Friday, February 1, 2008

Alien Technology - 1. Biology/Physiology - Part IV

Much of technology is driven by cultural needs, by physical needs (survival needs such as food, water, and protection from the elements) and, at least for humans, technology is also driven by the need for entertainment, and for exploration.

All of these are directly, or indirectly, connected to the biology and physiology of the alien race. Some additional examples include an alien species where mating is a difficult process, even more difficult than it can be here on Earth at times; for such a species there may be quite the pressure to concentrate energies on creating tools (technology) to help with the process. On a planet that is largely a desert, for a species that while physiologically efficient in the use of water, there will still likely be great pressures for developing tools (technology) to find and protect water as well as to get the most out of agriculture. Or for a species that is wholly herbivorous, technology to protect themselves from predators.

There are many other possibilities, which I will try to explore in the future, but this is more than enough to get us started, eh?

So, when contemplating on different kinds of aliens, and the technologies they may have, we need to keep in mind all the different biologies that could exist - do not ignore any biological need as an influence on the type and direction of technological development an alien species may undertake.


Anonymous said...

The existence of an alien(sentient) race with a specialist diet is extremely unlikely (at least if they can use tools). Wild cats require 95% meat diet while 70% meat is enough for a domestic cat. All domestic animals have adapted to a more varied diet in mere millennia. Imagine what millions of years of tool-use can do!

Mr. David Michael Merchant said...

Thanks for the comment. Granted, omnivores can tolerate global catastrophes than narrow specialist diets, but even on Earth we have non-domesticated animals that have specialist diets. Some are not tool makers (Koala bears, for instance, have extremely narrow diets). True, you did not say impossible!