After the Cylon ambush, when the government asks Balter to build a Cylon detector, they have just recently learned there are "skin jobs" (as they call them) that look like humans, but they aren't sure how to find them.

Later, they know Sharon Valerii is a Cylon, but there's no indication they have examined her to tell how they can detect a Cylon. And, of course, Sharon Agathon, a humaniform Cylon, and Karl Agathon, a human, have a child, Hera, together. The second fact says that Cylons not only have genes, but that their genes are compatible with human genes.

Humaniform Cylons have blood, they have genes that have to be quite close to humans. They cry, they sweat, and the only three indications we've seen that they are different is when Leoben breaks down and is not able to function due to radiation at Anchorage Station and that they do, somehow, download to the nearest Resurrection Ship (if one is available) when they die. (As best I remember, it's never revealed how the Cylon detector works, but since Baltar needed a nuke to build it, it's possible it was based on observing reactions to radiation exposure.)

There's no indication they find wiring or other mechanical parts in them, but the other difference from humans seems to be that they can interface with the right wiring that connects to Cylon machinery.

Which leads to my question: Just how human are humaniform Cylons? They can't be too different (if there were wiring, it'd show up on x-rays, for example) and it would seem the main thing tying them to "the enemy" would be their memories and identity. Their bodies seem to be almost completely biological and not at all mechanical.

So how human are they? How do their bodies differ from humans?

6 Answers 6


The were completely human if you didn't look too closely - the Sharon known as "Boomer" lived a life in the colonies, probably underwent medical exams, and was never found out. Only Gaius's Cylon Detector ever detected her as not human, and that was scrapped as junk because he lied.

However, they were not completely human, and had the ability to interface with technology:

Cylon hand interface screenshot

In addition to the above picture (which took place on one of the Cylon ships), one of the Sharons (Athena, I think) was able to insert wires into cuts on her wrist and interface with a colonial computer.

So there are differences. Most likely in the form of nanobots, so that the interface would work through the skin, and be retracted/removed/hidden when they were attempting to hide from detection.

EDIT with a quick note:

There's certainly going to be more differences, to explain being unable to have a child, and how they uploaded themselves to the Resurrection Hub on death. However, this is the only one I can remember being an explicit difference with a possible explanation.

  • 1
    Hey, I am able to interface with a computer! Jan 19, 2012 at 2:00
  • 6
    The biggest problem is the red illumination that runs down the female models' spines during sex.
    – HNL
    Jan 19, 2012 at 3:13
  • 3
    @HNL Good point. The obvious conclusion is that everyone should get suspicious if their female significant other refuses positions that would leave their back visible to observation. :D
    – dlanod
    Jan 19, 2012 at 5:39
  • 2
    What about aging? We never see them age and they spring into existence fully formed. This always bothered me in the case of the cylons who think they are human -- I guess they're created with a lifetime's worth of false memories.
    – Pixel
    Jan 19, 2012 at 22:47
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    @HNL The Final Five are skinjobs from the Thirteenth Tribe. They figured out how to reproduce and forgot their origins for generations, which the Final Five rediscovered shortly before war wiped out all life on the planet. They died in that war, and resurrected on a ship in orbit over the planet, after which they headed towards the Colonies, discovered the Cylons made in Caprica, etc, etc... So yeah, the Saul Tigh that we see in the series has already resurrected at least once. Probably twice, when Cavil erased their memories.
    – Izkata
    Jan 20, 2012 at 4:17

In the original miniseries, Baltar has sex with Six, and during that, her spine lights up. Given that spinal lights never show up again in the series, I'm sure that it's something the writers wish they could take back.

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    Boomer's spine lit up in her sex scene.
    – U007D
    Apr 28, 2013 at 13:23

I think that all humans in Battlestar Galactica are Cylons created by the Lords of Kobol who were humans. Eventually these Cylons rebelled, killed their (Gods) creators, and went into exodus to 12 colonies and Earth where they evolved further. There was an inherent flaw in the creation of Cylons by the Lords of Kobol that could never be undone, and that resulted in the perpetual cycle of violence between Humanoid Cylons and Mechanical Cylons. It is possible that undeveloped humans on a newly discovered planet, which Adama calls Earth, are in fact REAL humans from Kobol who, like their creations ages after, decided to abandon all forms of technology in order not to make the same mistake again. Cylons on the other hand, could not do that because of the inherent flaw in their programing. The only way to break the cycle is to merge the Creators with the Creation. In this way human genes could overwrite the Cylon flaw, and maybe break the cycle. "All of this has happened before. But the question remains, does all of this have to happen again?"


There were the multiple references to humanoid Cylons being "programmed". Unless that "programming" was entirely biological (maybe they figured out the biological constructs for memory, emotions, behaviors, etc. and how to create all of that in a human brain), then presumably their "brain" would have been artificial to some extent. Though now having said that, the whole thing with uploading to the Resurrection ship would have to imply something more artificial (though they never explained how they could effectively upload whatever was uploaded across vast distances of space instantaneously ... I guess that's where you just set logic aside for the good of the story).


Also, there's an episode there Sharon(?) interfaces with a fibre optic link by plugging it in her vein.

Certainly not too human then... :)


Apparently almost completely human, as biological reproduction with them is possible. While the producers of the series might have wanted to also re-explore this particular gem, it is clear that with the minor exceptions of telepathic communication and the ability to "resurrect" themselves, the Cylons were essentially biological human beings.

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