60

Make it really, really smart Literally seeing the future is, from a perspective of modern science, impossible. Even theories that may allow some degree of time travel through relativity run up against problems when trying to resolve predestination paradoxes and the like. Most modern science fiction stories tend to prefer branching timelines to linear ones ...


47

If you don't want or can't afford ejecting matter, you are left with solar sail: since photons carry momentum, reflecting photons can allow you to harvest that momentum and use it to move. Expand reflective leaves in a suitable way, and use the light coming from the star at your advantage. Mind of two consequences: If you reflect the photons, you are not ...


28

Polycephaly is a medical condition, in which an animal has multiple heads. This is a special type of conjoined twin. 2 is the most common form, but there is at least 1 case of 3 heads documented (a turtle). In many cases, each head is capable of sleeping independently of the other, allowing your Biological Creature to function without turpor. In some ...


22

Just use an alien. If it has a large brain you can't get around sleep, every organism we know of with a brain that is enlarged (complex at all) sleeps and will die if denied it long enough. There is just no escaping sleep. As long as you use earth life you have no options. All life on earth with brains share a common ancestor, so sleep is likely due to ...


19

I'll just go for the bonus points about rotation. As long as the organism can change its shape, it's perfectly possible for it to rotate freely while maintaining net zero angular momentum throughout the rotation. That is, it can rotate without expending any mass and without anything to push off of. Cats do this quite regularly in order to land on their feet, ...


14

One potential use could be to create a flexible, spread-out surface for flying or swimming. Birds and aquatic animals have wide, flat tails for this purpose, but these flat tails are generally inflexible, capable of only a single point of articulation. Multiple tails with skin stretched between them would be more flexible and add an extra degree of ...


13

Ion thruster. https://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/about/fs21grc.html Technically this is also venting matter, but "venting" to me implies large quantities. Kinetic energy = mv2. Energy increases as the square of the velocity. By ejecting small particles you minimize mass loss. By ejecting them very very fast you maximize kinetic energy. A creature in ...


10

Heinlein described a pretty neat way to conceive our existence in time (which is not unlike the one shown in Donnie Darko) : Someone outside of time could perceive us as some sort of continuous sausage (or worm), a superposition of all our states at each instant, from the moment we are born to the moment we are dead. In the novel he describes a machine that ...


10

Some birds have their tail feathers set in such a way that they seem to have double tails. Swallow-tailed kite: Barn swallow: Long-trained Nightjar: Evolution tends to weed out traits that are deleterious, so these tails either help them thrive or in the very least don't interfere with survival. At least in the nightjar's case they could make the bird ...


9

Low energy forms of propulsion would include Yarkowsky propulsion (basically, you heat the area opposite to the direction you want to go, as much as possible) and both electrostatic and electrodynamic propulsion and attitude adjustment. Solar wind sails are another possible way. Your organism should be able to measure the electric and magnetic fields ...


9

While multi-brain and multi-hemisphere answers have been posed, they all result in some loose of function while one part of the cognitive system is down. This seems against what the OP is looking for since he does not want dolphin style torpor. However, computer scientists have already devised a number of systems called RAID controllers to be used by ...


8

There are parasites which actually alter the behavior of their host to their advantage. A parasite spending part of its life cycle into mice and then into cats has been shown to switch off the fear of mice toward the smell of cats, making the infected mice more prone to be eaten, thus passing the parasite to the cat Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is a fungus ...


7

Lasers Admittedly, they don't have to be coherent, just a directed light beam. You can gather energy from starlight and emit it opposite the direction you want to go. In principle it works just like any other drive, except, photons do not have rest mass, so you won't lose any of your precious materials in the asteroid. Yet photons still carry momentum so ...


7

Harpy eagle size. Harpy Eagles are one of the largest and most powerful of all types of eagles. These birds of prey can grow up to 42 inches long, with their wingspan reaching a record 7.5 feet. Harpy Eagles weigh up to 20 pounds, with females being up to twice as big as their mates. https://www.boredpanda.com/massive-bird-harpy-eagle/ This ...


7

So, you want some kind of projectile that appears to be made up of a kind of glowing, fire-like energy that moves forward until it strikes an object, at which point it explodes. Rather surprisingly, there is a real-life, physical phenomenon that fits your description almost perfectly. May I present the plasmoid, a chunk of plasma that emits one or more ...


7

You don't need new organs you just need a few tweaks to the way the brain operates & Dolphins have already solved this one for you, obviously they sink if they stop swimming & if they sink they drown so they can't sleep, well they do, but they sleep one hemisphere of their brain at a time. There's some evidence that dolphins can display slightly ...


7

In my opinion, there isn't much benefit from having more than 1 tail. The issue is that almost all animal tails extend off the base of the spine. This essentially gives some animals an additional 5th limb, which they can use to grab onto thing (Monkeys) or balance themselves (Kangaroos or Cheetahs). Having more tails extend out of this base wouldn't help ...


6

Probably not quite what you were aiming at here, but... In a more 'humanist' way, you might be able to "see" the future if you're really good at predicting what people will do given a certain situation. That is, if you can "read" people sufficiently accurately, you might be able to predict what that one individual will do when faced with a specific ...


6

They need the ability to warp space-time As evident from the sources in your question, seeing the future is impossible for mere mortals as we are restricted to viewing things in three dimension (i.e. length, width, height) and time is the fourth dimension. Our axis on time is such that we travel through it linearly, and thus we can only see whatever ...


6

If the pterosaurs had fenestrations with flaps in the wing, those could simulate what feathers are doing. Imagine the pterosaur wing: an unbroken flap of membrane. Now put holes in it. Under each hole is a fold which occludes the hole. The fold of the flap is forward. On the down stroke the fold is pushed against the hole. The wing presents a ...


6

Brain with three hemispheres The state in dolphins and some birds that could keep some functions while sleeping is achieved by working with only one of the hemispheres of their brains while in "sleep state" the other part is resting. If you add an extra hemisphere that would support the "awake" part with their normal functions you could cycle between them ...


6

That shouldn't be a problem. All it takes is another pigment in the blood that overshadows the red color of hemoglobin. From an article: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/some-reason-these-lizards-have-toxic-green-blood-180969103/ "A group of skinks that live in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have blood that is lime green. Now, researchers ...


5

The most generic answer? Lots of food, and proton pumps. There are Earthling extremophile organisms that can thrive in highly acidic environments. Generally, they do it by carefully excluding the acids from their intracellular spaces--how acidic the external environment is then doesn't matter. Some of this can be accomplished with purely chemical means, by ...


5

Whilst I don't necessarily agree with all of Willk's conclusions in his answer, it does raise an important point: one does not need a whole load of bone to use as a calcium and phosphorous reservoir to still make hefty use of calcium and phosphorous in ones biochemistry. This may actually be an example of exaptation in non-cartilaginous vertebrates. You ...


5

Several similar effects can already happen in our world. Carotenemia is a condition cause by excessive consumption of carrots. Several chemicals that give carrots it's orange colour are absorbed by our bodies and because they are fat-soluble they get stored in fatty tissues including outer layer of skin. It does not exactly give us bioluminescence but it's ...


5

First, you need to understand why we need to sleep. Sleep is to pay a debt with interests Let's put it in this way: Imagine that exists a creature just like us, but does not requires to sleep (later we see this). The body and mind will have some features, like move X kg/hr, and to solve Y problems each hour. That will be limited by available energy, matter, ...


5

Most super heroes from DC and Marvel are probably not immune to poisons. Usually when a character is immune to poisons this is due to them being: Purely mechanical or some other kind of construct (i.e.: Vision, maybe?) Imbued with a super immune system (Wolverine, Deadpool; Superman when not exposed to Kryptonite) I recall the Scorpion poisoned Spiderman ...


5

Quoting from my answer here: https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/87462/21117 A tail is an extension of the spine. That means the tail bones do have part of the spinal column passing through them. If the fox's tails are actual tails, then the spine nona-furcates(?) at the base of the tails, leading to effectively nine independent limbs with ...


5

From a biological standpoint, there isn't much benefit to extra tails other than symmetry, redundancy, or as a display. Otherwise, we'd probably have seen at least one mammal evolve an extra tail by now (after all, we've seen plenty of mammals, including ourselves, lose their tails). Because the tail is an extension of the spine, it's a little difficult to ...


4

Reminds me of Nibbler from Futurama. The little guy was sh**ing dark matter or something like that. Another example is the new Star Trek Series, where they had some kind of creature used for their spore- drive. I guess the second one serves your needs better. It has some ability needed for FTL travel. So you could pretty much do the same thing. Make your ...


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