic Powers?

As part of Fortnightly topic challenge #3: Creature Design I am looking for a realistic way to create a particularly nasty creature. What I would like: A creature that is capable of emitting a ...
7
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Anatomically correct Giants [duplicate]

What genetic traits would be needed to have a human that is "normal" in all aspects, but roughly 50 to 80 feet tall? This doesn't seem completely out of the realm of possibility considering some ...
45
votes
8answers
7k views

How do creatures with a hive mind communicate?

Suppose we have a civilisation which is made up of many creatures sharing a single hive mind. Each creature can see, hear and remember what each other member of the species (or possibly hive) has seen ...
24
votes
6answers
6k views

Anatomically correct multiarmed humanoids

Humanoids with more than 2 pairs of arms weren't an unknown concept in human culture. From ancient mythology, there are the hundred-armed Hekatoncheires (who have their own thread here) and six-armed ...
16
votes
8answers
1k views

Creature with a non-centralized brain

I've always found animal intelligence to be fascinating, particularly that of the cephalopods, some of which show some pretty remarkable talents for tool usage, mimicry, and pattern recognition. ...
59
votes
9answers
7k views

How does the Booze-Rat fuel its defensive mechanism?

Of all the creatures in Hatjörn's dominion, there is none as peculiar as the Murinae Spirita, the mean booze-rat. A vermin so resilient that has developed the most wondrous means of defence and thus ...
29
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Anatomically Correct Naga

Nagas are a half-human half-snake hybrid, similar to centaurs in that the beast has a human torso and a snake lower body. This question provides an overview of probable physical characteristics of ...
22
votes
8answers
2k views

What is plausible biology of ocean-dwelling, tool-using, intelligent creatures?

I want to develop a water-dwelling, intelligent species that could ultimately reach space.1 My question here is about the biology of such creatures. I want my creatures to live in the water, not ...
17
votes
8answers
1k views

Magivore - designing a magic 'eater'

Yes, magic means I can say 'make it so' and it is. But I see too many options and not sure which ones would make more sense. I'm picking one idea that I've never seen in a book. So a Magivore is ...
25
votes
18answers
5k views

How could ghosts be explained without an afterlife?

I've always loved well-done ghosts. However, I've always hated the afterlife-speculation that they engender if used in a story. So I need a way to get ghosts without the fluffy spiritualistic bits. ...
23
votes
8answers
8k views

Plausibility of the Japanese Nekomimi

So I'm creating a world in which humans have a close sister species very similar to the Japanese Nekomimi seen in anime and manga. Eventually, the humans turn on Nekomimis, perceiving themselves as ...
44
votes
11answers
6k views

Anatomically Correct Phoenix

The Phoenix appears in Greek mythology and are most commonly seen as beautiful golden birds that burst into flame and are reborn from the ashes. Is there a realistic way that they could evolve? Using ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

Dragons that eat gems—digestion

Heads up—this is a pretty gross question. The dragons in this world are not reptilian, but rather resemble huge borzois. I've not sure how large I want them to be yet, but they are capable of mining/...
17
votes
7answers
7k views

Is it possible to ride a carnivore species?

Humans have been domesticating carnivores for over 10 000 years. And there are certainly carnivores big enough to ride. The former is the biggest feline ever to exist. They certainly can carry a human ...
15
votes
6answers
5k views

Anatomically Correct Pegasus

This is part of the Anatomically Correct Series. I've been wondering how an anatomically correct pegasus could evolve. Pegasus characteristics They are pretty obvious, but just in case: Horse size ...
10
votes
4answers
525 views

What is the botanic equivalent to muscles

A plethora of previous questions have queried the existence of botanic (plant) intelligence and they all have created good solutions, but their still remains a even bigger problem to even the dumbest ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How to convincingly explain Kaiju

This will be a companion question for How plausible is my monster?. My previous question dealt with a story treatment for a hard science and realistic take on Kaiju/ giant monsters. While that story ...
24
votes
6answers
3k views

Anatomically Correct Cyclops

As a series of anatomically correct myths, here we have the Cyclops. One of the most similar creatures to man but with 'one' noticeable difference, one eye. It seems that land animals love their two ...