In either of the 1982 or 2011 versions of The Thing, is The Thing able to learn skills from its victims?

Could it learn, for example, to fly a helicopter from eating the pilot?

It can do a perfect physical imitation, and it seems to be able to imitate the personality of its victims, which kind of implies to me that it learns from its victims. Or is it just good at social mimicry as well?

1 Answer 1



In this question and answer mention is made of the fact that a Thing retains the personality and memories of its victim. Memories would include things like how to operate machinery. A Thing also moves completely naturally in an assumed form so it definitely would know how to act/operate as a pilot.

  • And their speech patterns, how to construct sentences in their native language, etc.
    – user40790
    Sep 19, 2016 at 14:03
  • Thanks for that. I didn't find that answer when I searched.
    – nedlud
    Sep 20, 2016 at 6:21
  • 1
    Worth mentioning: The Thing knew how to dog when it became a husky. It knew how to speak Norwegian when it assimilated Norwegians. It knew how to speak English when it assimilated the men at the American base. And whenever Blair was assimilated, Blair-Thing remembered how to be Blair AND how to build a flying saucer.
    – Wad Cheber
    Feb 20, 2017 at 19:52
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    The fact that after it first met a dog or a human, it instantly knew how to act like a dog and speak the language of its human victims - and go undetected by real humans in an unfamiliar environment, pretty much proves it. The Thing didn't know how Earth flamethrowers or light switches or clothes worked until it assimilated people who did, and once it was imitating them, it never stared stupidly at a light switch or put its pants on its head. It knows what you know.
    – Wad Cheber
    Feb 20, 2017 at 19:56

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