We see Vulcans have pointy ears.

Why did the writers choose to make them have unique ears and not eyes or noses?

  • 8
    We see some animals have pointy ears. Why do they choose ear? Why not nose, eyes? Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 13:42
  • 8
    Likely this had to do with what was easy to do with 1960s era makeup that would quickly visually differentiate Spock from his human counterparts on TV.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 13:55
  • 3
    Why is Yoda green and has pointed ears?
    – Secko
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 15:29
  • 4
    Same reason, the elves have pointed ears.
    – Secko
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 15:29
  • 4
    whey do humans have round ears?
    – Muad'Dib
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 22:49

2 Answers 2


From a behind the scenes perspective, prosthetic ears were easy to do, but also, Gene Roddenberry wanted a slightly satanic looking character. He's never explained why, but he liked the look. Most people don't realize that ears do move along with normal facial expressions, but they do -- however they move less than the nose or other facial features.

Remember, this kind of work was still new and they needed makeup they'd be able to apply every single day that would hold up throughout the day. Doing makeup like this for a movie was one thing, since movies are limited in production time. But in the mid 1960s, having a character that needed anything like prosthetic ears (or nose, or anything else) was a completely new idea, so the less that had to be applied every day for 8 or 9 months each year, the more manageable it would be.

When they saw The Cage, the network didn't like it and asked that they get rid of the female 2nd in command and the pointy-eared guy. (On the recording Inside Star Trek Roddenberry joked that when they said that, he married the female 2nd in command and promoted the Vulcan. He added that he considered doing it the other way around, but it just didn't work out well that way.)

From an in-universe perspective, the air on Vulcan is thinner than on Earth, and evolution led to a different shape and slightly larger ear to help catch sound -- look at ears on animals that need to hear for their survival, like deer who hear predators. Many such ears are pointed.

  • 5
    From ST:Voyager, s02e22, Tuvok is asked at 17:22 why his ears are different. 'Do they make you hear better?' 'No.'.
    – Solemnity
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 4:30
  • 4
    According to Nimoy's second autobiography (I am Spock), they actually considered making him have red skin, too. But the makeup looked really bad on black-and-white TVs, making it hard to see the actor's face.
    – trlkly
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 12:59

Not a star trek specialist here, so this is mainly opinion:

Vulcans are a peaceful and wise people. They define some kind of ideal society, similar to humans, but slightly different. From this point of view they have the same position as classic elves in heroic fantasy universe. There have those pointy ears to make a comparison.

It is a bit similar to starcraft's protoss and warhammer's eldars.

  • 3
    Although this explanation leaves the Romulans as a dangling thread.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 13:54
  • 9
    @Xantec No. Romulans mirror dark elves, dark eldars, and dark templars (and so one). A dystopian society where many talents leads to moral disaster. Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 14:24
  • This explanation have some appeal and I didn't think about it
    – Yaztromo
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 16:54
  • 1
    Vulcans, from the first time a Vulcan other than Spock appeared, have displayed irrational grudges, homicidal intent, sociopathic manipulation, envy, resentment... "Peaceful and wise", like hell. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 18:04
  • @KeithMorrison They try.
    – JAB
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 19:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.