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The 10 worst evolutionary designs. Like humans being unable to digest cellulose (like in wood) http://is.gd/1FPfU

Which reminds me, the Ah'Koi Bahnis (the humanoid sentient species of Traipah in my Traipah novels) have eaten wood in some scenes of the stories. Usually just twigs and bark, but that must mean they have the ability to digest cellulose.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
christinaathena
Jul. 21st, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
The problem is controlling symbiotes is tricky. You've got to keep them where they're needed and keep them out of where they're not needed, and you have to tailor your immune system to ignore them, at least, when they're in the right place. It's unlikely that we'd benefit from having those symbiotes enough to outweigh the cost of keeping them under control. For termites, the benefit definitely outweighs the costs.

That's a key point in evolution, everything's a trade-off. As the old saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Every benefit has a cost, and it depends on whether the benefit outweighs the cost or the cost outweighs the benefit.
fayanora
Jul. 21st, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
Indeed.
kengr
Jul. 21st, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
The bacteria in question (which would live in the intestines, not the stomach) produce a *lot* of methane.

Look up "bloat" (as a medical condition of cattle). Not pretty.
fayanora
Jul. 21st, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Eeesh. I already have enough gas problems. I see what you mean.

Well, Traipah's biosphere is different from Earth's, maybe they have a different system for digesting cellulose there.
underlankers
Jul. 21st, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
Or maybe their internal structures are completely different? I'm in the mindst of the Hatari in the city I'm in residence in at present in Shuhar IV, an entirely alien race who are bipedal tetrapods, but that only adds to the alienness, not subtracts from it. Six eyes and razor-hair and red skin (not Indian-style, skin that could easily pass for a stop sign) are quite distracting and somewhat overwhelming in large numbers.

Xeltrigan, of whom the Hatari are just one culture thereof, cannot eat Earth substances as the different environment on Xharmas, their homeworld and the radically-different types of evolutions that occur forbid any such thing. Aside from Tamir III, only two worlds are known to have given rise to bipedal tetrapodal sapients: Xharmas and Dramos, and neither is really that livable at present.

Aisha Gershon.
fayanora
Jul. 21st, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
All I really know about AKB anatomy is they have a second vestigal heart, and their eyes have not one larg pupil but thousands of tiny ones (giving the illusion of having no pupil at all). Oh, and the Zaen symbiont. Also, the setup of their reproductive organs (they're hermaphrodites).
underlankers
Jul. 22nd, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
Well....what I know of my own anatomy as a hybrid is that my brain is structured very differently. It's structured more like a lesser organism, with five ganglia that combine to produce my single intellect, with the central one in my skull, sheathed in a backwards-pointing skull that makes my face rather heavyset, with my internal organs likewise sui generis and due to that functioning less-efficiently than my father's would or human ones do. To picture me, picture a 5'7'' swarthy-with-a-reddish tint female in a headscarf with a heavyset skull that has limbs that are all too stockily built, and a hidden extra set of eyes that pop open at moments of surprise or anger, with a heavier frame and what's described as a lumbering gait. I don't even get the Uncanny Valley, I get What Measure Is a Non-Human. :(

I've never seen Xeltrigan or Roes'in reproductive organs, and neither do I particularly desire to. Their very alienness makes merely looking at them somewhat problematic. When the Roes'in blink in a more reptilian manner I tend to freeze. And Xeltrigan eyes tend to blink individually which can be fascinatingly distracting and said distraction somewhat irritating to them.

Revcel, a hybrid of the two races like me, has a bit of a hybrid nervous structure that gives her weaknesses like all hybrids. They at least can reproduce....which is a mixed blessing.

My comment on different anatomy came from that, the aliens with their...alien...movements and anatomies and my own as a half-human hybrid that's a bit different than Mr. Spock.

Aisha Gershon.
underlankers
Jul. 21st, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
It's more to do with the difference in hominin physiques. The gracile Australopiths were built for that kind of lifestyle...and could not run. Period. They also were built to live both on the ground and in trees. The trade-off of the Homo expansion was that cellulose was indigestible, and that led in part to the ever-shrinking stomach size of Homo in comparison to what was before (prior to the Industrial-age Obesity Epidemics in the First World. >.<).
fayanora
Jul. 21st, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
Good point.
underlankers
Jul. 21st, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
For humans to digest cellulose would mean that genus Homo never evolves. Australopithecus was built to digest that kind of material. Homo was not.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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