Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Would "intelligent" aliens with an advanced culture be necessarily humanoid?

Discussion in 'SCIENCE!!' started by Freelance Henchman, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Freelance Henchman Arcane

    Freelance Henchman
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    Just interested what you BROs think about this. I'm using "intelligent" as a very broad, fuzzy description meaning basically "they think like us but look funny", and "humanoid" meaning "air-breathing, 2 legs, 2 arms, 1 head". In hard SF I'm only aware of Larry Niven's Puppeteers that seemed like a viable alternative to that shape.

    Lay some scienmajicry on me, BROS!
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  2. Lyric Suite Arcane

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    Keeping in mind i don't believe any other form of intelligence can exist beyond human intelligence, in an higher and transcendental meaning of both words, so to envision a completely alien form of intelligence is pretty much an exercise in futility, i generally find it pretty annoying at just how abysmal most science fiction writers are when they strive to make an attempt, and how most of them don't even bother to try in the first place.

    It seems that for most fiction writer being imaginative is secondary to merely derping out their own childish fantasies or trying to do social commantary!.
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  3. abnaxus Arcane

    abnaxus
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    Life evolving on gas giants, volcanic or aquatic worlds wouldn't be humanoid.

    Good examples are Lovecraft's aliens, e.g. Elder things and Flying polyps.

    [​IMG]
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  4. Freelance Henchman Arcane

    Freelance Henchman
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    While aquatic things like octopuses here on Earth are apparently pretty clever and able to use tools (or so I think I read), the lack of access to fire seems like a major problem to becoming a truly advanced civilization. Although, I think octopuses can spend some time outside of water so maybe they could run forges on the beach, lol. But my impression is that a species needs to be social rather than solitary to get the basics of a civilization going, so I think at least our terrestrial octopuses wouldn't really work out that way.
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  5. Turisas Arcane Patron

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    If they're advanced enough, they can look like anything they want.
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  6. IDtenT Contact me for a good time Patron

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    Purely from a statistical point of view it's highly unlikely that they must be humanoid.
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  7. Morgoth Arcane

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    If the planet is Earth like (from which we know there are plenty out there) then yes, most definitely.

    Earth like however doesn't necessarily mean it has the same atmosphere pressure, gravity, amount of water and carbon.
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  8. Freelance Henchman Arcane

    Freelance Henchman
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    That's just it, would an intelligent species on a high-G thick atmosphere planet just be a distorted humanoid shape or likely look totally different?
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  9. Morgoth Arcane

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    I'm not even so much interested how they look like, but how they tick.

    "Evidence" suggests that our planet is indeed engaged by some ET species, and according to witness account (abductions cases, later retrieved through hypnosis) some of them are very human like in behaviour.

    One of the earliest and best documented cases is the Betty & Barney Hill incident. There's a book from Standon Friedman "Captured!" which you can easily remove from inventory at dat cool Swedish site. Pretty insightful.

    In before "YoUr full of bullshit Morg" haters.
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  10. Ion Prothon II Liturgist

    Ion Prothon II
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    Sup Morg. But don't forget about those reptilian things ruling the world from shadows, entertaining themselves from time to time by assraping Mr. Icke or drinking blood of unbaptized children.
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  11. laclongquan Arcane

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    Even for earth-like planets, it's not likely that sapiens will be humanoid.

    Consider Earth's history. 65 millions years ago there's a flourishing of dinosaurs. If not for the dinosaur-killing event, refering to a massive asteroid hitting Terra and causing long term climatical changes, they would have lived on and no doubt evolve into sapiens. Their modern descendant would not differ too much from their ancestor, same as us dont differ too much from our lemur-like ancestors.
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  12. Freelance Henchman Arcane

    Freelance Henchman
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    iwanttobelieve.jpg

    Seriously though, I don't doubt that somewhere out there there's life, considering how many exoplanets we are finding right now even with at the moment very crude methods. Until the time where we actually manage to communicate with some other species and somehow manage to compare our physiologies we are reduced to speculating unfortunately.

    That said, I am pretty doubtful that aliens not only are visiting us but also happen to look really really similar to us. In a way, it's just too boring. :D
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  13. Morgoth Arcane

    Morgoth
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    LOL you believe that bullshit?
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  14. Morgoth Arcane

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    Well let's hope you're right. 'Cause I would be scared shitless if they had any human features/quality.

    I'm not afraid of a slimey green Octopus.
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  15. Freelance Henchman Arcane

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    Intelligent sauropods does sound very interesting though. Who knows, maybe they existed and were wiped out in the cataclysm? We might never find out if there was a civilization 50-200 million years ago that only got to the stone age equivalent. Time would have erased all evidence.
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  16. Freelance Henchman Arcane

    Freelance Henchman
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    Even if they hit your ASS AND LEGS O GOD ITZ NOT HEAVAN?
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  17. Morgoth Arcane

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    How could they even hit your ass if they don't have two legs and two hands to hold you down?

    philosophieraptor.jpg
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  18. Morgoth Arcane

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    No, they couldn't. How would they be able to build things with their..."hands"? You can't become more intelligent (growing brain) if you're not competing with your environment and other species on a constant base. Apes who had to travel long ways through the jungle to get their food developed larger brains eventually than other species sitting all day on their trees and grabbing fruits.

    You need to get upright (Homo Erectus) to get your hands free to start using tools. T-Rex using tools? All he cared about was food, which was plenty around.
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  19. Freelance Henchman Arcane

    Freelance Henchman
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    If they're advanced enough to travel through light years of space for the purpose of RAEPing some aliens I'm pretty sure they have found a solution to that little problem. Probably robots of some sort.
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  20. Freelance Henchman Arcane

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    I agree. As stupid a "source" as it is, one of the later terrible Jurassic Park movies had some stuff about how the pack-hunting velociraptors would make good candidates for developing higher intelligence (which is where the Philosoraptor meme comes from, isn't it). They certainly seem more likely than T-Rex going all :monocle:.
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  21. Ion Prothon II Liturgist

    Ion Prothon II
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    Actually I can't believe I forget to put proper emoticon at the end of my post :smug:.

    There was some more or less serious dispute about possible evolution of humanoidal reptiles. Can't tell however if Russel and the other guys were serious, or just scalefags.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapient_dinosaurs#Sapient_dinosaurs
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=dinosauroid
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  22. Morgoth Arcane

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    No doubt these predators could have developed extremely intelligent. But then again, dolphins are intelligent too, yet nobody gives a shit about them except if a) you get saved from them from drowning or b) they land on your lunch plate.

    I see this very pragmatic. If it ever comes to open contact, I'll leave the sentimental bullshit to women and hipsters. The REAL question is how we could apply their technology so that we don't have to show up every morning at work anymore. ;)
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  23. Gord Arcane

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    If we assume that the aliens developed under similar conditions, I'd say there is a rather high probability for a certain similarity due to convergent evolution.
    If they developed under vastly different conditions, they are likely to be different however.
    Still I'd wager that they at least posses bodyparts that fulfill analogous roles to ours, i.e. appendixes to manipulate things, some sort of sensory organs, ways of locomotion and some sort of brian. Those parts might look vastly different, of course, and will depend on their native environment (barring cyborgs, major genetic modifications, etc.).
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  24. Vaarna_Aarne Ask me about anime Patron

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    There are several considerations that would have to be taken into account when imagining intelligent life, and then considering how it could become tool-cultural life. Then you must remember certain principles on which life operates, which are highly unlikely to be different outside of earth. First of all, we can be almost 100% that all life we'll encounter outside of Earth will be symmetrical. Secondly, they will most likely possess hands capable of fine manipulation (this is why bipedal humanoid form is a firm likelyhood), or use concerted effort of multiple small tentacles for manipulation. Thirdly, they will be based in either carbon or silicon, and use largely the same biochemistry as terrestrial life, ie dependant on water for survival, assuming special elements that would radically alter chemical possibilities don't exist outside of earth.

    You must also consider evolutionary principles that would lead to tool-cultural life. Dinosaurs were not a likely recipient to this development, as their evolution was about "arms race" in size and natural weaponry. Desmond Morris theorized this aspect in human evolution in the Naked Ape, that our brain's evolution was the only succesful method in participating in the savannah "arms race" our ancestors were dragged into when they left the forest. One thing he pondered if there is a chance we may find fossils of human species with rudimentary claws and fangs that didn't quite make it against other predators in the savannah. Regardless, point is that there much have been something that resulted in outstanding selection pressure in favour of intelligence over physical adaptation for these aliens.

    Finally, they must have been social animals (or animals that live solitarily only out of necessity, like orangutans) in order for culture to emerge. The emergence of tool-making culture is by far the most important step to take, and on Earth only primates have achieved. A key aspect of the formation of culture is the congregation of individual members of the species that results in the passing down of LEARNED knowledge (ie, nut-cracking methods and creating the perfect straw for fishing termites) to future generations.



    Ultimately, I would argue that non-sapient extraterrestrial life would most likely prove far more alien to us than spacefaring aliens.

    EDIT: Oh yea, there's another important aspect to remember: The aliens would not be super-beings, as they too would be products of evolution in a natural state where conservation of energy is an important aspect. They would only be radically superior to us if they were designer organisms (= fully enhanced to a point where they are no longer the species they were before it) or possessed limited enhancements. A super-being requires an advanced society to exist, where it can be constructed without adhering to the natural evolutionary concerns about energy.
    villain of the story and Morgoth Brofist this.
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  25. madbringer Savant

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    It's hard to say. So many different factors involved... what would they need for sustenance, for example? How would they perceive the reality around them? And so on. If we assume evolution is universal, they would conform to their environment in whatever way they interact with it, just like we did, eventually harnessing the planet's resources around them to build a "civilization" like we did, or blending in seamlessly with it, like our animals do. As was said before, an alien species thriving in a gas giant environment, for example, would not look anything like us. In fact, it's possible they'd be more similar to a cloud of gas, beam of photons, ball lightning or dust than to any form we could consider hosting an intelligent mind.

    On that note, i like the portrayal of alien species in Master of Orion 2, especially the Silicoids and Klackons, i found them to be pretty plausible. Also the telepathic rasta elf chicks, wouldn't mind making first contact with them, if you know what i mean. :smug:
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