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].

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
93
votes
25answers
26k views

Would intelligent life evolve any other body plan than humanoid?

Disclaimer: This question uses some liberal wording to get key ideas across. It's not meant to be academically rigorous, so please try to focus on the ideas and not the exact definitions of the terms ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

Could life exist on a planet that is heated mainly by hawking radiation from a super massive black hole that is millions of solar masses? [duplicate]

At a time long after the stelliferous there is a planet in orbit around a super massive black hole with almost all external heating coming from hawking radiation from the black hole it orbits. By ...
13
votes
8answers
426 views

Plausibility Check: Kite Trees?

Disclaimer: This question, unlike my other tree related question, was brought about by pure whimsical daydreaming. I also threw the term "evolve" around a lot, I should clarify that what I asking is ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

How do I determine whether hybridization would be possible between various creatures? [on hold]

I ask because the world I'm building has eight distinct races of humans on one planet, as well as various non-human animals that don't currently exist in the real world. I'd like for some forms of ...
4
votes
4answers
167 views

Alien Mammal-Like Ears

So I’m trying to design my alien life around the pressures they might face just like earth’s wildlife, and most things I’ve made plausible life that is similar to ear but not giant dinosaur cats. The ...
7
votes
2answers
306 views

Anatomically Correct “Stranger Things” Mindflayer's Monster

Background, with potential spoilers: In the Netflix show Stranger Things... If we skip the psychic stuff, there's still a pretty interesting creature there. To qualify as a Mindflayer monster, an ...
7
votes
6answers
596 views

World with dodecahedron-shaped trees

Premise I was inspired by Karl Niklas who used computer modeling to simulate the ideal structure for a tree when different traits were favored. Here is a chart summarizing his work: Explanation L (...
10
votes
11answers
3k views

Plausibility of Ice Eaters in the Arctic

Could a creature plausibly exist with its diet consisting of consuming ice, possibly for hydration? I'm unaware if it needs a secondary diet for nutrition, but how would its metabolism feasibly work?...
29
votes
19answers
10k views

Why do dragons like shiny stuff?

I like the classic trope of dragons loving gold and collecting it in their lair, yet it seems poorly justified. I know that it is often used as a metaphor for greed; "dragons disease" to show how ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

Can birds evolve without trees?

I wonder whether the birds or other flying animals heavier than air could evolve without trees of other protruding objects?
5
votes
2answers
143 views

What aquatic creatures would evolve in a world with ripped apart/chaotic oceans?

In this world, a progenitor has created a mass of order out of chaos, with the possibility of entropic fluctuations increasing the further out from the center you get. What do I mean by entropic ...
24
votes
7answers
4k views

Could mollusks become extremely large?

In a brand baby spanking new world I am building, appropriately named Escargard, punningly named by the AndyD273, mollusks have become the dominant form of life. Resulting in aliens similar to those ...
4
votes
1answer
137 views

Mesas of hard(solid) light

I searched the site and found answers saying hard light can't exist. Apparently in the three years since the last question was asked, scientists started making inroads on making solid light a reality, ...
11
votes
2answers
298 views

Plausibility Check: Territorial Trees?

Background In case you haven't heard: there are places in the Amazonian Jungle called Devil's Gardens. The gardens are large swaths of land composed of almost entirely one single tree the Duroia ...
7
votes
2answers
206 views

Life around Cepheid Variable stars

Are there any unique challenges life would face evolving on a planet orbiting a Cepheid Variable star? I'm aware this is a broad question, so to narrow it down, consider this a question about Great ...
12
votes
9answers
4k views

What kind of world would drive brains to evolve high-throughput sensory?

Here on "Earth" organisms tend to evolve only enough mental processing power to handle sensory inputs in modest amounts. Taking "human" brains for a quick example, even though we have millions of ...
5
votes
5answers
411 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
229 views

How to cause a surge in large carnivore diversity, roughly 5-7 million years hence?

I have had an idea for a possible story, where the protagonists are some kind of future, sapient hominid descendants (Not descended from humans; bonobos or gorillas or something). The main premise of ...
1
vote
2answers
180 views

How would a very old biosphere differ from Earth's “young” one?

On my world, the equivalent of the Cambrian/Avalon explosion happened 5 byr (2 byr after formation) ago as opposed to 0.5 byr ago on Earth. The planets rough parameters are: mass between 0.4 and 0....
2
votes
2answers
162 views

How would basic and complex life evolve in a gas giant [closed]

Obviously the chances of life arising in such inhospitable and unlikely as a gas giant are next to none. Instead let us theorize that a local orbiting moon of a Jupiter-like gas giant which contains a ...
8
votes
4answers
665 views

The Hadean Explosion?

In recent years, the search for the origins of life is becoming complex. It turns out that oxygen is NOT a requirement for multicellular life to thrive. As stated in this BBC article, poriferans (...
5
votes
3answers
685 views

The plausibility of a pack-hunting carrion-eating snake

I was thinking of a hypothetical species of snakes that join together for protection called Ladôni, due to their habit of mobilising in massive beds which make them resemble a large multi-headed snake....
2
votes
2answers
127 views

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

(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 ...
3
votes
4answers
215 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
314 views

Plausible homeworld for an insectoid-ish alien species?

I have a planned species of aliens that have many commonalities with longhorn crazy ants (cooperation with colonies of the same species, can live in a large variety of environments, and have the ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Creatures that intentionally blow themselves up

How could a creature explode itself? Why would it? We see example ideas of these all the time (Scourges, creepers, etc.) but nobody ever said how or why a creature would intentionally explode. I am ...
2
votes
4answers
313 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
173 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 ...
-1
votes
4answers
156 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
133 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
346 views

How would eyes that evolved in air differ from our own?

In one of the documentaries he's featured in, Neil deGrasse Tyson talked about the evolution of the eye. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SXHMm5I-68 The part that's always intrigued me is this: ...
6
votes
4answers
876 views

Could Bamboos Evolve Into Trees In the Past?

This question is based on a scenario on DeviantArt. The presented image is here: The description is as follows: By the start of the Cryocene, bamboo has become one of Serina's most successful ...
3
votes
5answers
275 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
53 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
182 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
287 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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
4answers
301 views

Is the evolution of my aliens realistic?

So, I have thought about the evolution of my aliens and how they could evolve things like lactation but still retain their reptilian characteristics. Here is my best thought about it so far: ...
42
votes
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 ...
147
votes
7answers
15k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
579 views

Is bio-luminescence possible in aquatic mammals?

Could a species of aquatic mammals develop bio-luminescence? What kind of bio-luminescence would it be? What circumstances could lead to it?
8
votes
3answers
218 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
165 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 ...
29
votes
16answers
10k views

Would evolution happen the same exact way if Earth restarted?

If Earth instantaneously reverted back to when the only organisms were small microscopic creatures in the sea, would evolution happen the same exact way creating the same animals and species? Was ...
8
votes
2answers
534 views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
209 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-...
6
votes
6answers
430 views

Beak to teeth reverse evolution - how would the transitional forms be?

Acording to current scientific knowledge, birds descend from theropod dinosaurs. This evolution had, as usual, some transitional forms, like Archaeopteryx. Following this evolutionary path, we notice ...
5
votes
4answers
388 views

What would humans look like if they lived 50-100,000 years 6 to 9 km above sea level?

What would humans look like if they lived 50-100,000 years 20,000-30,000 feet / 6 to 9 km above sea level? Or 500,000 years? Would we have bigger lungs / chests? Bigger wider noses? Thicker skin and ...
9
votes
2answers
135 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
105 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 ...