This question is inspired by another question about the movies, The Thing.

An assimilated person knows he is a Thing, but would that person recognize who else is a Thing?

Please provide quotes from the movies, links to video snippets, or comments from the actors, producers, or directors supporting your answer.

  • I'm sure we've had this question before.
    – Valorum
    May 13, 2017 at 6:40
  • @Valorum Can you post a link to any such question? I did look for similar ones, but didn't find any.
    – RichS
    May 13, 2017 at 6:42
  • I've done a search and I can't find it. Either it was deleted, asked in chat or on another site. I'm convinced it was here though.
    – Valorum
    May 13, 2017 at 6:45
  • 2
    Wont make this an answer cause I could be wrong but isnt there only one Thing and if there is only one entity they would know each other was a Thing if they ever interacted, it would be something like looking at a mirror and talking to your reflection
    – revenant
    May 13, 2017 at 8:25
  • 1
    @revenant At least in the novella Who Goes There?, which the movies are based on, it's an important plot point that each Thing is a separate entity.
    – tobiasvl
    Dec 19, 2017 at 9:22

1 Answer 1


At the very least, two people who are infested would be able to determine as much by contact. This is required by the Things' biology. Any part split off from a Thing is an independent living entity, a completely new organism. So an infected head and foot are capable of being independent organisms. In order to coordinate their actions (so as to pretend to be Palmer, for example), the adjacent Thing cells must be able to recognize each other and communicate. (And if Thing cells recognize that the tissue they are next to is not Thing, they will absorb and replace it.)

In the original story, Who Goes There?, the answer to this question is much clearer. The Thing in the story is telepathic. It learns to imitate people by reading their minds before consuming them. So in that case, the Thing would be able to identify any Thing-infected organism it encountered.

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