Homeworld Ecologies

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Itharus
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Itharus » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:37 pm

At that size I'd imagine they'd have to have lungs.
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Erinys » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:31 am

Most definitely lungs, as well as a heart and other important/nifty internal organs.

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arglabarg
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by arglabarg » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:12 am

I think I remember in the Deacon's Tale something about their snores coming from inside their wing cases. So maybe they have some air-breathing orifices that don't have a good analogy in humans. I wonder if their speech involves expelling air at all. It's not impossible that it could be generated by vibrating mouthparts without a connection to the respiratory system.

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Formid
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Formid » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:54 am

Royals do apparently use their wings in communication displays quite a bit...though that particular mode is unique to the caste as the wings of the others are too degenerated to use for that.

Alganhar
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Alganhar » Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:06 pm

Would need to be a lung analogue with circulatory 'blood' system. The tracheal system earth arthropods have simply could not supply an organism as large as a Hiver with Oxygen (I am going to assume oxygen is fairly standard as the respiratory gas in question... the differences between species mostly being what other gases in the atmosphere they can safely deal with?). Anything over a certain size will require an active breathing apparatus (lungs/gills or analogues) as well as a circulatory dispersal system. Without those they simply wouldn't get over a certain size barrier.

Also Hiver Exoskeleton and internal muscle structure would need to differ considerably from Earth insects as there are mechanical aspects about them that would not be able to support an organism as large a Hiver....

Do they Moult for instance? That would be something to see :P

EDIT: The circulatory system would not be only for respiratory gas circulation, but also for nutrient dispersal, non nervous communication (so hormones and other 'instructions' carried through the fluid), waste disposal through kidney/liver and spleen analogues, immune response, wound response, and also for maintenance of the core temperature through the mechanics of removing excess heat, or preserving it... all things our own circulatory system does, or helps to do.

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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by arglabarg » Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:32 pm

No particular reason that lungs have to be connected to the mouth, though. That particular arrangement evolved in Earth vertebrates because mouth and throat parts were easy to exapt for gas exchange in our distant proto-fish ancestors. If Hivers evolved on an arid world, they may have evolved from a small land species with a primitive tracheal pulmonary system and thus never went through the mouth->gill route that dictates the general breathing orifice arrangement of Earth vertebrates. A tracheal system with multiple dedicated orifices to supply the lungs would have a number of obvious benefits over the Human pharyngeal structure. No risk of choking, for example, and less risk of obstruction in general. A being with 2-6 tracheal orifices in its back or sides would be a lot less likely to drown in trivial amounts of water than humans are. Since hivers presumably smell with chemical sensors in their antennae, their breathing orifices would also be decoupled from the "sensors go on the head" rule in evolution.

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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Alganhar » Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:44 pm

Yes, I agree that the lungs wouldn't require a mouth... but should there be a tracheal type pulmonary system it would still need to be active rather than the more passive version we are familiar with, and there would still need to be a lung analogue in order to maintain gaseous exchange in a large organism, especially one with a large and energy intensive brain.

EDIT: Besides, sensors in the head routine is a fairly logical design no matter which way you look at it. True *all* the sensors dont have to be located there, sense of touch for example, or the lateral line in fish, but as sensors in the head is pretty much standard in most higher form species on earth its *probably* pretty safe to assume its likely to be common among alien species as well.

Note the probably :)

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Formid
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Formid » Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:22 pm

I'd agree. It's simply efficient design, and form follows function in evolution. of course that's not always the case. Many insects not only feel, but *taste* with their feet.

And some insects have a pseudo-active breathing apparatus. Ever seen a wasp or hornet up close and see its abdomen constantly pumping and pulsing away from its body? That's it breathing. It contracts and expands its abdomen like a bellows. So essentially its lower body is a big, crude lung. Still not efficient enough to supply an animal this size though. Unless they're in some really weird low gravity hyper-oxygenated environment, maybe.

EDIT: Come to think of it, who says the brain is in the head? A lot of a cephalopod's nervous system is sitting in at the base of its arms.

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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Alganhar » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:09 pm

Yeah, the semi active tracheal systems still work on diffusion through the tracheal system though, rather than through lungs, which is the major drawback, not having that central point for gaseous exchange. However, the semi active tracheal systems do point to avenues that are being taken here on Earth, so its not hard to imagine a fully active Tracheal Pulmonary system with a dedicated *lung* for gaseous exchange supporting quite large animals. Its not hard to envisage the evolution of a lung type organ alongside a more active Tracheal Pulmonary system in order to streamline gaseous exchange.

Of course we would still need a full *blood* circulatory system... but again, most insects have hearts, so its not hard to see how that would evolve.

My biggest meh about it to be honest, is the exoskeleton. Chitin is a wonderful substance, light and strong, but I am not convinced that it is strong enough and light enough to support something as large as a Hiver (which I envisage to be roughly human sized, depending on caste). I assume, their exoskeleton would be made of something similar... at which point there is a stage where the muscles within the exoskeleton simply cant be strong enough to support the carapace *without* serious weakening of the armour.

I almost envisage the Hivers more as an endoskeleton species with armour plates. I dont buy this dealing with Dessication and Radiation theory behind them having exoskeletons, there are better ways to deal with both. Tartigrades can deal with both dessication and high background radiation and they do not have exoskeletons. Many Arthropod species what protects them from dessication is not their exoskeleton... but several forms of wax... An armoured exoskeleton will not protect from either as there are still many points the water can escape (the tracheal tubes spring to mind!). Radiation damage, thats trickier... but imo would be more linked to more robust DNA material, and skin/pigment solutions that have evolved to deal with the extra load.

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Itharus
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Itharus » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:41 pm

Alganhar.... while I was typing, you typed exactly what I was typing (no kidding, almost word for word :shock: ). You bastard. I had to backspace my entire post and write this instead.

@exoskeletons: IMO they'd evolve to incorporate other minerals to increase their strength (happens in aquatic arthropods allllll the time). Imagine how epic they would be if somehow they evolved to say - feature a naturally formed carbon nano-tube matrix within the structure of their exoskeleton? Also, Hivers having both internal and exoskeletons is ridiculous... they wouldn't be able to move. For their design, an exoskeleton is perfect, having both would just not work.

You can't just assume a Hiver is a blown up insect, they would have had to evolve for their size. Their posture, foot design, leg design, etc would change to accommodate the extra mass. Their circulatory system would by needs grow stronger (although as mentioned, not necessarily that different in form). Let's not forget that their brains would grow more complex (by far) and be able to better sustain all of these changes as well.

Anyway... grr... Al stole my thunder so I'll stop here. But before I do, I just wanted to say that insects from a design standpoint are almost perfect :love: . God, I miss entomology sometimes.

If you'll excuse me, I have some rather chitinous books to get reacquainted with.
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Alganhar
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Alganhar » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:47 pm

:)

You misunderstand me when I said Endoskeletons with external armour.

I was thinking more like say... Armadillo... or that odd thing... which for the life of me I cant remember the damned name of... mammal, but heavily armoured. Lives in trees, eats insects and stuff... curls up in a ball... I believe its Amazonian! I am in the process of a brain fart... so really cant remember its name!

I didnt mean Endo *and* exoskeletons combined, my apologies if I came across that way.

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Formid
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Formid » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:20 pm

Erinys is on record in saying that they don't have an exoskeleton. It's an endoskeleton. The armor is purely armor. And I get the impression from the way it's described that the modern Hiver's armor is the result of pretty extensive genetic manipulation, augmentation, and engineering. And while arthropods have other adaptations to avoid dehydration...hard, smooth exoskeleton is among those adaptations. It just sometimes needs help. Furthermore, even if there are BETTER ways of doing it evident on Earth...that doesn't mean that evolution will carry them to it. Evolution is conservative and mindless. It takes the easiest available path. Better to convert something already here to a necessary purpose, even if it is somewhat less effective, as opposed to dumping epochs of the pre-adaptations necessary to create some of these strategies on them out of nothing. Which is impossible in any case.

And while we're being anal about bugs: as far as I know insects don't have dedicated oxygen carrying cells, so no blood per se. Just naked hemoglobin floating around in their hemolymph.

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Itharus
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Itharus » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:50 pm

I wasn't responding to your endoskeleton comment, Al. I thought I recalled there being a post somewhere stating that Hivers have both an exoskeleton as well as an internal skeleton. Lemme go find it...

My bad, apparently it's been updated since last I looked at it: Click here

Apparently now it's just growths on their skin. Hhm. I rather preferred the thought of an exoskeleton. Erinys, you may want to tell the art guys they need to change their drawings soon ;) .
Last edited by Itharus on Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alganhar
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Alganhar » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:52 pm

No, I think the *blood* is more about nutrient transfer rather than oxygen transfer, and even that is pretty much a diffusion thing. Also blood is useful for other things... like Immune response and clotting.

Blood does far more than simply carry oxygen :).

Nice to hear that they are an Endoskeleton species with external armour though, so more communal Armadillos than bugs. There is a mammalian equivalent in Heterocephalus glaber, the naked mole rat.

I am starting to see them more as that rather than bugs :P

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Itharus
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Re: Homeworld Ecologies

Post by Itharus » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:55 pm

The further away they move from insects, the more likely I am to play Tarka :(

I have always always always ALWAYS loved insectoid species in scifi/fantasy. Tohr/Thri'Kreen in D&D, the Arachnids of Starship Troopers, etc. It doesn't matter... I just love the bug concept. Sucks that the "bugness" is getting watered down :(.
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