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Why didn’t EVE recognize the little cockroach as a living organism just like the plant? The cockroach possesses all characteristics sustainable in life as the plant with the exception of reproduction, although neither does the plant that has yet to show signs of reproduction.

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    I marvel how with almost no references, someone managed to answer this. =D ;) – An old man in the sea. Mar 18 at 13:00
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    @Anoldmaninthesea. - There's lots of reference; several junior novels, an art book, a script and dozens of DVD features that mention EVE – Valorum Mar 18 at 13:24
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    Plants represent the bottom rung of the ecosystem. If the planet supports plan life, then it can, in time, be inhabited by other forms of life. Strictly speaking, the cockroach should be dead by now, because what is there for it to eat? – AJFaraday Mar 18 at 15:23
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    @AJFaraday - Twinkies – Valorum Mar 18 at 15:46
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    @AJFaraday - I don't see evidence of lots of cockroaches, I only see evidence of three – Valorum Mar 18 at 16:54
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As you can see from this DVD insert (describing the various robots and their primary focus) EVE is an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator. Her main focus is to review organic, read plant organic, life on the planets that she surveys.

enter image description here

As such, a life-form other than a plant wouldn't register on her scanners.

WALL-E’s visitor is a probe-bot who has been sent to Earth to check for signs of plant life. The Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, otherwise known as EVE, takes her mission very seriously.

WALL-E: The Intergalactic Guide


You might want to note that on a purely personal level she absolutely does recognise the roach as a living being.

Eve finds the insect intriguing. Lowers her arm. The end separates into individual hovering sections...

Wall-E Script

But when she scans Wall•E and the cockroach together, she finds that they're simply "not what she was looking for" (e.g. plant life).

She let the roach get closer. The little bug intrigued her, and she let him crawl up her arm. WALL · E heard her emit a series of electronic beeps. She was giggling! The roach must have tickled her.

...

She slowly approached the shivering box. The cockroach ran down EVE’s blaster arm and hopped onto his master. EVE’s blue light scanned WALL·E. NEGATIVE. He was not what she was looking for. She retracted her blaster arm and glided away.

Wall•E - Official Junior novelisation

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    Given that she was scanning for vegetation on Earth, she should technically be a Terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator. – Sean Mar 19 at 3:18
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    I don't totally agree with Sean. EVE's function, by design, could be Extraterrestrial, however after the events on Earth transpired, is being used Terrestrially. Using a robot in an unforeseen way would not change it's acronym. – AxGryndr Mar 19 at 6:27
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    @Sean She was on Earth, but from Space - beyond (extra) Earth (terrestrial). An "Extraterrestrial Vegetation-Evaluator", not an "Extraterrestrial-Vegetation Evaluator" – Chronocidal Mar 19 at 8:19
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    @Chronocidal - I read it differently. In my head, her typical role is to evaluate life on the various planets that BNL can get to in their exploration ships. Once Operation Recolonise was implemented, her role changed to periodically evaluating life on Earth. So she's a restasked EVE probe. – Valorum Mar 19 at 8:40
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Unlike a plant, a cockroach does not show that the planet has started to recover, just that it has not yet run out of food waste yet.

More importantly: "EVE" stands for "Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator" - as the name suggests, she is specifically designed to search for Flora, not Fauna, (i.e. to search for Plant Life, not Animal Life).

  • This is important! Roaches are great at scavenging. Even in the current time, it is predicted that roaches can easily survive a nuclear holocaust. – Stark07 Mar 21 at 7:37
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It is commonly thought that cockroaches are uniquely capable of surviving even in a highly radioactive environment.

Therefore the presence of a cockroach is not an indicator of an envoriment being inhabitable, or even safe to be in.

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    To clarify are you saying that Eve did recognise the cockroach as a living organism but discounted it because of the nature of a cockroach? – TheLethalCarrot Mar 18 at 16:20
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    For the record, cockroaches are particularly susceptible to radiation poisoning and would likely be among the first class of creatures to die in a nuclear holocaust – Valorum Mar 18 at 16:52
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    @Valorum: Compared to (say) fruit flies, yes. Compared to (say) humans, it's precisely the opposite. – Sean Mar 19 at 3:19
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    I feel this answer should get more upvotes. The scene was clearly a nod to the fabled hardiness of cockroaches, and their alleged ability to survive natural disasters. – Konrad Rudolph Mar 19 at 8:38
  • @TheLethalCarrot Precisely. Note that it scans the cockroach more thoroughly than any of the inanimate matter around. – Mayavin Mar 21 at 10:54

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