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Apparently there is a fundamental difference between the Final Five and the rest of the Humanoid Cylons. Extracted from the Cylon's Wikipedia Article:

Ronald D. Moore confirmed in an interview that the four are indeed fully Cylon — although "fundamentally different" from the others. Moore has also stated that unlike the other Humanoid Cylon models, the Final Five do not have model numbers. This is because in their original lives they were born to Cylon parents through sexual reproduction, rather than being built, as stated in "No Exit".

So, how different are from each other? Also, as stated in the previous quote, if they are born, not created, what makes them Cylons?

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Here is a list of possible ways in which the Final Five might be different:

  • A Final Five was able to morph into a Hybrid after being critically injured.
  • Because they were born, they may have the ability to reproduce sexually.
  • They have been alive for 2000 years.
  • They appear to have a lot more compassion and humanity (generally) than the other Cylons. They are fundamental to stopping both wars.

To your last question, their origin of their existence is artificial. They are not the result of millions of years of evolution. That is why they are Cylons.

  • So, from whom where they born / begotten? – Thecafremo May 31 '12 at 7:22
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    The reason that the Final Five have been alive for 2000 years is time dilation resulting from traveling at relativistic speeds. – Dima May 31 '12 at 13:05
  • I was under the impression that Final Five were reborn time and time again in order to last their journey and once in order to escape 13th colony (kobol?) at the time of its destruction. Resurrection tech is explained in Caprica series. Resurrection tech timeline is different on BSG wikii, I could be wrong, – Dima Tisnek Dec 5 '13 at 16:39
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Also that the Final Five are actually the Original Five and the creators/designers of the other humanoid models. Further clarified in the conversation in which Cavil criticizes Ellen et al for not having designing him with superior senses to be able to "see gamma rays, hear X-rays, smell dark matter" etc.

Ellen says: "The five of us designed you to be as human as possible." - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407362/quotes?qt=qt0517581

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