I read this book when I as a kid (probably around 1988 or so, and it wasn't brand new when I read it) with some of the following elements:

  • Tons of diverse sentient aliens, I remember a sentient whale type creature, a panda-like creature, ant-like beings (perhaps the villains), etc.
  • Some aliens had one type of DNA, others had a different type -- and aliens of one type could not eat creatures of the other type
  • A big space station full of these creatures
  • Periodically all the sentient species in the galaxy get wiped out by something
  • Sonic weapons
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    This reads like a mishmash of "Empire from the Ashes" series by David Weber (point 4) and James White's "Sector General" series :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 14 '13 at 19:34
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    The periodic mass extinction sounds like "Manifold: Space" by Stephen Baxter. – Ghillie Dhu Mar 14 '13 at 19:52
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    Offhand, it has some resemblance to Jack Chalker's Well World series (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_World). – Donald.McLean Mar 14 '13 at 20:35
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    This isn't actually a question for our forums, but a covert way for stranded aliens to signal to their brethren that they're in need of extraction. This also explains why zipquincy keeps asking about Lost... only another life form could think the show ended well. – John O Mar 14 '13 at 21:11
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    Periodical extinction events... is this the Bible you're thinking of? :) It certainly isn't brand new, and does contain eating recommendations. Sonic weapons: Battle of Jerico. It all fits. – TLP Mar 15 '13 at 12:19

From what I remember The Uplift War matches some of the elements you mentioned (I remember sentient dolphins (one was part orca), various aliens some of which were eaten by a human protagonist, and a sonic weapon).

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    But "Periodically all the sentient species in the galaxy get wiped out by something" fails spectacularly for all six books in that universe. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Mar 14 '13 at 20:31
  • @dmckee I only read that one ages ago, so I thought extinctions were either addressed later or I forgot about them. Should I delete the answer or let it stand? – user1395 Mar 16 '13 at 20:34
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    Seem to remember there was something (last book?) about races opting out of being galactic players to become Great Old Ones (IIRC) en-masse, which was effectively mass extinction as far as anyone else was concerned. – timday Apr 3 '13 at 19:46

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