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Author Topic: Why does almost every race we see look humanoid?  (Read 21719 times)
torqey
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« on: 05 04, 2009, 03:55: PM »

Besides the fact that they were all played by human actors, can anyone think of a RP reason for it? That can't be explained by real life things like actors, make up and so on?
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Kehlan
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« Reply #1 on: 05 04, 2009, 05:01: PM »

If we ignore real life issues like  makeup requirements, the answer is given in an episode of next Gen... although I can't remember what it was called.  Basically it turned out that the Terrans, Klingons, Romulans, Cardies and a few other races were all seeded thousands of years ago by a race called the Preservers.  Hence they are all basically humanoid.
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« Reply #2 on: 05 15, 2009, 12:22: PM »

Also there is mentioned in somewhere (I hope it is Star Trek as i shall be embaressed if its not lol) about the theory of parrallel development, that most species when faced with similar developmental challenges go along a similar developmental pathway. As the races are all from class M worlds with similar gravity, weather patterns and such like it is likley they come up with similar developmental states.

If any one else remebers this then i would be really grateful if they would point out where abouts its from lol.
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torqey
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« Reply #3 on: 05 15, 2009, 03:39: PM »

Ah...the Perservers, whoever they are. I know some races weren't though, because there was that one episode of Voyager where that one race (I don't remember what it was called) found that they had lived on Earth and had evolved from dinosaurs.
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« Reply #4 on: 05 26, 2009, 09:44: AM »

Quote
K’Voth   ...Also there is mentioned in somewhere (I hope it is Star Trek as i shall be embaressed if its not lol) about the theory of parrallel development, that most species when faced with similar developmental challenges go along a similar developmental pathway.

I believe the one is thinking of "Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Development". Spock uses it to explain away an ersatz version of Earth’s Ancient Rome-via-Hollywood and fails miserably in the TOS episode “Bread and Circuses”. The Preservers were first invoked in the TOS episode “The Paradise Syndrome,” with similar results. (According to my father, no one bought it then, either.)

-=- Kesvirit
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« Reply #5 on: 05 30, 2009, 03:11: PM »

That is indeed the one i belive i was referencing. However i think it was from one of the later books that i was quoting it from, its mentioned in passing.
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« Reply #6 on: 07 27, 2009, 07:21: AM »

     Hmm. I thought I responded to this earlier, but it looks like I failed to.  The Episode Kahlen is refering to is TNG: The Chase.  And the Unnamed Humanoids for which the word 'ancient' is no whree near adequate, presented  therein may be (but most likely not) the same "Preservers" mentioned in TOS.  Their methods are quite different.  The Preservers preserved existing societies, transplanting intelligent and/or proto-intelligent organisms from one place to another.

     The ancient hominids in TNG seeded the oceans of planets with potential with genetic material likely to result in intelligent bipedal organisms.   Many popular timelines place this near the beginning of Earth's existence 4 to 4.5 Billion years ago.  Personally, I use this in my universe to explain the Cambrian Explosion (only 530 Million years ago)...  Though really, if it were to contain genetic material destined to be intelligent bipeds it would have to be much later...  At the very least at the Devonian Tetrapod stage, more likely though the raise of mammals or the Primates...   Though that is with an understanding of Biology otherwise not present in the Star Trek universe.

« Last Edit: 07 28, 2009, 03:09: AM by Klythe » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: 03 03, 2010, 01:00: AM »

Not sure what "RP" means so hopefully I don't run offtopic.  It could well be that the human model is the most fit body type, and thus the one most likely to develop intelligence.  We do know it worked once after all.  We can also look around earth at things that are by any measure really smart, but which few if any would consider sentient.  Octopi, elephants, wolves, whales, and so on and so forth all rank pretty high up there as far as intelligence goes based on our experience, but none of them really seem to get over the hump between being very smart and being self aware.  If you look at the three species that seem to be at the top of earth's intelligence curve (modern humans, Neanderthals, Flores "hobbits") they were all humanoid. 
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« Reply #8 on: 03 03, 2010, 05:28: AM »

    RP stands for roleplaying, though what torqey is asking is if there is an in-universe explanation independent of real world considerations such as lack of intelligent non-humanoid actors.  And we have been given three good in-universe reasons, the preservers, who transplanted and reseeded humanoid life onto other planets that could support it, the protohumanoid aliens form "The Chase" which seeded "genetic material" and "Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Development", which I interpret more as a convergent cultural evolution.  

    But I like the idea that you are taking this from the in-universe perspective to a more naturalistic perspective.  

    A bit of nitpicking with your terminology.  Sentient while often used to mean intellectually equivalent to a Human, before (mis)used in Star Trek and other TV shows, meant "feeling", and this fact is being exploited by some animal rights activist groups to claim many animals are sentient because they are capable of feeling pain.  To avoid ambiguity I perfer to use sapient (as in Homo Sapiens) to refer to beings of near human intelligence or greater.  

    That being explained, I've made a point of studying animal intelligence and there are many things that would surprise you as far as how intelligent some species are.  Even with independent scrutiny, one African Grey parrot named Alex was able to do arithmetic with numbers as high as 9.   I find there is rather compelling evidence that some species of dolphins and perhaps other cetaceans may very well meet many of the standards of human intelligence, particularly the test I defined in pu' vs. mey where we argued about what constitutes a language and how can you know if a species uses a language even if you don't understand them.  

   You make a mistake in assuming there is one body shape that is most fit for any environment.  I know of several people who think the ultimate form of evolution would be a centaur body shape.  With four feet and two hands, you would have the best of both. The problem with popular cultural understanding of Biology is that it takes "survival of the fittest" out of context.  The fittest life form is only fit in relationship to their environment, and environments shift, sometimes gradually, sometimes radically over a short peroid.  There are some species whose environment hasn't changed in millions of years, and neither have they.  Other species their environment is constantly changing so they are constantly evolving.  After all if the common cold was not constantly in an evolutionary arms race with our immune system, we'd eventually have overcome and evolved immunity to it.  

   Though, If we think about it, there are certain commonalities we could come up with that all intelligent beings would have to overcome to have developed intelligence as a response. 
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« Reply #9 on: 03 04, 2010, 01:01: AM »

In addition to the a species being sentient or sapient there is also the issue of glial mass at birth to think of, One of the resons for Human "Dominance" is that our glial mass is not hardended at birth, meaning that a lot of what we know and our behaviour is governed by tuition and experience early in life and through other such learning; rather then experience and instinct passed from the developmental stage in utero.

Humanoids are considered to be bi latera. As "left and right sides that are approximate mirror images of each other" Whilst this doesn't explain why all Species appear to follow the Human type it does add some other points. Such as with horse/humanoid hybrids it calls into question Bloodpressure and distribution and such like. With a horse type body it asks the question of evolution of a need to two arms and four legs (Assuming that in such a hybrid how would be a humanoid stereotype upperbody) and how such a skeletal structure would be supported. With a large rib cage to support a large enough heart to supply bloody not just to the brain but to the hind legs the upperbody weight would be immensely heavy. Added to the kink that would be required in the spine, how would such a thing be supported and still be strong and transmit the appropriate nerve signals along the Spinal Nerve. Also would there be any lag with in the Autonomous central Nervous system and endocrine system. Although such a body type would allow for enormous Organs depending on where the lungs were placed.

I realise i haven't answered a question so much as asked more but This thread just kind of intrigued me. I mean with what we have guessed about evolution about survival of the fittest and the best evolutionary fit being the thing that is carried over, but evolutionary hold overs can exist. Such as If a human or Klingon for that matter had wings, to support its own weight and achieve lift in a standard Gravity atmosphere would be immense, and the associated musculature and skeletal structure would not result in a humanoid looking very stereotypical at all. However if flight was evolved out of necessity but the wings stayed as a hold over like male fingernails and nipples. Then what would the resultant species look like.

An absolute guess as to why we don't see non humanoids in star trek is that it is difficult for them with their specific needs to integrate with a humanoid crew. In star trek titan there is the experiment of integrating those with differing environmental needs such as a selkie and a species that is a distributed gas based intelligence. This causes difficulties in environmental control, crew planning and other such things.
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Captain K'Voth
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