Questions tagged [xenobiology]

Use this tag to mark questions related to creating plausible alien biologies that may be close to or far removed from Earthly biology but within the realms of hard science.

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10
votes
2answers
515 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
155 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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4answers
86 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
122 views

Can liquid Carbon Dioxide be used as a solvent for lifeforms?

So, i'm just searching around in spaceengine and got the idea of worldbuilding based on one of the planets that exists in the simulation (not quite worldbuilding in a complete sense, but speculating ...
9
votes
1answer
116 views

What plant colours other than black could be available on a red dwarf planet?

Hello! I'm no scientist so I've reached the limit of my knowledge. I was wondering if any of you smart beans out there would be able to help me figure this out? Here are the specs of my system; ...
2
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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 ...
6
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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 ...
8
votes
2answers
290 views

Wings for orbital transfer bioships? - The ascent

I've been looking at the altitude boosted SSTO designs from the 90s that were designed to be lifted to launch altitude by modified jetliners and thinking about bumblebees and wondering if bioships ...
8
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4answers
381 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 ...
3
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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 ...
8
votes
2answers
216 views

Is it possible for a creature to exist that uses lye instead of acid to digest food?

As far as I could gather the digestion relies on enzymes which in turn set requirements for pH. Is it possible for an alien creature to have a different set of enzymes that require basic environment ...
29
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10answers
6k views

Non-aqueous eyes?

I am trying to create an organism that can survive in space for short periods, but I realized that I can't have its eyes be similar to those of most animals and humans because they would boil in space....
5
votes
1answer
152 views

Traversal of creatures in space (hydrogen metabolistic processes)

For a space-based story I am writing, I was hypothesising about how to have organisms that can thrive the vacuum of space. Ignoring plausibility of such a creature evolving, I realised a few problems ...
5
votes
1answer
156 views

No iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 4: Silver)

Part 1 No Iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 1) Part 2 No iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 2) Part 3 No iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 3) Only two parts left to go! Now my fair folk ...
3
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2answers
133 views

No iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 3: Iron)

Part 1 can be found here No Iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 1) And part 2 can be found here No iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 2) So, my not so metal inclined Fair-folk are encountering ...
41
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
86 views

No iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 2: Radioactive metals)

For reference, here is part 1 No Iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 1) A brief recap. My fair-folk are weak to all metals, but each metal has their own specific effects. The last question resulted ...
1
vote
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 ...
6
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3answers
457 views

No Iron for your fair-folk maiden? (Part 1: alkaline)

Excuse the broad question but I couldn’t resist making a metal pun. So in my universe the Fair Folk encompass a large group of creatures. They live in their own little pocket universe, in which ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

What kind of environment would favor hermaphroditism in a sentient species over regular, old sexes?

I'm trying to create alien species that is hermaphroditic, with strong sexual conflict. In essence each being tries to trick or force (by mechanical or hormonal means) its partner to take role of ...
3
votes
2answers
179 views

Would advanced Plantoids be plausible? [closed]

Could it be plausible that if enough time given and favorable conditions are met, the dominant species of an alien planet could be a species of plant and by dominant I mean achieving sentience and ...
6
votes
2answers
147 views

Solar insolation/flux's effect on biome diversity/richness on an alien world

The Questions I'm trying to answer three main questions: Does a three-axis biome chart make sense for my world? How productive/life-rich should a biome be given a specific level of solar flux (...
3
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3answers
120 views

Advantages of being covered in taste buds? [closed]

On my conworld, I am developing a creature that is covered externally in taste buds. What would be the evolutionary advantages and disadvantages of having this adaptation?
4
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5answers
581 views

What would an animal that absorbs nutrients though its skin be called? [closed]

Animals that eat meat are carnivores, animals that eat plants are herbivores, animals that will eat anything are called omnivores. But what are animals that absorb 25% of their nutrition directly from ...
11
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4answers
2k views

If quadruped mammals evolve to become bipedal will their breast or nipple change position?

As the title says, you know stuff like minotaur, lycanth or werewolf, cat or dog folk, etc especially for the female specimens. I want to know what happen if quadrupedal mammals which usually have ...
3
votes
4answers
199 views

Could a tree build its bark out of Starlite-like material?

How could trees in an environment with 23% Oxygen (The atmosphere is identical to earth in all other respects.) grow bark with Starlite-like qualities? Starlite is a material claimed to be able to ...
2
votes
3answers
188 views

Fireproof liquids that are non-toxic to carbon based life?

What sort of fireproof liquid could be used by carbon-based life without causing harm to the organism? Whether it be absorbed from exterior sources or produced in the organism's body. I say organism ...
6
votes
1answer
103 views

Could a passive radar-sighted creature see by space radio emissions?

I am working on a world which is very dark due to an opaque gas layer in the hight atmosphere; but it is opaque mostly in the terahertz range. The creatures in this world therefore rely very little on ...
3
votes
4answers
476 views

Feasibility of lava beings?

Could a creature be made entirely, or mostly of magma or lava? Could it sustainably live in or near a volcano for an extended period of time? Rocks around the outside are optional, and encouraged. If ...
4
votes
4answers
151 views

What sort of hip bone is required for quadrupedal animals to locomote on their hind legs?

I am designing a creature that is quadrupedal but can run after prey on its hind legs. What kind of hip bone would allow for the excess stress to be put on it during bipedal locomotion? The animal is ...
9
votes
4answers
245 views

What sort of qualities might a tortoise-like animal the size of an argentinosaurus need to support its own body?

I am wondering what kind of physical qualities (E.g. Short, thick pillar-like legs) a creature such as this would need to support such an incredible size. The world that it evolves on in almost ...
2
votes
0answers
101 views

Planet builder? [closed]

I've got questions I haven't been able to get a grip on for two different planets. One has its axis at about 90deg (like Uranus), with day & year like Venus (day longer than year), orbiting a ...
11
votes
5answers
449 views

What minerals that are more durable than calcium would be suitable for bones?

Edit: I am asking in the context of alien life, should have specifyed that to begin with. I have many ideas for fantasy/sci fi races, and one that I kept coming back to is a species with bones that ...
6
votes
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
314 views

What range of colors is it physically possible for a humanoid race's skin to have? [closed]

My story takes a sort of Shadowrun-esque approach to the concept of fantasy races, in that all members of fantasy races are, or are descended from, former humans transformed by magic, though in this ...
4
votes
1answer
142 views

Can a possible humanoid species capable of changing their sex in a crisis be the dominant species of an entire planet like us?

I had an idea of a concept a while ago. If a planet that for some reason or another had only one giant continent like Pangea, but bigger, for more distinct habitats and giant lakes assuring ...
18
votes
14answers
2k views

Would an alien lifeform be able to achieve space travel if lacking in vision?

Think of this alien life form as something resembling earth bats, placed in a planet with Earth-like conditions. Micro-bats have small and poorly developed eyes. Similarly, this alien species is ...
43
votes
17answers
9k views

For what reasons would an animal species NOT cross a *horizontal* land bridge?

In my worldbuilding project, 2 continents located on roughly the same latitude are connected by a land bridge. Both sides of the bridge are surrounded by a temperate grassland, and the lack of seasons ...
4
votes
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 ...
-9
votes
33answers
5k views

On a tidally locked planet, would time be quantized? [closed]

Assume a planet that always presents one side to the sun. No moons. The orbit of the planet around the star is essentially spherical, very minor and undetectable aberrations. The orbital period of the ...
4
votes
3answers
126 views

Biological touch based high bandwidth communication

My alien race is supposed to have the ability to communicate a lot of information extremely fast, more akin to uploading something to your partner's mind than telling him. This should happen via ...
2
votes
3answers
160 views

Other Mouthparts For Aliens?

What other kind of mouthparts might an alien (intelligent or non-intelligent) have besides the typical jaw with teeth or mandibles? To avoid being too broad a subject, let's assume the aliens need to ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

on sentient reptiles/ectotherm behaviors [closed]

so, I was searching and reading things about reptiles trying to build a guideline for any kind of cold blooded peoples/aliens I still have a hard time finding precises idea on how temperature ...
1
vote
0answers
97 views

How could an amorphous species work? [closed]

In the setting I'm building, then there are two lifeforms to have existed; Angel and Demons. Both are closely related, as speciation between happened rather recently in their history. They both also ...
8
votes
6answers
555 views

How to design an organic heat-shield?

When they started dropping from the skies.. or no, they landed. They were so similar to us, yet so different. Like nothing we would've ever designed or created - but so much like everything ...
3
votes
4answers
167 views

Can you create a living vehicle fueled by organic material?

In this world, the vehicles are effectively re-engineered insects; enlarged bio-manufactured nervous systems used instead of engines; factory grown lightweight chassis / [wheels]. The fuel station ...
5
votes
2answers
63 views

What would Define Ecosystems in a “Frozen Moon with Ocean” World

What factors would influence ecosystem development in an ocean on an ice world? It is thought that several moons in our solar system (e.g. Europa) may have significant oceans under their icy crusts. ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

Origin of life on a waterworld

Take a planet like Gliese 1214 B, which has no land, an ocean 100s of kilometres deep and a seabed of Ice VII. For the purposes of the question, let's assume that the pressure and/or temperature near ...
4
votes
2answers
198 views

Evolution adapted to technology

...kill every protohuman who tries to leave the African continent. This comment made me think about one question. Suppose you have robot guards, like futuristic lasers, who just shoot at any landing ...
5
votes
1answer
285 views

Realistic alternatives to oxygen-based respiration? [closed]

Background I'm developing 6 to 10 sapient alien races for a short story. Basic Story Setting The short story takes place in the Milky Way sometime in the next 1000 years. These races will be at ...