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Why is the xenomorph referred to as a "perfect organism?" Is it because it is very good at reproducing and does not let sentiment/morals interfere with its decisions?

Always sounded a little pat/simplistic/cliched to me.

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As I recall it's only referred to as "perfect" by one android whose programming model is later described by a newer model with the line "The A2s always were a bit twitchy.". Ash's motives for believing it perfect are based on programmed search parameters set by Weyland-Yutani's xenobiology department; they aren't a value judgement by something with human motives. The Xenomorph's ability to survive almost any environment does later lead some actual people to consider them to have "great potential", as a bioweapon.

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We get a little more info about what Ash considers to be the xenomorph's 'perfection' in the official novelisation. It's not just its violence but also its resilience and adaptability.

'You idiots! You still don't realize what you're dealing with. The alien is a perfectly organized organism. Superbly structured, cunning, quintessentially violent. With your limited capabilities you have no chance against it.'
'My God.' Lambert stared dully at the head. 'You admire the damned thing.'
'How can you not admire the simple symmetry it presents? An interspecies parasite, capable of preying on any life form that breathes, regardless of the atmospheric composition involved. One capable of lying dormant for indefinite periods under the most inhospitable conditions. Its sole purpose to reproduce its own kind, a task it pursues with supreme efficiency. There is nothing in mankind's experience to compare with it.
'The parasites men are used to combating are mosquitoes and minute arthropods and their ilk. This creature is to them in savagery and efficiency as man is to the worm in intelligence. You cannot even begin to imagine how to deal with it.'

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    It is also notable that any attack on the xenomorph releases a destructive acid. It's very well evolved to threaten the crew of the Nostromo.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 11:22
  • The only creature approaching the xenomorph in savagery so far encountered would be humans themselves. We are parasites or murderers (sometimes for no reason, sailors who twist the heads from naïve birds who perch curiously on their shoulders in the Galapagos) of almost all other species.
    – releseabe
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 1:17
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    @releseabe I'd rather compare the xenomorph to wasps or sharks. Those creatures seem to be really optimized at what they do. Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 5:00
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    @EricDuminil: Very much like parasitic wasps, even in body design. I recall someone saying something like this when I first saw Alien when it first came out.
    – releseabe
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 5:05
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    @Derek Real acids do not endlessly burn through everything, and it has to have something it doesn't react with or else it'll dissolve the alien from within. It's pure sci-fi how the acid even works.
    – Nelson
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 14:48
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At first glance, you might think it all it does is run around and kill things; it can't even reproduce by itself. You aren't going to say "wow wow wow wow wow".

I assume it was called perfect because of its ability to merge with other organisms, like how at the end of Alien vs. Predator, a xenomorph-predator is produced with multiple jaws. I would assume that a xenomorph can infect any life form, like a cat or an elephant, and take on adaptations from that creature. So it can conquer any part of an ecosystem.

If one landed on Earth, in the desert, it will (based on the gestation and growth speeds) be able to spread into the forests, oceans, and Arctic in a few years (maybe less).

I can't speculate on what a herbivore-xenomorph hybrid would make. But either way, if your definition of perfect is to dominate all life in your surroundings, then the xenomorph is Tight!

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