Questions tagged [biology]

For questions about the biology of life and organisms in works of science fiction and fantasy. Always use in conjunction with the relevant work tag. Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms. With regards to science fiction and fantasy works, it is generally associated with the practicalities of invented forms of life or life-supporting habitats.

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Invisibility should cause blindness: how does hard sf cope? [closed]

One problem I've always thought of with science fiction characters becoming invisible is that they should go blind, because their retina does not catch any light. Obviously a lot of soft SF or ...
Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE's user avatar
74 votes
1 answer
16k views

What color is smurf blood?

Is it known whether smurf blood is red or blue? I checked the UNICEF ad (an ad where the Smurf village was annihilated by warplanes), but couldn't spot any blood in the ad.
Golden Cuy's user avatar
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39 votes
7 answers
10k views

What would really happen if you were exposed to space? [closed]

It seems that every science fiction story has a different idea about what would happen if a human were exposed to the vacuum of space. At the end of Total Recall, Quaid and Melina are ejected to ...
splattered bits's user avatar
36 votes
10 answers
8k views

Why does human racial diversity exist in Star Trek?

In Star Trek, humans of different racial appearances exist, such as Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura. But I assume that if humans have been able to travel easily around Earth, and that there is ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
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36 votes
3 answers
13k views

Why are Vulcan lips Human-reddish instead of green?

We know that Vulcan blood is copper based instead of iron as in Humans, making it appear green instead of red. This is shown when bruised or bleeding as well as in Bones' insults to Spock. The lips ...
bitmask's user avatar
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33 votes
16 answers
79k views

Why do the Walking Dead zombies stop decomposing?

Zombies must have a half-life. They exibit signs of decay as soon as they transform into the undead. Their rotting flesh would attract decomposers, like flys and beetles. Those insects should be able ...
Major Stackings's user avatar
32 votes
4 answers
9k views

How do the Dune sandworms move?

The sandworms of Dune are huge and powerful. But how exactly do they move beneath all that sand? They don't necessarily skim above the surface as they apparently only raise smallish (relative to their ...
coleopterist's user avatar
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26 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is obesity ever addressed in Star Trek?

I was pondering, as I am wont to do, and it struck me how I could never recall anyone being overweight or obese in Star Trek. As it is such an issue today, and has been a major one issue for the last ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
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24 votes
1 answer
7k views

Does Clark Kent have a weight problem?

This question came to mind while watching an overloaded vehicle tilting down the road ahead of me. Are Kryptonians Height & Weight Proportional (H/W/P) to humans? I'm curious to know if Clark has ...
Major Stackings's user avatar
24 votes
4 answers
16k views

How does cross-species (Klingon/Human, Vulcan/Human) breeding work genetically in Star Trek?

While humanoids across the galaxy theoretically share a common remote ancestor, from what I remember each species has evolved convergently towards humanoidness by different routes. So we end up with ...
zipquincy's user avatar
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23 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are the humans in the Star Wars Galaxy really humans?

Related: Why are there humans in the Star Wars Universe? This is a subtly different question because I'm not asking whether there's a historical relationship between the two lineages. I am asking this ...
ThePopMachine's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
7k views

Did/do the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park reproduce asexually or did some turn into males?

I remember them saying the dinos were all female to prevent reproduction, but that they reproduced anyhow because of frog DNA used to make them. I thought at first this meant some turned into males to ...
Conan Highwoods's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
10k views

Where/What are Venom's eyes?

Disclaimer: I have zero Spider-Man comic lore experience. When I think of Venom from the Spider-Man universe, I picture this: I always thought of the big white areas on his face as his eyes. Not ...
Nomkins's user avatar
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17 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is there any evolutionary advantage to the position of the Vulcan heart?

We know both from the original series and Star Trek Beyond that the vulcan heart is located where the human liver is. It seems an odd and inconvenient position deprived of the protection the rib cage ...
Ram's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
5k views

Where does the energy come from in the Dune ecosystem?

In Frank Herbert's Dune books, the planet Arrakis has an interesting and well thought-out alien ecology. As summarised in this answer, the sandworms eat sandplankton (which consists, at least in part, ...
N. Virgo's user avatar
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16 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why aren't there any recognizable elf children in Middle-Earth?

Why aren't there any recognizable Elf children in Middle-Earth? I don't remember reading about younglings, only adults. Hobbit children, goblin imps and human children are all represented in the LOTR ...
Major Stackings's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Book about a group of kids that were cloned from criminals

I remember, as a kid, reading a book about a group of kids, who were cloned from tissue samples taken from violent criminals. I am pretty sure that all of the adults are in on it, if not most. It was ...
Erik Rospo's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
3k views

Do characters in Star Trek address how odd it is the universe is filled with humanoids? [duplicate]

In Star Trek, basically everyone is a human with facial make-up; are there any instances where character comment on this and attempt at an in-universe explanation of this within this franchise? Note, ...
Alan H.'s user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Does the crew of the Destiny have a large enough population to found a colony?

In a recent episode of Stargate Universe, we learn that alternate versions of the crew ended up back in time stranded on a planet. They proceed to establish a colony, which over the years grows to a ...
user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
915 views

Can people Exercise in the Matrix?

When Neo is brought onto the Nebuchadnezzar, his muscles are stimulated so that they grow (having atrophied from not being used). However, if in the Matrix fighting can cause real damage (since your ...
Teknophilia's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
3k views

Infection & Immunity in the Matrix- How did Neo not get sick upon leaving?

For context, I've only seen the first film, and only all the way through at a social event. When Neo is unplugged, he's leaving a sterile or at least very isolated environment, getting dunked in ...
Mae's user avatar
  • 149
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

What was the name of this horror/science fiction story involving orcas/killer whales?

I'm looking for a horror/science fiction story involving orcas/killer whales. It was written by someone who was either a marine biologist or someone who used to work with cetaceans, and in their ...
user2352714's user avatar
12 votes
9 answers
2k views

First story to deal with increased human intelligence?

I know that some stories have dealt with humans or other beings that are "wiser" (I think even the concept of intelligence separate from knowledge is a fairly modern one) than normal humans. ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 14.9k
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

What about Pandora's atmosphere is toxic to humans?

On Pandora, humans have to wear oxygen masks when moving about in the open air. On arrival, the soldiers are told, "you lose that mask you're unconscious in 20 seconds, you're dead in four minutes." ...
KalenGi's user avatar
  • 1,967
12 votes
1 answer
864 views

Tribble dislike of Klingons and other aspects of their biology?

In the STOS episode, there is some evidence of tribbles not being completely simple "eating machines": They react to Klingons and in fact this is how Kirk discovers a surgically-modified ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 14.9k
12 votes
2 answers
8k views

How do Togrutas hear?

I was watching Ahsoka videos when it suddenly dawned upon me that she has no ears. After doing some research, it seems neither her horns nor her tentacles serve an auditory function. The other ...
thegreatjedi's user avatar
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11 votes
6 answers
7k views

Can't you just bite off a face hugger?

This seems like a serious plot hole to me. The face hugger in the Alien franchise is almost completely soft, short of its crab like legs. It seems like a serious evolutionary disadvantage if your ...
puk's user avatar
  • 977
11 votes
4 answers
6k views

How does the Space Slug (Exogorth) breathe in the vacuum of space?

Whilst answering this question, an interesting question came to mind. In the chase through the Hoth asteroid field in The Empire Strikes Back, the Millennium Falcon takes refuge in a cave, which ...
razethestray's user avatar
  • 2,042
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

First story about parasitic egg-laying aliens?

I distinctly recall discussing Alien right after I had seen it in a movie theatre when it first came out. Someone said something like, "Nature is just as cruel..." and of course anyone who ...
releseabe's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

How much volume is there in the 'hollows' of human bones? [closed]

Since the Extremis story line, Tony Stark stores a portion of the Iron Man armor inside the hollows of his bones. My really basic understanding of biology knows that inside our bones is marrow, which ...
user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
979 views

Is Superman's strength related at all to his muscles?

Superman is generally shown in most appearances with a single iconic physique: buff as hell. He's also super-crazy-ultra-mega-strong. But as any fan knows, the two aren't generally related: he draws ...
Nerrolken's user avatar
  • 38.5k
10 votes
2 answers
476 views

Do Shapeshifters, like Odo, shift just shape, or composition as well?

When Odo is shaped as a humanoid, for example, is his eye just the outward shape of an eye? Or does he have a lens, and a retina, and an optic nerve, and a brain made of neurons processing images?
user1008646's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
413 views

Story Identification: Carnivorous Pack-Hunting Chipmunks

I recall reading a short story back in the 80's that featured some biologists who ran across a pack of carnivorous chipmunks in a national park. They would gang-up on larger creatures, like owls, and ...
S. Albano's user avatar
  • 2,902
10 votes
5 answers
456 views

A person contracts a biological pathogen that is collectively intelligent, forming a symbiosis [duplicate]

Trying to identify a story where: A person (man/woman?) somehow contracts a pathogen that leans to communicate with him. The pathogen is something like an amoeba. the person is hunted by others ...
Brill Pappin's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
893 views

What about all the dragon-poop?

Was there ever a definitive description of how dragons and fire lizards defecate and what was done about it? I have read some descriptions saying that they do so between, while other sources stated ...
Toider's user avatar
  • 393
9 votes
1 answer
855 views

Short story about mis-delivered cloning kit from the future

Short story about mis-delivered cloning kit from the future. Subject man clones himself using scanner and ingredients from the kit (add water), agent arrives (from future) to reclaim the kit, but ...
TestPilotDoc's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

What Star Trek humanoid species has the longest natural lifespan?

I don't mean due to advanced medical technology, cryogenics, stasis, time travel, etc. I don't mean due to being a Q or a Borg or some other non-corporeal lifeform or a totally alien biology. Which ...
ThePopMachine's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
557 views

Strange alien planet with sentient trees, human colony - a novel

These trees have offspring that undertake a pilgrimage over water and land to a mountain, then return to their home, take root, and become part of their family forest. There are several, sometimes ...
Vanessa's user avatar
  • 151
8 votes
2 answers
693 views

At what point does the biological portion of the (Arnold) Terminators fail?

In the film franchise we see the Terminator(s) get shot, burned, flayed and smashed. In T1, it begins to rot without medical attention. In T2, Uncle Bob tells Sarah Connor that it will heal as she ...
Major Stackings's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Do Aliens (Xenomorph) have cells?

Do the aliens from the Alien franchise have cells as we know them? I want to know as I assumed they didn't and just secreted a resinous exoskeletal system.
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
  • 81.9k
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is Ferengi behaviour better explained by biology or culture?

Obviously some characteristics will be based on biology (Trills not being good in the heat while Cardassians are for example.) However, in the various incarnations of Star Trek, there appear to be ...
Reluctant_Linux_User's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
969 views

Can you genetically engineer powerful Force users?

Can genetic engineering be used to create more powerful force users than naturally born life forms can become? I was thinking about Vader's claim that the ability to destroy entire planets is nothing ...
bitmask's user avatar
  • 30.7k
8 votes
1 answer
599 views

Has human child-bearing age been extended in Star Trek?

We know that life expectancy has been radically increased due to significant medical advancement. For example, Dr. McCoy lives to be at least 137 per his depiction in "Encounter at Farpoint"...
ThePopMachine's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
693 views

Would an alien chestburster be classified as a parasite or as a hybrid?

Aliens or Xenomorphs, form the Alien franchise go through several stages of development. One of these is hard to define. The chest burster feeds on its host like a parasite, Wiki - Parasitism ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
  • 81.9k
7 votes
2 answers
396 views

Are Formic queens the only fertile females?

We know that Formics supposed to be similar to our ants, which have only one fertile female - the queen - that is a mother to the whole swarm. Is the same true to the Formics as well? I remember that ...
Yasskier's user avatar
  • 29.5k
7 votes
2 answers
547 views

Are there the equivalent of chimpanzees, etc. on other worlds with humanoids?

I mean, on Vulcan or Chronos are there "primates" that resemble the humanoids that correspond to humans on Earth? EDIT: Reading about Klingon evolution it seems very possible that during the ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 14.9k
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why doesn't zombie blood coagulate?

In The Walking Dead (as opposed to the book World War Z, for instance), it has been consistently shown that zombies have red, liquid blood, apparently indistinguishable from human blood. But we know ...
Wad Cheber's user avatar
  • 69.8k
7 votes
1 answer
398 views

Novel with intelligent sperm whales and their legendary heroes

A novel with intelligent sperm whales which I PARTIALLY read in a supermarket book display back about the 1980s I guess. Obviously it counts as at least partially fantasy and science fiction. I ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
456 views

What is the earliest example of an accidental origin of life or civilisation?

The trope The essence of the trope goes like this: Somebody creates a new biosphere or civilisation by accident, such as leaving some sandwich lying around. Often, the product is microscopic with ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
  • 3,343
6 votes
2 answers
565 views

Is the claim by Kim Stanley Robinson about Carbon Dioxide being poisonous true? [closed]

I've read all 3 books, and loved them except for one small claim that keeps bothering me. Specifically, is Carbon Dioxide as poisonous as we are lead to believe? I always thought that if we were in an ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar