Questions tagged [evolution]

For questions about the long-term change of a specific species, type of creature, or trait, usually through the process of natural selection and reproduction. Consider also [creature-design].

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2answers
85 views

What is the smallest land mass to develop human civilization? [on hold]

(Related to this question about the smallest land mass to support a civilization, possibly dropped in fully-formed by magic or advanced technology. This question is asked in response to comments there ...
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4answers
154 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 ...
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4answers
299 views

What would the perrrsonalities of cat-people be like? [closed]

I'm looking for ideas as to what sort of perrrsonality traits Cat-People would have. That's people not into cats, but that are half cat. Presuming that on a different planet much like Earth humans ...
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5answers
169 views

In a future post-scarcity civilization, how would evolution change humans when survival is longer a challenge? [closed]

Let's imagine a post-scarcity society where everyone has unlimited access to food, energy and the aging problem has been solved so people are practically immortal. Now my understanding is that, our ...
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4answers
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Why would a virus evolve to subsist on an energy source that doesn't exist on their planet?

In my world, I have a dangerous virus that has evolved to subsist on Aether, which for now I will just call its secondary energy source apart from a normal infection of an animal. Yet on the planet ...
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2answers
125 views

Odd-Toed Ungulates

I'm creating a large ungulate that is likely a part of the suborder Anclyopoda. Suspension of disbelief is expected, but there's a detail with the current design that's really bugging me. The ...
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5answers
267 views

Would having more than two sexes decrease the number of individuals required to have a sustainable population from a genetic perspective?

On a world made up of many small islands, each island cannot support a very large population. Although sometimes individuals from one island make it across the ocean to another, this is usually a ...
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2answers
49 views

Order of Limb Pair Types for Amphibious Creature (Hexanewt)

I need to add a bit of descriptive detail on a species from a brief description. Essentially add a bit of finer detail to someone else's broad-strokes worldbuilding. An amphibious species' body layout ...
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4answers
190 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 ...
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3answers
180 views

Catastrophic geology

What would happen to an earth-like planet where an event caused a large (think, the size of the Caribbean tectonic plate) section of the crust to get peeled away, exposing the upper mantle for a ...
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3answers
271 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 ...
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6answers
156 views

What evolutionary conditions lead to intelligent life? [closed]

I was wondering if intelligent life, in the sense that the species' greatest evolutionary advantage is its' intelligence, is an evolutionary inevitability, or was it a completely random occurrence for ...
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Anatomically Correct Swarm of Rodents

Rats are commonly associated with illness and disease due to the role they played in The Black Death. However, some works of fiction portray rats as carnivorous swarms, devouring people ...
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3answers
214 views

Could a life form evolve an organ for generating temperatures less than a degree Kelvin above absolute zero?

I was thinking of a life form with a similar surface temperature to Earth, as well as a similar temperature variation to that of Earth. Could such a life form evolve an organ for generating ...
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12answers
10k views

Is there an evolutionary advantage to having two heads?

This is a classic of fantasy/sci-fi stories. A creature with two heads, two brains, two distinct personalities, sharing a single body. An entire race of Siamese twins. But the question is, what ...
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1answer
101 views

If Earth was one third it's size, and had 1/3rd it's current gravitational pull, how would life look? [closed]

So, to start off, I am not even sure if life would develop, because I am not clear on how the mass of the planet or gravitational pull affects chemical evolution, but assuming that life did start in ...
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2answers
132 views

Could Xenarthrans Be Ferried Outside South America?

Right from the beginning, the xenarthrans--armadillos, sloths and anteaters--have been at a disadvantage. For the longest time, their home was an island continent, which made them extremely ...
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4answers
199 views

Could six-limbed creatures evolve from griffin or dragon to centaur?

In my setting, centaurs are related to other six-limbed creatures such as dragons and griffins (the "fur" is actually made up of tiny feathers). Assuming they were originally creatures similar to six-...
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7answers
237 views

Would intelligence affect the evolution of colorful display patters for attracting mates?

On another planet there is a group of organisms that have colorful display patterns allowing them to attract mates. Eventually a branch of this type of organism evolves the intelligence of early ...
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2answers
422 views

Anatomically correct Guivre

The Guivre is an amphibious dragon from French mythology: Many of its aspects are typical of Western dragons, but there are two which distinguish it from others: Its breath causes disease It cannot ...
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3answers
201 views

How could a marilith evolve?

Mariliths are these D&D creatures that are basically nagas except with six arms. OK, technically this image is from Final Fantasy, but you get the point. What environmental factors could cause ...
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6answers
362 views

Why would a bird have split wings?

On my world there is a creature that has a 'split' in the plumage of its wings and tail. Instead of having a singular D-shaped surface (when viewed from above, the bird facing to the left), it is ...
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2answers
306 views

Speculative Biology of a Haplodiploid Humanoid Species

In haplodiploid sex-determination system, female/diploid individuals are developed from fertilized eggs by means of sexual reproduction, while male/haploid individuals are developed from unfertilized ...
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5answers
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Reality check: Is this a plausible way to breed raccoons?

You’re a lone immortal who’s decided to breed raccoons to a human-level intelligence (over the course of hundreds of thousands or millions of years). To do so, you need to both feed a significant ...
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1answer
72 views

How would humans evolve on this planet? [closed]

So I'm writing a story in which an advanced alien race, for reasons unknown, takes some humans from the Earth and leaves them on a far away habitable planet. Before droping them off, the aliens do ...
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2answers
168 views

Could a tree evolve to have vastly varying shades?

I was wondering whether it would be feasible to have a tree that at times may have light green, at other times dark green leaves. Why would a tree evolve to change the shade of its leaves? Yes, I am ...
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16answers
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Best species to breed to intelligence

I’ve included more background below, but the TL;DR is that you’re a lone immortal who’s decided to breed some species of animal to a human-level intelligence (over the course of hundreds of thousands ...
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3answers
153 views

Would a life form with the intelligence of a human but without an appendage for manipulating its environment be able to have advanced technology?

On another planet there is a life form that has the same level of intelligence as humans on Earth, but it has no appendage to manipulate its environment. It has similar social structures to humans ...
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4answers
209 views

Could a planet evolve to have jungles, woodlands, savannas and meadows - but no animal bigger than an insect?

I want to have a group of space colonists get stranded on a planet where the only way they can get enough nourishment is to gather or cultivate edible plants.
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5answers
146 views

How would Elves survive underground without prior experience? [duplicate]

Background: An Elven nation that once thrived for thousands of years as a predominantly agricultural race was forced underground because of unexplainable occurrences of extreme weather conditions (...
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8answers
7k views

Would glacier 'trees' be plausible?

The setting is in a region of a planet comparable to Earth's California in regards to location. The soil is extremely rich in nutrients and subsurface water. But for the past three million years the ...
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3answers
438 views

What would the physical effects be to Elves if they began living underground?

Background: An Elven nation that once thrived for thousands of years as a predominantly agricultural race was forced underground because of unexplainable occurrences of extreme weather conditions (...
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1answer
123 views

Feasibility of Thermoelectric Metabolism

Larry Niven's "Known Universe" (KU) features "The Outsiders" as one of its most prominent alien races. As per KU canon, the Outsiders evolved in a frigid moon (similar to Nereida) and they sustain ...
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6answers
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How would organisms adapt to survive darkness beasts? [expansion to my old question]

[This is an expanded/refined version of my old question: How would animals adapt to darkness-made beasts? ] Premise: 'Beasts'/Seraphins are other-worldly intangible beings (you can't touch them, but ...
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5answers
275 views

How to justify frogs taking over?

A cool thing to imagine would be a world where the land was dominated by megafaunal frog-descendants, as it is/was by mammals today, dinosaurs before the mammals, and non-mammalian synapsids and ...
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3answers
826 views

Gastric acid as a weapon

The dragons in my fantasy world spit fluid from their mouths when threatened, which upon contact causes a burning sensation. I could have this liquid be standard venom, like modified saliva, but I ...
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3answers
132 views

How could somersaulting worms evolve?

In Wayne Douglas Barlowe's classic book "Expedition" he has many strange creatures. One that intrigues the most is this one, the flipstick. It has two feet on either side and uses them to flip ...
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6answers
3k views

Lethal sonic weapons

Sonic weapons are frequently used by military circles as non-lethal irritants to deter opponents. My question is; could a naturally evolved organism kill, or at least incapacitate, small prey using ...
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1answer
145 views

Anatomically correct Isitoq

This is the latest in a long series of questions I've asked on my fantasy world which contains many mythical and folkloric creatures. I won't link the other questions since at this stage the series ...
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6answers
328 views

In what sort of environment might a species with biological wheels evolve, and what would they look like?

So for a thought experiment I came up with the idea of a species that uses wheels for locomotion, sort of inspired by a species shown in His Dark Materials. Under what circumstances would such a ...
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1answer
103 views

Could an entirely (or mostly) hydraulic muscular system work in terrestrial vertebrates?

In Invertebrates, Muscular Hydrostat, which is a form of biological hydraulic, is used for locomotion. On Earth, (as far as I'm aware) no system exists where hydraulics perform in conjunction with a ...
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0answers
56 views

Would it be possible for an analog of humans to evolve in the oceans - Specifically Octopoids? [duplicate]

Humans are tool users and through their ingenuity were able to hunt much larger animals than themselves. Specifically, I would like to have a race of sentient beings based on octopuses. They use ...
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2answers
338 views

Anatomically Correct Pikachu

We all know Pikachu, fuzzy, small rodent, with the ability to discharge electrical energy as an attack. But could Pikachu ever evolve in our world, and how would it do so? What's required: Rodent-...
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7answers
14k views

Anatomically Correct Strange Women In Ponds Distributing Swords

Chaos plagues the land. In the West, the King in Orange blusters and bloviates endlessly in barely comprehensible gibberish. Perhaps he is attempting to call forth the Elder Gods? In the East, the ...
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7answers
382 views

How can animals of various species organize themselves against a super-predator?

Cats in New York City are an invasive species that are a plague to the animal kingdom. It is well documented that these bloodthirsty psychopaths are responsible for the murder of billions of innocent ...
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3answers
940 views

A society in which the “family system” is similar to those of lions or monkeys

I envisioned a world where people are not bounded by marriage and females are free to choose those who they deem "accomplished" and have offspring with him. The males "occasionally" interact with the ...
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1answer
71 views

Electric Universe: planetary system inside a Red Star [closed]

Based on the Electric Universe physics a Red Star could harbor a planetary system within. How would life evolve taking in account that light would be almost constant in all the planets contained by ...
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2answers
109 views

Humans under different suns

What would humans look like if they were genetically suited for life under a giant orange star like Iota Draconis ? These would be people who were genetically indistinguishable from humans from earth, ...
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4answers
115 views

Anti-decomposition mechanisms?

Suppose that due to some kind of magical force I'll leave handwaved, (non-sapient) organisms are able to practice necromancy, reanimating their fallen peers as undead bodyguards. However, the magic ...
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2answers
232 views

What is the science of fairy flight?

Assume these homo super-dwarf aka fairy and homo sapiens come from a common ancestor, and somehow they evolved a pair of wings and can do vertical takeoff. The average adult is approximately the ...