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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63
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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
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7answers
12k 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? ...
45
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8answers
14k views

Could underwater living organism create technology?

Could underwater creatures with the intelligence of human cave men or possibly the intelligence of apes create technology (that is, more complex technology comparable to what we have now rather than ...
48
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3answers
13k 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 ...
14
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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
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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 ...
9
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5answers
2k views

How would flora behave on a two continent planet?

Note: This question is a follow up to this question, and hence forms part of a bigger complex of questions about geology and biology in this certain scenario. Meta: The planet consists of two ...
17
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11answers
4k views

Naturally occurring wheels - do the 'mech' vs. 'tank' comparison apply to organics?

There have been several discussions about mechs, and the general consensus is - whilst cool, they're not actually a very good design. Plausible Reasons for usage of Combat Mecha What I was wondering ...
36
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5answers
8k 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 ...
47
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13answers
4k 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 ...
6
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11answers
1k views

Why might a plant evolve a brain and the ability to move?

I was thinking of a situation in which an Extra Terrestrial plant life form evolves a nervous system and eventually a brain. This plant diversifies into a variety of different life forms with some ...
21
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5answers
5k 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 ...
93
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25answers
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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 ...
58
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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
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18answers
11k 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 ...
28
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7answers
3k views

Explaining “Half-Breeds” in a world with multiple races

In a hypothetical world where multiple humanoid races develop independently of each other (such as a world that contains Elves, Dwarves, and Humans for instance) what are the conditions for half-...
32
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5answers
4k views

What would the problems with / consequences of a torus shaped planet be?

Take a torus planet: It has the structure of a normal planet (ours): The diagram is not to scale. Assume similar proportions of Crust:Mantle:Cores as the Earth. Is has a similar volume (close to 1.1 ...
31
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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? ...
8
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4answers
1k 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 ...
11
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3answers
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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 ...
7
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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 ...
20
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4answers
4k 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 ...
33
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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 ...
31
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9answers
6k views

Sleeping on planets with very long days

Consider a planet where a day, that is to say the amount of time a specific (roughly equatorial) point is in sunlight is much longer than on earth. A humanoid race has evolved on this planet. You can ...
19
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8answers
3k views

What would happen to a human Galapagos?

What would happen to a human settlement on Earth, on some deserted island, that had no contact with the outside world for a thousand years? Something like a human version of the Galapagos islands, ...
28
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10answers
2k views

How can I make a net beneficial genetic trait occur only in a small fraction of the population, sustained?

For a species I am working on, there is a specific genetic trait that I want to introduce into the population. The exact nature of either is not important for the purposes of this question, but the ...
12
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3answers
943 views

Would co-orbital planets with very similar convergent evolutionary paths be possible?

Picture, if you will, four planets sharing the exact same orbit and orbital speed, and separated by exactly same distance from each other. Each planet is the same size and roughly the same ...
42
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10answers
4k views

How would societal development be impacted if humans were not an apex predator?

We are used to a world where humans are basically an apex predator; we don't really need to worry much about becoming some other animal's next meal. If that wasn't the case, and humans had to be wary ...
16
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5answers
4k views

How does gravity affect evolution of life?

I have two "new" planet earths -- we'll call them Light Earth (LE) and Heavy Earth (HE). These planets are generally the same as our Earth in terms of land masses, oceans, the moon and sun and other ...
59
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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 ...
30
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15answers
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 ...
44
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11answers
7k 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 ...
13
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6answers
3k views

Sapience Pulsar - Could Intelligence Come in Waves?

So imagine this scenario: Sapience (which I define as Human-like intelligence or better) is a relatively common occurence once a life-form is on a specific brain-arms-race path like Hominins have ...
10
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4answers
535 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 ...
24
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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 ...
8
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1answer
444 views

How would hormonal sentience work and affect the way a brain works in a plant or fungoid?

I am writing a book, and I want to create either a sentient fungoid or plant and I wish for it to use hormones instead of neurons to transfer information. I'm not sure how this would work and affect ...
16
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5answers
2k views

Could venoms evolve naturally in mammals?

Venoms have evolved in certain classes of animals on Earth (notably snakes and frogs, but also fish and maybe elsewhere that I can't think of right now), sometimes for defense and sometimes (...
12
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2answers
653 views

Planet of the Aves: Aquabirds

In my world, instead of mammals, birds have become the dominant order. Similar to how Quadrabirds replaced the grazing mammals; Aquabirds will take up the niche cetaceans occupy. My goal is that the ...
11
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4answers
995 views

Anatomically correct Ent

The tree small giant creatures resembling people usually with beards are present in many fantasy stories, but that's it... it is fantasy. From a scientific viewpoint how would such creature even exist ...
20
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7answers
2k views

Sea creature moving via rotational motions

So we all know that the majority of sea creatures use fins that move either from side to side or up and down to propel themselves. But our boats don't do that. Our boats use propellers - a rotational ...
15
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4answers
1k views

How to justify digging claws and opposable thumbs in the same being

The fantasy creature I am imagining (planning a short story or two around) satisfies the following analogy: Human is to Chimpanzee as "This Thing" is to Badger. That is, the creature has a clear ...
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6answers
595 views

How could mammals evolve to resist damage from fire?

In a story I am writing, some animals (including sentient ones) can touch fire without being harmed. Not any kind of fire, though. They can caress the fire of a candle with a finger, and they can ...
6
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5answers
707 views

Skewed Sex Ratios

What factors could skew the sex ratio of an intelligent species, especially a humanoid/human sub-race? For example, say one race has markedly more females born than males, and another race has the ...
5
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3answers
681 views

How could something like a Gargoyle evolve?

Namely, a creature that is immobile and stone(like) during the day and mobile at night. Something like the old cartoon, but they don't have to be sentient. They don't have to be actual stone, just ...
41
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16answers
7k views

What could cause an avian species to become intelligent?

There have been a few questions about an intelligent avian species lately and they have gotten me thinking. It seems to me that it would be hard for an avian species to evolve to be more intelligent ...
31
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6answers
6k views

Anatomically Correct Gods

This question may seem like an impossible challenge. What I'm talking about here is a biological explanation for limited (or, for bonus marks, unlimited) form shifting, immortality (at least in age) ...
41
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5answers
3k views

Why does my species tock like it ticks?

Starting with a creature and its environment, how does one create its psychology? Evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology attempt to explain attributes that we observe in our fellow humans ...
30
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5answers
3k views

What factors would allow for two dominant species on a world?

On Earth humanity has taken the dominant role (excluding dolphins and mice of course). We know of conflicts in pre-history where our ancestors have overtaken other species and slowly wiped them out. ...
31
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4answers
6k views

Anatomically Correct Khajiit

Behold the Khajiit; Born from the insanely popular game series, Elder Scrolls, the Khajiit are a race of cat people who live in hot jungles. From the moment I saw this race, I fell in love with them, ...
36
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18answers
8k views

Benefits of or reasons why a species would have only one eye?

Traditionally, a Cyclops has one eye, as well as some other aliens in fiction. My question is simple: Would there be any situations, Earth-like or otherwise, where a creature would benefit from ...