May 16th, 2012


I can't believe I overlooked this.

Okay, so I have this sentient herbivorous species called the Ah'Koi Bahnis in my main scifi universe. But for years, I've wondered how they evolved to sentience, when the best science said it was probably unlikely for an herbivorous species to have any reason to evolve sentience. Furthermore, they have binocular vision; Ah'Koi Bahnis look remarkably like humans, in fact.

Over the years, I've gone through several contrived theories, each picked apart by friends more science-wise than myself. Then I finally figured it out, in a moment of sheer "D'OH!" It should have been obvious! I've known since the very beginning that there is an entire kingdom of life on Traipah that doesn't show up on Earth, called planimals, which are essentially motile plants that usually eat animals or other planimals, but some species eat plants. They produce some or most of their own sugars from sunlight (depending on how motile they are; some barely move at all), but they lack the ability to make their own proteins, and in some areas of the planet it is more efficient to get other needed nutrients from eating animals.1

I've also known for a long time that the Ah'Koi Bahnis hunt and eat planimals. Yet it only occurred to me recently that THAT is the reason for the AKB having binocular vision and evolving sentience. There was probably a time in their past when normal edible plants were hard to find, but the planimals were still thriving because they eat animals and can hunt around looking for water, even digging for it if they have to. So you're an herbivore, you can't eat meat, and the local plants are not doing so well. Food is thus scarce. And what should you happen to find but these nice green plants that move around like animals. You have no claws, and your teeth are only good for eating plants. So you learn how to hunt these motile plants, and you have suddenly a reason to develop binocular vision and big brains. Problem solved!

And since I gave up on "Foreign Influence," I've decided now, with this new revelation, to give up on the her'my'oh'ahd'jahg. (AKB meat eaters.)

1 = One of the most popular planimals to dine on being the kohrm'rand, and the kohrm'rand having a head that's just all jaw/teeth and nowhere for eyes or a brain, I wondered for a long time how they see and think. Then, duh! They have eyes, but they're a kind of compound eye that is indistinguishable from the rest of their "skin." I figure, if they can absorb sunlight to make sugars, why not see with their skin? That, and they have other senses like detecting heat, or detecting the electricity in animals.
And as for their brains, planimals are a bit like octopi, in that their brains are spread throughout their bodies. They literally think with their whole body! The bigger the planimal, the smarter it can potentially be.

This was cross-posted from
You can comment either here or there.