18

The aliens seem somewhat hive minded, based on the idea that they have a queen, eggs, soldiers, and generally are organized using a hive structure, including the building of hives and food storage rooms, etc.

At the same time for example in Alien Resurrection when the three aliens are in a cage the one who is about to be killed definitely seems against the plan. I suppose if they were super-intelligent bees (... with acid blood locked in a cage) a similar situation might have occurred.

Also this may not count, but the hybrid alien at the end of the movie seems to display some individuality, but that could just be his chemical receptors being screwy a result of his bad genes, so he doesn't react the way he should have.

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    +1 Just for: "the one who is about to be killed definitely seems against the plan". – NominSim May 24 '12 at 17:22
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    I am not sure there is much support either way. Clearly the aliens are clever (hiding in the escape pod, climbing in the ceiling, stowing eggs on the Sulaco, killing one of their own to escape imprisonment), but individual intelligence levels are questionable. Perhaps Prometheus will shed light on this. – Xantec May 24 '12 at 17:34
  • Although this may seem trivial, and I have no way to back it up, but I thought they were modeled after the behaviors of ants. Although the difference is minimal... On another note I think the important difference is that this is biological, and not machine-based. They don't appear to have a collective consciousness or even "one mind", but like similar insects, are organized in a type of hierarchy, but are not without self-preservation. – Gorchestopher H May 24 '12 at 18:12
  • I'm not putting it into a question because you didn't add Alien Resurrection in the tags, but in that movie Ripley (partially alienized), despite being their mother (and mentioning it often), doesn't think twice about killing her "babies" (weeping a little bit just for the last one...). – Yaztromo May 24 '12 at 20:49
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    I don't know what is this "Alien Resurrection" you speak of. Repeat after me: "it's too bad they didn't make any sequels to Aliens". – Andres F. May 24 '12 at 21:47
14

The aliens are more "hive-minded" or eusocially organized than individuals. Being part of a such an organization doesn't preclude a self-preservation instinct since an individual's early death is a waste of the hive or colony resources used to keep it alive. Even an ant will flee pain and predation. So I would discount the third alien's reaction when the other two menaced and attacked it. The aliens don't reproduce individually, don't individually own food or tools or nesting sites, and don't even seem to compete with each other. Nothing about them says "individual" in any meaningful sense.

  • Nice answer. Judging from their near synchronous behavior on more than one occasion, the appearance of a hive mind seems to be the only logical choice. Your explanation of their appearance of individuality is spot on as well. – Thaddeus Howze May 25 '12 at 7:44
  • Also note that the third alien in that scene didn't fight back -- it displayed clear signs of discomfort but did not attempt to injure or escape its attackers. – technophile May 25 '12 at 11:22
1

They seem to have some kind of telepatchic communication though. The queen looks at two drones in the film Aliens and they back away. Her features do not change in the same way an angry human's might so it seems unlikely they were going off that.

  • I don't think that implies telepathy. There well may be non-obvious signals we don't notice as humans. – TheMathemagician Aug 4 '14 at 9:39
  • The Aliens seem capable of launching co-ordinated attacks complete with sophisticated strategies like cutting power lines and flank envelopment. The film gives no indication of them verbally communicating, using sign language or exchanging notes. Unless they have an extremely sophisticated pheromone system I am not sure there are many other options? – Stefan Aug 4 '14 at 10:00
  • You might not be able to detect subtle expression changes between two humans from a different culture let alone xenomorphs. – TheMathemagician Aug 4 '14 at 10:04
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    @TheMathemagician Tell that to Star Trek. – JAB Nov 11 '16 at 0:34
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    @Stefan I would certainly not be able to deduce a facial expression from anyone which said...[long plan] - Al Pacino could give that facial expression. ; ) #godfather – Grimm The Opiner Jun 11 '18 at 15:48

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