7

I think that if you want to have what you are asking for, you don't have to look into different electrolytes but into a completely different mechanism. With the electrolytes you basically create a separation of charges by pumping ions on just one side of a barrier. When you remove the barrier, ZAP, you have the spark. Of course this mechanism is useful if ...


7

One side will probably outcompete the other, with a few exceptions. The analogous real situation I can think of is the Great American Interchange, when North and South America became connected and allowed interchange of fauna. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_Interchange In general, the initial net migration was symmetrical. Later on, however, ...


5

None We have a "pregender" phase in humans: prepubescence. Barring an unusually early puberty, your average eight-year-old boy and girl are more-or-less the same, physically (genitalia aside). It's not until puberty starts flooding the body with hormones that secondary sex characteristics--body hair, breasts, beard, wider pelvis, etc.--start to ...


4

The answer of Salda007 covers the time where the secondary sexual characteristics (breasts, beards, pubic hair) are indistinguishable between male and female humans. But going even further back in time there is a time when even the primary sexual organs (genitalia) are indistinguishable: the early embryonic phase. Every human being starts out as one single ...


4

You can use a similar system that bacterium use currently to keep from being attacked by otherwise lethal bases/acids: a non-reactive lipid layer that doesn't allow for the importation of ammonia past the layer. Receptors or biological pumps can be used to import biological nutrients or water without allowing overly toxic amount of ammonia into the organism.


4

I think it would be very difficult to provide much of an answer as the scope of organic chemistry is vast beyond imagination and 99.999% of it lies in the dark beyond the chemistry that we are "familiar" with. Humanity is not really fully up to speed with the exact detail of how our own biochemistry works, although much is known, much remains to be ...


3

Could the organism just incorporate ferromagnetic materials into it's body? Like a lot of tiny magnets. It could control the magnatism by flipping different pieces to either create parallel or opposite magnetic fields (opposite ones would cancel, turning the effect 'off'). Active magnetism would need quite a lot of current. You'd need really great conductors ...


3

How about an organism that uses conductive material to build some kind of shell? Like some sort of really giant snail with a big coil of wire where the shell would be. It could ingest magnetic materials which it normally uses like a gastrolith. But when the animal wants to make electric current, it can move its magnetic gastrolith around in such a way that ...


2

In Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness there is an alien species mysteriously related to humankind that exhibits sequential hermaphroditism as you describe, but with one difference: they have a 26 days sex change cycle. They have both genitals. They will be androgynous andsterile for 22 days at a time. Then based on environment they will pick up ...


2

For most of human history, obesity reflected wealth, and skinniness reflected poverty. And wealth is a desirable quality in a mate. (Other answers have also pointed this out, less directly.) Think of paintings by Rubens, from a time when female obesity was seen as voluptuous and desirable. (Warning: many examples on that page show a lot of skin.) Reptile ...


1

To make this possible, I think the easiest way is to make your two clades of animals occupy different niches. At least to start with. If a member X of Clade A specialises in something that no member of Clade B can do, perhaps because the niche simply doesn't exist in the domain of Clade B, the descendants of X could live on even if Clade A is otherwise out ...


1

PANSPERMIA! Yes, yes. Panspermia. The same basic critters colonized all places in the universe where there is life, possibly with help. So you can start with the basic Earthlife biochem and riff on it. Given a fundamental setup of your colonizing organisms, imagine the selective pressure your environment would produce and then use your biochem knowledge ...


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