Is there any anthropological reason as to why the one of the only differences between most humanoid species is the forehead. Why is it only the forehead?

Some examples:

Humans have flat heads

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Klingons have ridged foreheads

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Arkarians have weird declines on their foreheads

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  • 12
    Because budget. tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RubberForeheadAliens
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 11:22
  • 2
    @Richard I could tell that, I was just wondering if the writers had come up with a 'cover' for it
    – Beta Decay
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 11:29
  • 14
    Yes, they had an entire TNG episode "The Chase" that was little more than a great big retcon. Apparently all the humanoid species in the galaxy are related to a single race.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 12:27
  • 3
    Because actors don't use their forehead much for their craft, it's a nice palette for the special effects folks. Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 15:30
  • 5
    And even though this question has an easy answer (yes, The Chase), I don't think it's worth this many downvotes.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


Because aliens need to appear like aliens on TV, and the only actors they have available are humans.

Since you can only hire human actors, that means all the aliens (at least those with speaking roles) will appear as humanoid. Once you have that limitation in place you need to find a way to make them look alien on the screen. Most people wear clothes (at least on these sorts of family friendly shows), so the face seems like an obvious place to make alien-like changes - it's rarely covered by clothes so it's visible to the viewer, and since we humans tend to identify people by their faces, changing the face makes an impact on us. As for the forehead, well it's simply the biggest part of the face so it makes it an obvious place for alterations. (Although obviously not the only one - remember Bajoran noses, Romulan ears, etc.)

  • 14
    I for one, look forward to a time when real extraterrestrial actors can land a lead role on a television series about aliens, instead of us "hoomans" and our blatant cultural appropriation!
    – Monty129
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 13:06
  • 1
    And Vulcan ears too.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 19:33

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