83

Developing comments between @AlexP and me into an answer... As other answers have said, candling of reptilian eggs is possible. For in ovo testing of chicken sex, if the male and female have different pigmentation or other easily-distinguishable features then this can be highly reliable. There is no reason to think this would be different for reptiles. ...


66

Let's start with a dose of reality I have "superior night vision" (hah), aka, super-light-sensitive eyes. As a teen I could read comfortably under a full moon and I can see comfortably at light levels that cause most people to trip over tree roots. My highlight was as a kid when rangers turned off the lights in some cave tour in Montana. I've been ...


49

You would end up with a head full of horns or quills. Human hair is made from keratin. It's the same with your fingernails and toenails. In fine form, hair is soft and flexible. With thicker amounts of keratin, it becomes stiff. In the animal world, most horns have a bone core covered with a thin sheath of keratin. Since we lack boney protrusions on our ...


48

In this setup lying will not change the color. My only point is that it will be harder to lie and I want to know the loopholes so that I can get my story straight Well, I can think of a fairly big loophole. Their eyes may show their emotions, but there's nothing stopping them from lying about why they're feeling that particular emotion. It's a specific ...


42

Giant pupils. Humans are limited in how big our pupils can get because somewhere along the line, evolution selected individuals where the iris was small enough that you could see the whites of our eyes. Probably that gives some sort of cultural benefit as one can see where a person is looking, and maybe you will later feel fondness towards a baby you saw ...


41

Masters of the Jungle Your halflings are well adapted to life in the jungle. Their small frame makes it easy to maneuver through dense foliage and their low weight makes it easy to support themselves on branches. They are not as weak as a human child. In fact they are surprisingly strong for their size. Smaller creatures often have more strength than larger ...


39

You can go for something similar to the plates on armadillo tails It will protect the tail and allow some mobility. You can also add blades to the plates, so that it can be used to hurt enemies approaching from behind. Just be sure she doesn't wiggle it while in a friendly crowd, for obvious reasons...


30

First and foremost, disease would be the best weapon to employ against an enemy that outclasses you in all physical respects. Giants like to fight and are great at breeding? Good, they'll be in physical contact with each other more than enough for one good bug to tear through them. There are plenty of examples in history of why this is so effective and ...


26

Farmer traits: Fecundity. If you are a farmer you are more likely to have food than if you are a hunter/gatherer. If you have food it is less likely the kids will starve. If you have lots of kids who are not starving you have more people to help with the farm work. Patience and focus. There is a theory that attention deficit disorder is an old ...


26

If it did evolve it would probably form as a development of the parietal eye. This is a third light sensing organ that exists in some species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians. This organ is missing from all extant birds and mammals. For such an organ to evolve into a second pair of eyes there would need to be a very strong selective pressure that would ...


23

You need to constantly threaten those humanoids from the back - for example big silent owls and manual tasks that require a lot of time The eyes need to provide an advantage for these humanoids, so there needs to be something they excel at because of their eyes at the back. The first thing that comes to mind are very silent predators. If your humanoids are ...


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

Spread out flat a.k.a. (apropriately enough) spreadeagle. To decrease terminal velocity, you want to maximise drag, while minimising mass. So, lightweight/honeycombed bones, and flaps of skin like a flying squirrel SCIENCE! The formula for Terminal Velocity is $V=\sqrt{2mg/(ρAC)}$ - that is to say, the square-root of twice the Force due to gravity ...


22

In addition to the other answers: Make your humanoids small! The advantages of small size for falling are a universal principle of elementary physics, clearly and memorably explained by J.B.S. Haldane in On being the right size: You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, ...


22

Don't make them so weak Make them proportionately strong, which makes them weaker overall but doesn't critically disadvantage them. They're going to have to be appropriately strong just to survive, the strength of a 5yo is not enough. Small size isn't such a disadvantage They're more agile, without so much bulk to move around they can change direction ...


21

This is pretty much a let me google that for you kind of Q&A: Reptile eggs can be candled, just like bird eggs. (Probably because, you know, birds are dinosaurs, etc.) Reptile keepers can certainly determine if an egg is viable or not. As with humans and ultrasounds, your sophont reptiles could paint or photograph the resulting images as Junior ...


19

This is quite a difficult question to answer, for the sake of the bigger picture. You see, the arms require skeletal support (primarily the clavicle and scapula). As well as muscular support (all the muscles in the arm and the pectorals on the chest). So, what you would need, is a skeleton with seemingly redundant bones to support the limbs spread out to ...


19

There are a few easy solutions to the problem you have mentioned. 1- Move the arteries apart Your assumption that But moving the arteries so that they are further apart makes no sense(more space taken up by arteries than there needs to be) is incorrect, because the arteries would be taking the same amount of space regardless of where they are placed. For ...


19

You can hide your eyes In such a culture it might be normal to hide your eyes so that you would normally not show your intentions to others. If this is the norm than the eyes are no problem in normal everyday conversations. It would be difficult if you knew someone really well and wouldn't hide your eyes normally. That would be extremely suspicious and it ...


19

I see some serious disadvantages: Such hairs would fold and crease versus bending, leading to hair snapping off and/or major split ends much more readily. Such hairs would, of structural necessity, have much thicker walls, leading to a massive per-hair weight; as a result, hair follicle depth would need to be far larger, leading to a monstrously deep ...


19

I have moved my entire household including cages with birds between cities. The birds do NOT stay on their perches. The motion of the vehicles is so unnatural and extreme that they hunker down on the bottom of their cages and weather the storm. Granted, intelligence would help considerably. Obviously the wind whips branches around, but have you ever ...


19

So you gave two pieces of information that are very helpful: Roman Era tech and distances of 350-500 miles. Given that they are in an archipelago-style region, I would recommend ships similar to the Polynesian islanders who settled across the Pacific. These ships are open, leaving you without any problems from height. Really, the more pressing concern is ...


18

Chainmail A simple bit of extra chainmail in the back would provide a good bit of protection. If that isn't enough, you could put chainmail over the top of gambeson (or similar cloth armor). Pros Chainmail would protect against piercing and cuts. Gambeson would offer some protections against blunt forces. Both are relatively light, and can be "designed" ...


18

It’s an illusion and only appears to hover. 1) They wear their hair that way. 2) Rite of passage into adult hood and everyone wears one after, it is a simple metallic ring and is attached to the back of their head. 3) Genetic drift has allowed for horns to grow. Their horns generally sprout from the back of the head and tend towards symmetrical design ...


18

You have the answer in the question: Numbers Just think goblins. One skilled man could easily kill one skilled goblin but what about three, what about five? You already state that they become adults faster, just give them litters of two or three and voilà. Moreover, the number advantage will become more and more prominent the more technology advances. ...


16

Some of the traits that come to mind: • microscopic vision - to find out what pathogens affect their crops • night vision - to detect insects even if they are active only by night • photographic memory - to remember the various stages of the hundreds of pests affecting basic crops: life cycle of bacteria, fungi and insects to ensure they apply the ...


15

First and foremost you should breed for docility, this is a trait required for domestication. My answer is basically looking at existing primarily non-food farm animals (like horses) and breed for those traits (they may also be eaten so more edible varieties are also likely to be bred). Strength, endurance, and size; if you are breeding a hominid for farm ...


15

Low hanging fruit There are several glaring design errors, or "low hanging fruit", to use a bit of managementese, in human anatomy and physiology, which could be immediately corrected by an intelligent designer with minimal side effects. For example: Move the photosensitive cells to the correct side of the retina -- for those readers who know about digital ...


15

The the evolutionary phenomenon you're inquiring about is called sexual dimorphism. The short answer is yes, and nature is full of examples (I'm looking at you, mantises!). Any number of evolutionary factors might explain the development of sexually dimorphic traits in a primate species wherein females are larger, more muscular, more aggressive, more ...


15

They have several disadvantages. Attrition. Larger animals take longer to breed, it takes time and calories to grow. That means humans can replace their population faster. The number of babies is immaterial, most offspring die of disease or famine anyway. It took us several thousand more years to actually produce our actual reproductive potential, you need ...


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