New answers tagged

6

You need to define what you mean by "metabolism." The article you link seems to be discussing how well your body can extract energy from food, not how "efficiently" it uses that energy, so there is a bit of ambiguity. Would it allow them to go for weeks without air or food? The short answer is yes and no, if your aliens can extract energy from food ...


5

What would the effects be? Would it allow them to go for weeks without air or food? There are animals which are just like that on Earth. They're called reptiles. A lot of the energy we mammals eat goes towards keeping a constant temperature. Reptiles don't have the same thermal regulation mechanism, so while they are sluggish at night and during winter, ...


7

Would it allow them to go for weeks without air or food? Well. A human can survive several weeks without food, so another similar organism which could make better use of its reserves might reasonably be able to last longer. Three times as efficient, over nine weeks of starvation. Seems reasonable. Air though, that's a different matter. Being fuel ...


6

Fuel efficiency means you need less fuel to accomplish the same work. If you have a super fuel efficient ugly little car that your friends are ashamed to ride in, it requires less gas than my 1970 Mustang to go the same distance. But you can ride with me if you want. We will split gas costs. So too your efficient people. For the same activity they ...


1

I'm afraid you're already dead. If the world is truly 'alien', it would have evolved a completely different ecosystem, in a completely different way. The odds of the billions upon billions of mutations and evolutionary changing events being identical to Earth's (to our time period too) is virtually non-existent. Even on Earth a small difference in ...


-1

No extraterrestrial life form will be edible. To be edible the food should contain nucleic acids or proteins, also fatty acids and vitamins that are specific to erthy life and won't appear in extraterrestrial organisms.


8

Don't bother. There is no reasonable chance that any non-earth life will be "edible". The human digestive system can only derive nutrition from a tiny fraction of the lifeforms on Earth. That's true of both biomass and number of species. And for the lifeforms we can eat, we can only eat a fraction of them. We can't eat wood, chitin, bone, hair etc. We will ...


3

Assuming a realistic alien world, the simple option is assume everything is non-nutritious or poisonous. You'll probably be able to get some micro-nutrients such as calcium or iron from native plant life, and if you're very lucky, you'll find something that produces ethanol. Most likely, though, is that everything has the same nutritional value as a rock.


4

The best method is a tiered combination of methods. Under the assumption the colonists are trying to find a suitable food source before their own stores run out a tiered approach is best. Common sense, don't eat scavengers or parasites (both mobile and not), be wary of anything immobile, don't eat anything that is dramatically colored compared to other ...


6

Bring a monkey and eat what it eats.” I have no supporting evidence at this time but an old saying in my area is “bring a monkey and eat what it eats” It may come from the fact that monkey is so close to human such that if something is safe for monkey, it is safe for human. Birds, on the other hand, can eat stuff that is not suitable for human.


4

Why would space travelers "go native" and start eating food that grows on an alien planet? If their spaceship can keep them alive on the journey to an alien planet presumably it can keep them alive while exploring the alien planet and on the journey back to where they came from. Presumably the spaceship would have food synthesizers to convert stored ...


24

Apply the Universal Edibility Test (it is universal!). Summary: Separate the plant into its various parts—roots, stems, leaves, buds, and flowers. Focus on only one piece of the plant at a time. Smell it. A strong, unpleasant odor is a bad sign. Test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant on your inner elbow or wrist for a few ...


41

A multi-pronged strategy. First, simple chemical tests would be performed for heavy metals and strong acids/alkalis and to give a general profile of the plant or animal's chemical composition. Gas chromatography should throw-up a number of interesting results and help identify known poisons. This, whilst being careful to identify any specific part of the ...


2

Its a semi-inteligent plant like creature from a alien world with dark and light seasons, possibly a planet with a slow rotation. This makes for nights that last as long as a Earth months, with days equally long. This creature is kilometers wide, like a forest. It takes solar energy from the sun and grows fruit like appendages. These 5 meter wide "fruits", ...


6

First we need to set a standard, given that crew selection criteria should eliminate people who have specialised needs the RDI will do. That means we need 2000 food calories worth constituted as 50g of assimilable Proteins, 275g of assimilable Carbohydrates, 80g of assimilable Fats, about 30g of Dietary Fibre and a bunch of minerals that, to my thinking, ...


1

Other answers describe very well why this may or may not be plausible. However I wanted to bring up the idea of imitation food. When human cultures interact with each other they sometimes adapt foreign food to their own tastes. Similarly your alien races can adapt foreign food to their own biology. With enough research on xenobiology, psychology and a ...


3

Our tastebuds are optimized to find tasty foods that give us required nutrients. Modernly, it is easy to overeat some nutrients, like fats and sugars, but those still provide dense calories (meaning lots for a relatively small amount of food). This habit of finding certain foods tasty encourages us to seek out those foods. Which when such foods were rare ...


1

It depends, but in a best case scenario, yes. Assuming alien food is not toxic in any way and does not clog human digestive system, it will just pass through it, acting as dietary fiber. But of course there is a definite potential for this food to act harmfully, for example as a low intensity carcinogen, so I personally would not recommend eating something ...


3

No, but... If you want a creature that has to eat its own body part to survive, make it the second iteration of eating. It'd be sort of like how cows burp their food back up and chew it a second time, except it burps up its whole belly and leaves it somewhere to digest for a while.


2

Some answers already get rid of the "can you" part. But I guess in worldbuilding, find a workaround is also a good way to answer. Let's suppose the creature lives in an environment less likely to infection, and that its health is very powerful: it can for example live in desert where the sun is able to kill bacteria in the wound. Then, let's assume that ...


3

Not really. Unless... Other answers do a fine job of explaining why it wouldn't be possible. Mainly, regrowing a body part costs as much energy as you get from eating it in the very best case (but probably more). However, if between severing a body part and that body part getting eaten again, energy is added to that body part, it could theoretically work. ...


8

This happens to an extent when a tadpole metamorphs into a frog. Most tadpoles are herbivores. They have small teeth that chew plant matter growing in the water. Their gut has enzymes which break down cellulose and other plant tissues. On the other hand, adult frogs are insectivores. They capture prey with their tongues. Their digestive system has ...


14

Sort of. As others have noted, this is essentially what you do when burning body fat. But you are asking it an organism could INDEFINITELY sustain itself...and the answer to that is no. The laws of thermodynamics prevent it. But, if geckos could eat their own tail, they would have less body mass requiring calories for maintenance, while receiving a ...


12

The answer is yes and no, but probably not in the way you intend. The first answer is from thermodynamics: the creature cannot gain more energy from eating the tail than it expended growing it. In fact, due to the inefficiency of metabolism, you will gain quite a lot less. Then again, nearly every creature alive does this on a regular basis. Mind you we ...


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