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Questions tagged [xenobiology]

For questions related to the biology of extra-terrestrial organisms. This tag implies the use of the science-fiction tag. Use the science-based or hard-science tags to impose greater scientific restrictions (see warning in tag wiki). The goal of this tag is to answer the question using known science.

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12 answers
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How do Glass Ants create their tunnels?

***** Xenobiology expedition 'Profundity': Log entry 504 ***** Glass Ants are a fascinating species. We discovered them on an arid desert world last visited by humanity aeons ago. They seem to have ...
Joe Bloggs's user avatar
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77 votes
19 answers
12k views

Could aliens colonize Earth without realizing humans are people too?

So aliens find Earth to be suitable for colonization and disregard humanity's claim. Not because they are racist, but because they are so different biologically and psychologically that humans simply ...
Anonymous's user avatar
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66 votes
13 answers
19k views

What kind of natural armor would stop bullets?

It should not resist 50 cal bullets, but an armor which could protect a creature from the US standard issue rifle, for example. Here are a couple of things the armor needs to do: Protect the creature ...
OneSurvivor's user avatar
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52 votes
4 answers
9k views

How do I begin to explain that my orcs may survive by eating soil?

In my RPG campaign setting the orcs are tougher than most other races. In hard times they can eat wood (small bushes and fresh pieces of trees). In really hard times they can eat healthy soil and ...
StandardEyre's user avatar
50 votes
16 answers
7k views

Could a sedentary organism develop intelligence, or even sentience?

Similar to Could Plants Develop Sentience? but slightly more general: I'm not interested in plants in particular, but want a more general understanding of the effect of motion on intelligence and vice ...
Ash's user avatar
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46 votes
12 answers
12k 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 ...
Cobbington's user avatar
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46 votes
19 answers
15k views

How would a tripedal animal walk?

Animals on Earth have 2 or 4 legs they use for walking. On another world, however, animals have 3. I want to know how these animals will walk. How will their legs be placed and how will they move them ...
Mike Nichols's user avatar
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45 votes
22 answers
8k views

Advantage of luminescent eggs?

For example, a quote from one of the Witcher 3: Blood and Wine's side quests says The eggs themselves are a sight to behold, luminescent. The man (hologram) is referring to giant centipede eggs. ...
Raven's user avatar
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45 votes
9 answers
12k views

Is an organism with both animal-like traits and plant-like traits scientifically possible?

Can an organism have traits that resemble both an animal and a plant? Such as bone, chlorophyll, muscles, and cell walls. Not necessarily a hybrid, but something that can be classified in between the ...
AJ D.'s user avatar
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44 votes
14 answers
12k 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 ...
Charon's user avatar
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43 votes
17 answers
10k 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 ...
Foosic17's user avatar
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43 votes
14 answers
5k views

How would predation work in an empathic universe?

In my world, there is a plane of existence whose laws of reality work differently than ours. In this plane, thoughts are not private. The boundaries between the mind and reality are slim, and thus ...
Cobbington's user avatar
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41 votes
11 answers
12k views

Would humans be able to derive nutrition from foodstuffs found on alien planets?

Suppose humans have developed the technology to travel between star systems. This might be some science-fiction method like warp drive, jump drive, peanut butter drive, hyperspace drive or whatever, ...
user's user avatar
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40 votes
6 answers
3k views

How to evolve biological radios?

Radio Thinkers Creatures that communicate by biological radio pops up in science fiction occasionally and it's a fun idea. However, there are some practical concerns with regards to evolving a radio ...
Green's user avatar
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37 votes
19 answers
5k views

What sort of world would help prevent an intelligent species from discovering evolution?

I’m working on a first contact story set in the near future where an advanced alien species arrives at Earth and reveals itself to humanity, but is utterly baffled by the diversity of life that it ...
Slarty's user avatar
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35 votes
7 answers
6k views

What would an efficient swimming creature in magma be like?

This question is specifically about the mechanics of an alien creature swimming in highly viscous magma, the unlikeliness of life surviving at magma temperatures etc isn't relevant. Just imagine it's ...
Fred the John's user avatar
32 votes
10 answers
8k views

Is it a forgone conclusion that any exo-bacteria discovered on an alien, albeit Earth-like planet will be deadly to human life?

Would the discovery of alien bacteria found on even an Earth analog planet preclude the possibility of colonization due to the potentially deadly nature of bacterial/viral infections? Put differently, ...
Brian's user avatar
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32 votes
13 answers
11k views

What clothes would flying-people wear?

What clothing would people who have wings, and weren't prone to just being naked, choose to wear that wouldn't interfere with their flying? Note: I am assuming arm-wings like a bird, but I know some ...
Master Chef's user avatar
32 votes
13 answers
17k views

Is there any real potential advantage to having two hearts?

One common way sci-fi writers try to make their aliens seem more 'alien' is to give them an extra heart. This has been done for example in Babylon 5, Dr. Who and Alien Nation among others. But: ...
king of panes's user avatar
32 votes
8 answers
6k views

Can a rational creature have a series of small brains instead of a large one?

My question is not human-specific. I found this question that mentions that a brain have more neuronal complexity; I deduce it is more efficient (in terms of neural communication and energy use) to ...
Broken_Window's user avatar
31 votes
10 answers
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....
Efialtes's user avatar
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31 votes
2 answers
1k views

Hydrogenenic Photosynthesis: Strategies for animals

Hydrogenic photosynthesis reduces methane and water to build biomass ($\text{CH}_2\text{O}$) and releases hydrogen: $$\text{CH}_4 + \text{H}_2\text{O} + \text{photons} \to \text{CH}_2\text{O} + 2\...
rumguff's user avatar
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30 votes
17 answers
9k views

How might a carnivorous species subsist on a cycle of cannibalism

Let's say a carnivorous species loses all available food sources, and they begin to eat one another to survive. Let us also say that prion diseases are not an issue for this particular predator. ...
Shanenopolis's user avatar
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29 votes
25 answers
11k views

Elf-like race: What could prevent overpopulation?

For an elf-like race whose people do not age beyond physical maturity (the accumulated DNA damage associated with aging does not occur), what would prevent overpopulation? This elf-like race is ...
JustSnilloc's user avatar
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29 votes
13 answers
6k views

Can a planet harbor plants of different colors without one pigment outcompeting the others?

On Earth, all plants are green because they contain the pigment chlorophyll, which photosynthesizes by absorbing all light except green light. However, it is quite possible - if not likely - that ...
SealBoi's user avatar
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29 votes
6 answers
4k views

Plausible biological alternative for normal photosynthesis

People have been trying to imagine elaborate alien biologically possible ecosystems for a while. A lot of people seem to both want but ignore one of those fundamental aspects of our own ecosystem, ...
anon's user avatar
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28 votes
23 answers
14k views

A realistic explanation of a typical Plague-inc "infect everyone before you start killing them" strategy

In Plague-inc the most typical strategy is trying to infect everyone, while staying hidden by not harming infected people (when a virus, bacteria, fungus is found, people start working on the cure). ...
Haha TTpro's user avatar
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28 votes
17 answers
6k views

Why might a civilisation of robots invent organic organisms like humans or cows?

In a civilisation of robots (of unknown origin) on an isolated, desolated planet, what motivation might they have for purposefully trying to invent organic organisms?
Rob Nicolaides's user avatar
28 votes
5 answers
24k 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 ...
XenoDwarf's user avatar
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28 votes
6 answers
10k 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 ...
TrEs-2b's user avatar
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28 votes
5 answers
4k views

Plausibility of an Implausible First Contact

A long time ago near a planetary system far, far away, a great battle ensued between the Evil Commonwealth of the Fraternal Order of Mind Your Own Darn Business and the rebellious Expressors of the ...
JBH's user avatar
  • 125k
25 votes
13 answers
10k views

Could a species with a lifespan of 20 years achieve enough technological progress to reach space?

I'm current planning a story which includes a race of diminutive humanoid aliens, one of whom crash-lands on Earth. They're fully sentient, and have the same average intelligence level as humans. The ...
F1Krazy's user avatar
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25 votes
1 answer
2k views

Reality Check: Are these Honey Mouths and Thorn Shredders realistic?

On an hot planet at the wooded poles are two aliens species that coexist in a mutually beneficial relationship. The Honey Mouths use gecko-like feet to hang from the far larger Thorn Shredders, where ...
Dan Clarke's user avatar
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24 votes
15 answers
6k views

What organs or modifications would be needed for a life biological creature not to require sleep?

I mean literally not sleeping for the rest of their life, not like giraffes that only require short rests, or dolphins that can sleep with half of their brain at a time, or like otters and sharks that ...
Li Jun's user avatar
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24 votes
12 answers
3k views

Other than tentacles and jointed digits, what methods of holding items are there that provide similar dexterity?

I'm trying to envision a creature that is highly dexterous, and adept at using tools, but every time I try to think of a possible grasping appendage, the only two I come up with are either tentacle ...
tox123's user avatar
  • 885
23 votes
14 answers
5k views

Why would evil minions raise humans to be their leaders?

Evil minions also known as goblins are creatures who steal or raise children of humans to be their leaders and to guide them on evil deeds. Humans raised by goblins are intelligent and good in the art ...
user avatar
23 votes
5 answers
4k views

Life from a dead space whale

Let's take our regular "Great Blue Star Whale", with a mass of about 10 000 tons. That poor, poor whale is reaching the end of its life for whatever reasons. (Damn you! Space whale hunters!). It will ...
Dastardly's user avatar
  • 1,481
23 votes
5 answers
5k 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 ...
JDługosz's user avatar
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22 votes
11 answers
6k views

How would photo IDs work for shapeshifters?

Photo IDs (for instance, a driver's licence or passport) are essential in many aspects of life (driving, buying alcoholic beverages, crossing international borders, voting in many places, etc.). As ...
Vikki's user avatar
  • 1,035
22 votes
14 answers
3k 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 ...
Liam00's user avatar
  • 267
22 votes
7 answers
3k views

An animal that is physically separated into multiple parts

One of my fictional planets (which is largely terran in nature) is notable for an unique animal. Said animal is a dangerous predator that is notable for several things: It is physically separated ...
MedwedianPresident's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to become accustomed to an alien environment

There is a really obvious problem with going to a planet we have deemed "habitable". Even if the temperature is perfect, the air composition is perfect and the terrain is perfect we still have the ...
Varrick's user avatar
  • 3,683
21 votes
12 answers
6k views

Why would a supermassive sarlacc-like creature let captured prey wander around inside itself?

On a fictional planet far away from our own, there is a part plant, part animal creature of truly massive proportions embedded in the sand of a desert-like portion of the planet, kinda like a cross ...
Brinstar77's user avatar
  • 1,477
21 votes
8 answers
4k views

What happens to my candy-creatures when they get wet and how do I stop it?

Dilithoids or as I call them candy-creatures are the lowest animals on the food-chain on my arid alien planet. What distinguishes them from other alien fauna is their simple body plan and their ...
LiveInAmbeR's user avatar
  • 10.6k
21 votes
9 answers
4k views

Plausibility of not noticing alien life on Earth

In the mid 21st Century a dinosaur fossil dig team has encountered something a little different from what they are used to. They have stumbled upon some kind of unknown ooze or slime, preserved in ...
nullpointer's user avatar
  • 8,709
21 votes
13 answers
7k views

Psychological effects of non head-based killing techniques

Wait ... what? Basically, this: Most land predators on Earth use their mouths to kill their prey. That is, they have to stick their precious, irreplaceable heads into harm's way every time they ...
akaioi's user avatar
  • 9,418
20 votes
6 answers
7k views

Cold-blooded intelligent race: Is it possible?

I need my race to be highly affected by climate and nature changes. And they are more like a reptile - Humanoid. So making them Cold blood seems good for me. But they are an intelligent race too. They ...
Sangeetha's user avatar
  • 457
20 votes
5 answers
7k views

What would a life-form be like if it's antimatter-based

I've been thinking of the idea of creating and adding an alien species that's antimatter-based (being from a universe where antimatter became the majority instead of "normal matter"). However, I'm ...
Caveknight32's user avatar
20 votes
6 answers
3k views

The Biological Dullahan

On my quest to make pretty much every single fantasy creature biologically feasible I have come across a hiccup. It wasn't angels, no you people helped me with that. Demons are easy, we have plenty of ...
Paradigm's user avatar
  • 307
20 votes
8 answers
3k views

What could be the physiological mechanism for a biological Geiger counter?

Some humans have been genetically engineered to be able to detect ionizing radiation to better survive the harsh environments found outside of earth's protective magnetosphere. What could be the ...
user152017's user avatar

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