83

Mantis Shrimp Claws will do quite nicely. Carbon is extremely abundant on Earth's surface and presumably any other Earth-like planet that the author may be working on. Given the many forms that carbon can take from the ultra-soft graphite to the ultra-hard diamond, it should be able to satisfy your needs. Characteristics of good armor The element(s) ...


81

The species is parasitic in at least one stage of life. Glowing eggs attract creatures that want to eat the egg (since eggs have lots of fat in them, and don't run away or fight). (Thanks to an excellent comment by @HenryTaylor.) Thus, the "egg" isn't really an egg like we think of them, but actually bait for transfer to a host for the next stage of life. ...


81

I think ammonia would be a good gas to breathe in an ammonia world. There is a lot of it handy, I would imagine. As opposed to N2 which is sort of an ice queen and reluctant to mix it up with other molecules, NH3 has 3 promiscuous hydrogens hanging off, ready to get busy. And NH3 protonates easily to NH4+, opening a whole other range or repertoires. ...


71

Killing the monster with VX nerve gas or an overdose of fentanyl or cyanide muffins seems kind of anticlimactic. You can kill anything with that stuff. The whole thing about werewolves is that silver is not predictably a super killer or especially bad for anything else. It is a secret special Achilles heel for werewolves. Except not so secret because it ...


68

Before cremation About 18.5% of the human body is carbon by composition. One gram is five carats. The average human being worldwide masses 62 kg. Note that people may be larger in some countries, e.g. in the United States is 88.3 kg. $$ 62 \text{kg} \cdot 18.5\text{%} \cdot 1000 \text{ grams per kg} \cdot 5 \text{ carats per gram} \approx 57,000 \...


67

Good News Everyone! We already have a natural armor that can resist bullets. I introduce to you the humble Abalone. After millions of birds pecking at these things trying to get to the soft, gooey interior, they have evolved the best shell currently known to man. These shells have literally evolved to withstand concentrated, rapid forces. If you crush and ...


61

On Earth poisonous animals are often brightly coloured, e.g. Poison dart frogs. Perhaps bioluminescence evolved as a signal that something is poisonous, and the eggs are poisonous to predators, or pretending to be.


60

Because the blood level midichlorian equilibrium point is determined by your body's biochemistry. You can't alter this by adding more midichlorians. All that does is cause a temporary imbalance (way too short for your body to make use of it) that your body quickly fixes. Excess midichlorian gets filtered out by the kidneys and ends up down the drain. ...


48

My chief reference here is Appendino et al. (2009), though this possibility was first brought to my attention by this National Geographic article. The Joker's real-world substance of choice? Oenanthe crocata, a type of water dropwort, later infamously dubbed the "sardonic herb". Ancient Sardinians administered it to the elderly as a sort of sedative, ...


45

Midichlorians are not what gives you the force, they are a by-product of being strong in the force. Excess psychic energy goes into making the midichlrians. All that blood is wasted because the midichlorians come from the force, not the force from midichlorians.


40

Potentially, it would be very similar to life made out of matter. Antimatter is expected to have the same chemistry as normal matter, so any lifeforms would work the same way with the exception that if they even touched our world they would instantly annihilate. However! There is a lot about physics we don't know. Under the assumption that antimatter is ...


38

Science Time: How is alcohol created in the first place? The easiest, and more natural way is through fermentation. "As sugars are broken down by microorganisms for metabolisation (a process where they are converted into usable energy), various byproducts are produced. These "waste" compounds can be either gasses (like carbon dioxide), acids (such as ...


38

No need to make it too complicated: Refined sugar If it is before 12th century, the only available sweetener was honey. And, while enjoyable, it certainly was not as sweet as pure sugar, and has a stroung flavour that may make it not suitable for anything. So refined sugar and the products incorporating it would be a very incorporation to your girlfriends ...


37

It's known as Biomineralization Biomineralization is the formation of complexes containing inorganic materials by living organisms. This occurs in organs as diverse as bone, teeth, egg shells, and invertebrate exoskeletons. Calcium is a very “popular” biomineral, occurring for example, as phosphates in vertebrate skeletons and carbonates in ...


35

Viruses are highly species-specific, i.e. a human virus will only kill humans. So a biological weapon will do the job. The best virus to use is beyond my knowledge, and I am a bit concerned a terrorist would read this. If we stick to sci-fi convention, then zombie virus is the most obvious choice. But realistically, even the deadliest viruses leave some ...


34

Larry Niven's Known Space writing universe included a device called a Tasp which induced electrical signals inside the pleasure centers of the human brain. It's effects were described as overwhelmingly euphoric, rendering the "victim" so flooded with pleasurable sensations that they could not perceive or interact with their real world surroundings. Such a ...


33

You asked for hard science, so here it is. The key process in photosynthesis is the Joliot-Kok cycle. This is what "splits" water and produces $O_2$, along with the $H^+$ and $e^-$ that are used to create high-energy molecules. Here is the original proposal in a paper by Kok, and here is a link to the full text if you have access. The mechanism is complex ...


30

Prior Art First it's worth noting that there is at least one company that actually does this. LifeGem creates diamonds from carbon extracted from cremated remains. Per wikipedia: The company can extract enough purified carbon from a single cremated human body to synthesize up to 50 gems weighing one carat (200 mg) each, or up to 100 diamonds of smaller ...


27

This has been done many times. The European colonisation efforts in India, Africa and Polynesia amongst others are very well documented, but many outfits did the same. Basically you provide weapons and perhaps training and expertise to one side to defeat the other in their own interests. Then pick a reason to wipe out the first. Or just arm the remnants of ...


24

Let's assume bio-luminescence is rare and not the norm: if the environment is full of bioluminescent rocks, then it would be more a camouflage. So back to basics: bio-luminescence makes things visible, and usually more recognizable and identifiable. How could this provide any advantage to an egg ? Identification for better protection. If from a social ...


24

The most unexotic answer would be that we are the peanuts to their allergy. Some little molecule from the plethora of substances in our blood triggers their immune response which then goes into a tailspin, sowing destruction on their tissues and organs. The molecule would need to be small to guarantee fast diffusion through the aliens' skin, and ubiquitous ...


24

Plants consume water for their energy metabolism. Water is more than a solvent for a plant. It is one of the 2 raw materials they use to make sugar. The formula for photosynthesis is CO2+H2O+ light -> CHO (sugar) + O2. Plants do chemistry on water molecules, splitting the H2 from the O to trap the incoming energy from light. Without water chemistry ...


23

Wikipedia has a full article just for that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothetical_types_of_biochemistry - Most of this answer is based on this article. Basically, alternative biochemistry would be: Changing chirality Almost all of Earthly amino acids have a L form and sugars have a D form. But, life in some other planet could adopt L-L, D-L or D-D. ...


23

For various values of "dryad" this is entirely possible. Look into agrobacterium tumefaciens for inspiration. Those bacteria alter the DNA of their host plant to create a tumorous growth. Look into gall wasps for an example of induced growth that has to do with growth vectors/plant hormones and possibly RNA/DNA viruses - this growth is much more structured ...


23

Having so much sugar diluted in water will trigger a massive fermentation: the sugar will turn into alcohol and $CO_2$ thanks to the action of yeast. The alcohol will kill all the living organism into the water. Even worse, the lack of magnesium salts will make harder for plants and remaining algae to synthesize chlorophyll, with the result that getting rid ...


23

Don’t drop one asteroid. Drop thousands The mathematics of impacts is fairly well understood (though it is a little fuzzy at high speeds). For any given weight and shape of ‘asteroid’ (really an aerodynamically shaped, ceramic coated lump of rock with some engines attached) hitting the ground at any given speed: You can quite accurately predict the blast ...


22

The canonical example is Dimethylmercury Dimethylmercury is an organomercury compound. A highly volatile, reactive, flammable, and colorless liquid, dimethylmercury is one of the strongest known neurotoxins, with a quantity of less than 0.1 mL capable of inducing severe mercury poisoning, and is easily absorbed through the skin. Dimethylmercury is ...


22

Just like us But don't touch them. Lots of science fiction likes to attribute special or near magical properties to antimatter. This is rubbish. The only thing special about anti-hydrogen, is if you touch it with hydrogen, they annihilate in a tremendous release of energy. Two atoms of anti-hydrogen and one of anti-oxygen would still make one molecule ...


21

Oh man, it's questions like this that remind me to be really glad I live in this century and not any of the thousands that came before. Let's look at a few of the most likely deficiencies that your raiders could have and assess their effects. Vitamin deficiencies Wikipedia has an entire page dedicated to dealing with vitamin deficiencies and their ...


20

Others have brought up the problem of strong alcohol needing more than just yeast. I'd like to propose a solution to this: forward osmosis through a semipermeable membrane into brine. The latter is relatively easy to produce inside an animal, which makes this considerably more likely than distillation (which would, thinking about it, probably have the nasty ...


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