I've just started watching the series and noticed that on numerous occasions SG1 kill Jaffa just outside the Stargate, but their bodies are never brought back for study. They obviously have never done this because Teal'c often tells his team to bring back his body so the scientists can learn something about the Goa'uld.

For example, in episode 16 of season 1, Teal'c says this to Daniel, and by the end of the episode at least 6 Jaffas are killed right outside of the Stargate.

So, although there is this desperate need to study the Jaffa and the Goa'uld, why is this never done?

  • they were able to study them through teal'c himself, essentially jaffa arnt much different then humans minus the surpressed immune system that was replaced by the symbiot, and i believe they had a goa'uld symbiot from one of the first couple episodes to examine. The biggest issue is that the goa'uld symbiots would still be alive in those jaffa for hours, and so retrieving a dead jaffa would result in them waiting hours while letting an intelligent life die, even though they could keep it alive. This is a big human rights issue, and so its better to leave the dead. at least IMO.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 22:47
  • 11
    For much the same reason we don't see the SG1 team collecting up staff weapons. They're an advanced recon team. Others come along later to collect bodies, manage prisoners, etc etc.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 22:53
  • @Himarm The symbiots could be of great use if kept alive: As a replacement for Teal'c (if one day something happens to it), as an object to study. Also it is rumored [trying to avoid spoilers] that a larva already knows a lot. Provided one could establish a connection to it.
    – Einer
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 11:35
  • @einer im pretty sure they already knew that if the jaffa host dies, the goa'uld needs to be implanted into a human, i know they cant live outside of a body for long, and im pretty sure they cant be re implanted into another jaffa.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 14:02
  • 1
    There was an awesome & chilling SG1 7th season episode where the SG1 Team brings back a captured Kull warrior for study (not the same as a Jaffa of course).
    – RobertF
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 18:32

3 Answers 3


They didn't have to. In the first 10 minutes of the pilot, a number of Jaffa are killed in the embarkation room, and later seen being studied by the SGC. A lack of medical knowledge about the Jaffa is never a theme of the show. They knew the biology of the Jaffa and Goa'uld. What they didn't fully understand was the politics and culture - things that a corpse is of little (but not no) help with.

  • To be fair, the movie guards were never stated to be anything specific. They would have been looking at the armor and weapons instead of the bodies.
    – user16696
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 23:26
  • 8
    The Kurt Russel movie is not the pilot. The movie guards are explained later in the series. (As being Jaffa. The lack of the pouch is hand-waved.)
    – Tritium21
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 23:28
  • 2
    @Tritium21: The movie guards are referred to in Children of the Gods as being human. O'Neill baldly states so when shown the Jaffa bodies. I don't recall Ra's guards ever being hand-waved as Jaffa. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 23:49
  • 2
    @JamesSheridan: Ra's Guards post-exodus are human, probably due to a lack of symbiotes available for Jaffa. Pre-exodus they are decidedly Jaffa, when they are encounterd by alternate-timeline SG-1 in Ancient Egypt. Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 12:32
  • 1
    I wouldn't trust anything O'Neill says about science stuff, but the quote from Children of the Gods is "But there are no creatures like this on Abydos. Those people were human. They were from Earth. Ra brought 'em there thousands of years ago."
    – Schwern
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 23:23

Never seen on screen, so this is speculation, but we know goa'uld are brought back alive and dead for study, and that Jaffa have been killed inside the SGC. Tretonin could not have been created without the study of both. But the SGC is run by scrupulous people that recognize the Jaffa as both brainwashed slaves, minor foot soldiers, and people. Autopsies and/or vivisection would not be high on their list.

Now the various other organizations are much less ethical. The NID, the Trust, Area 51, the Russians. Kidnapping, theft, murder, not out of the question. They weaponized nerve gas that only affected goa'uld.

But mostly, we know that Jaffa are just humans slightly modified, with most of their strengths coming from the symbiote. There is not much to learn from a dead Jaffa

  • But then why does Teal'c still offer himself up for study? And why do they try to get larval Goa'uld to bring back and study?
    – Hawkblade
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 0:53
  • @NewSGFan Because Teal'c is likely referring to giving up his symbiote, which would kill him (he won't take one from a dying Jaffa, that's taboo. And stealing one is very difficult). Studying the Goa'uld would provide plenty. But remember, the Goa'uld keep the Jaffa in the dark about what they really are. Only a few like the First Prime know, and even then not alot.
    – user16696
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 0:56
  • Because the bodies' chemical processes are different when a body is alive and when a body is dead. A good scientist will want to know what that difference is (with due regard for Teal'c 's safety of course)
    – tls
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 5:31
  • @tls a good scientist or doctor would not perform vivisection or needless exploratory surgery. And as I said, the SGC would not do it, the other groups would.
    – user16696
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 5:35
  • It was for New SG Fan :)
    – tls
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 5:41

I'm also guessing that (apart from the fact that they also had Teal'c at their "disposal"), they also don't want to because they are mainly slaves to the goa'ulds but remain humain and are indoctrinated.

  • "Lets capture a Jaffa for medical study by the standards of the United States scientific community - humanly, with dignity, and caution" "No, we cant, cause that inhumane. Lets just shoot them." ... Unlikely.
    – Tritium21
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 12:40
  • "They're attacking us! Shoot them!" - Very, very likely.
    – Ernie
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 22:58

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