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[Member Project] Skatha: Sapients and other fauna; XENOBIOLOGY
Topic Started: Dec 20 2011, 12:12 AM (24,110 Views)
Mike
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Glad to see you've decided to join us! I patiently await further information on the gapuri, which by the way, I'm very interested as to how it's properly pronounced. You say the g is like a click towards the back of the throat, are you talking about a legitimate click consonant or an ejective, perhaps even an implosive? Non-linguists tend to use the term click to refer to any of these. A click is when you pull your tongue away from the roof of your mouth to make a clicking noise. An ejective is when you force air out using your glottis rather than your lungs or tongue, so it sounds sort of like saying a normal consonant but really fast. An implosive is when you breathe in instead of out, some people think it sounds like gagging. Do any of these seem to be what you're talking about?
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Mike
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Amoeboid
Dec 20 2011, 02:53 PM
They use a combination of their throat muscles and back of the tongue to create the "g" sound in "Gapuri." The constrict the top of their throats, sealing off the esophagus and trachea, and push their tongue back to create a bubble, which they pop loudly when they move their tongue down and forward while raising the back of their tongue, this moves the bubble forward. This expels the sound forward out of the mouth rather than backwards into the throat.

Bubbles are used somewhat frequently to create different types of sounds. Their language is not made up entirely of sounds they make with their vocal cords, they also use jaw clacking, tongue clicking, and gusts of air to create whistle noises.
Ahh, I thought you were talking about something a human could pronounce, like an approximation used by the colonists. Going on what you said, the closest approximation I can think of is a lingual egressive, a sound found in no natural language, so you get extra points for being xenocentric. Do you have the whole language sorted out? Like phonemes, morphemes, vocabulary, graphemes, syntax, morphology, and all that? I'd love to see what you have so far.
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Mike
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There's quite some contention regarding the topic of hydraulic/hydrostatic/askeletal locomotory limbs. I'd say hydraulics in conjunction with cartilage would seem to rectify all problems, though I'm still a bit iffy. I forget, and can't seem to find any information regarding, Skatha's gravity. If it's significantly lower than earth's and/or has a thick atmosphere, then this should be fine, though keep in mind it's all very iffy.
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Amoeboid
Dec 25 2011, 09:05 PM
I have always found the idea of male and female somewhat inefficient when it comes to making more of yourself. Since in the long run our main purpose in life (evolutionarily at least) is to reproduce and have your genes carried on to the next generation. In a species where there is only one gender and through one mating episode bother partners would become pregnant, that would double the rate of reproduction and give the parents two chances to raise at least one offspring. It just raises the odds of your genes being carried on.
The presence of multiple genders lowers the likelihood of inbreeding, so less children will be born with recessive illnesses and increase genetic variety. I think multiple genders is more important for k strategists, where they have less children at a time and the children mature slowly so it's more important to assure they don't die before they have the opportunity to mate, as opposed to r strategists that just shoot out a million babies and couldn't care if half of them have a heart condition that will kill them by 12. But that isn't to say it's impossible for there to be a hermaphroditic sapient, in fact I have one or two, I'm just pointing out the advantage to having multiple genders.

The clothing looks nice, but I also have a question regarding that; it looks like it's only purpose is decoration, it doesn't look like it would insulate well. I'd imagine this would be important for the gapuri, as they don't look like they have any natural insulation by way of hair or feathers or even excess blubber, so I'd imagine there'd be some demand for decoration that also serves to keep warm. Or do they have excess blubber, it's just that the individuals we have seen have been unusually thin, as in the case of the dancer? It'd be interesting to have a society in which excess blubber is considered attractive, rather than people complaining about diets, they complain about the vast amounts they must eat in order to maintain their figure.
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Mike
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Great work as usual! I've always hated the fact that we can choke, so in most of my organisms the threat isn't present either. However, I did make the jowa so that they can only breathe through their mouth, so they have to be even more careful when eating than us. I find it's fun putting gigantic flaws in your beings, it adds a sense of awareness in the fact that it's a living alien being which followed different pathways than us. I wonder what common problems we're immune to due to our own unique pathway, perhaps we've bypassed something major that we just assume other beings won't have trouble with.
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Dragonborn
Jan 1 2012, 01:22 PM
There are a few problems bypassed by our unique pathway, mainly extra defense from respiratory diseases (which is why the animals in my xenobiology project have a similar pathway to ours). If we get a cold, our nose is generally clogged; that's okay, since we can breathe through our mouth. With a system like with the Gapuri's, however, they're probably in great danger from respiratory diseases, since their only airway would be clogged in the event of them contracting such a disease. That, of course, is assuming that their airway has a similar way of getting rid of dirt and micro-organisms (I.E, mucus). With this in mind, would you prefer the occasional risk of choking, or having your life get threatened by the side affect of a cold?
Well yeah, but the whole mucus/inflammation thing was developed as an evolutionary response, it's not the cold itself that forces the production of mucus, it's the human's response to any respiratory pathogen, as it allows the pathogens to get caught in the mucus and drip into the stomach and hopefully get digested. Any that falls into the larynx can be coughed up to ensure it falls into the pharynx. Long story short, if our respiratory system was disconnected from our digestive system, then we wouldn't have such a response, as there would be no point to secreting the mucus, as it could only fall into the lung(s) and not the stomach. So the cold wouldn't make it harder to breathe, though the lack of such a response would allow for more pathogens to attack your body at once, meaning all the other symptoms would be more noticeable. So I guess it's still pretty bad, but this is one of those things I was talking about, where we may be more advanced than aliens, though we may not seem like it because we're perpetually leaking fluids.
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Mike
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But the common cold doesn't cause mucus buildup, humans do. The gapuri, if lacking a connection between the pharynx and larynx, would simply not have developed to mucusoidal response (so they simply wouldn't secrete an excess of mucus, or perhaps no mucus at all), but if you wish to change it then that's fine.

As for whether they'd be effected by our cold, or whether we'd be effected by theirs, I personally think it's not probable. We're not effected by plant viruses or even worm viruses, an alien virus would have to go through radical changes to effect us, likely irreducibly complex changes due to the lacking of proper evolutionary continuity traditionally given by evolving side-by-side with an organism.

Alien bacteria on the other hand might pose a threat, but even then, our immune system should be able to take care of them as easily as any unfamiliar pathogen. There are some nasty bacteria that use a variety of tactics to bypass our immune systems, but these bypasses will be specific to the gapuri and hence probably won't effect us and vice-versa. There might be one or two diseases that effect us badly, but I certainly wouldn't expect a whole war of the worlds deathapalooza. Also, we have vaccines, so I'd assume anywhere between 1 to 5 years of contact we should have an adequate understanding for the local diseases and how to treat them.
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Mike
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I'm having trouble conceptualizing the spiral heart idea. It sounds like a perpetual motion machine, as it moves things without itself moving. Do you have a diagram or a specific example of any earth biology/technology that employs a similar technique? I tried searching up fountain pipes, but got nothing.

And the idea of a backup nervous system sounds really intriguing and very plausible. I'd imagine that as the brain began growing the abstraction-generating bits (excuse my lack of scientific register), the necessary vascularization would go through the roof, increasing the threat of aneurisms and whatnot, so the complex brain becomes independent from the primal brain so as to allow the being to continue living in case the complex brain becomes compromised, though only on instinct. It'd be like becoming a zombie. The process probably wouldn't be reversible though, so it'd probably be even more sad than if they were to just die. It'd be like having a ghost walk around your house, reminding you every day that your loved one is gone, their corporeal presence giving you false hope for return through the echoes of what once was, but what you know will never fully be again.

Sorry for getting off-topic, amoeboid. I guess I'll try to tie things together by asking you what the gapuri nervous and respiratory/cardiovascular systems are like.
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Mike
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Spugpow
Feb 26 2012, 12:29 AM
Hmm, who's to say the Gapuri would even have pronouns?
Pronouns are universal in human languages, though certain languages, such as Japanese, are known for dropping them like crazy, so it's not entirely implausible for there to be a few pronoun-lacking languages, but it's still more likely to have them.

That being said, I'd like to know more about gapuri pronouns. You equate them to "he/she" and "him/her", which english traditionally treats as a distinction between subject and object. There are however a lot of other distinctions you can make, but more importantly, there are many ways you can use them. So, for example, if I'm using a preposition, will I say "on he/she" or "on him/her"? Or is there a separate case for prepositions? When I make an intransitive clause (a verb with one noun attached), would I say "he/she sleeps" or "sleeps him/her", or perhaps even "sleep to him/her" or "sleep to he/she"? And ditransitives (where there's three nouns), if I wanted to say "I gave him/her to him/her", would I say "I gave him/her to him/her", "I gave he/she him/her", or "I gave him/her he/she", et cetera? Furthermore, do the gapuri have a reflexive pronoun (himself/herself)?

I'm craving a phoneme inventory, as well as a general overview of syntax.
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Mike
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Slavic languages lack "to be". English also uses "to do" in a superfluous way too. For example "I didn't do that", as opposed to "I not did that". "do" is also often used almost as a pronoun for verbs. So for example, If someone asked "who wants cupcakes?" I could say "I do", "do" acting as a pro-verb for the antecedent "want". If you want to see some crazy stuff, learn Russian, there are so many clauses that would be treated the same in english but differently in russian. For example, "have" is not a verb, to say "I have a cat" you say "by me there is a cat". To say "I need a cat" you say "to me needy cat". To say "I like cats" You say "To me please(themselves) cats". There are so many arbitrary rules you have to learn, it will tear away any shred of linguistic conservatism you have left in your being.
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Amoeboid
Feb 26 2012, 01:28 PM
I will need to do some more research on languages before I can really create my own.

(self-advertisement incoming) this might help

With regards to what you have so far, the language seems to be VSO, which is nice and alien. I noticed you make a subject/object distinction with they/them, but with nothing else. Is there a reason for that, or was it arbitrarily chosen to give a sense of random linguistic degeneration that had led case distinctions in all pronouns but one to disappear? You say "I/me" would be best translated as "me", but I and me are the same except for in grammatical function, so in a language that makes no such differentiation, why would any one be more appropriate than the other? Is it perhaps that the gapuri have a tendency to drop the subject, so the accusative form is more common? This would make sense considering the presence of subject-agreeing conjugation. Or is it more of a social thing, the connotations it holds, such as how many consider "me" to be a more degrading form of "I". I also noticed they all start with j. Does the language inflect with prefixes? If not, then they'd have trouble distinguishing the pronouns. Or rather, they wouldn't have trouble, but laziness would cause differentiation over time. But then again, the J may be acting as part of some digraph and so although it looks like all Js to us, it really isn't. You said earlier at some point that the Ga in gapuri is a digraph, correct? I'm assuming this whole language is thus transliterated like a syllabary, in which case you've got quite a bit of work ahead of you making all the different phonemes/graphemes/romanizations.
Edited by Mike, Feb 26 2012, 02:20 PM.
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Mike
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Hemocyanins are less efficient than hemoglobins on earth, but in differing circumstances they can be more advantageous.

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(damn that alpha channel)

As you can see, at lower oxygen concentration, hemocyanins are better than hemoglobins. So actually, a higher oxygen concentration works against you here. Hemerythrin is just about the least efficient thing possible. That being said, it has the advantage of not irreversibly binding to carbon monoxide, so if skatha's bathed in carbon monoxide, hemerythrin would be the way to go.

The graph also shows coboglobins, which have been made artificially, but aren't found in anything living, which makes sense seeing how rare cobalt is. Keeping in mind that I know nothing about stellar evolution, wikipedia says you can get a lot of cobalt from supernovas or something, so maybe if there are different conditions with regards to planetary development, then this might be possible, but I don't know. Additionally, it's only very efficient at 15 degrees celsius, which brings me on to the next thing to consider: temperature

Well, there's supposed to be another graph here showing how hemocyanin is better than hemoglobin at temperatures around 10 degrees celsius, but I've searched for the graph for the past 45 minutes and couldn't find it. I can find multiple references to the fact that hemocyanin works better at colder temperatures, but there doesn't seem to be any testament to the exact temperature of 10 degrees except my memory. Not sure how trustworthy that is.

also, this article claims that certain types of hermit crab hemocyanins are immune to temperature-based denaturing, which seems suspicious to me, but is interesting nonetheless

Also, ph kind of effects stuff, but that's regulated internally and so doesn't matter very much.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and then there's erythrocruorin, which is basically a bunch of hemoglobins intertwined with a bunch of chlorocruorins to make super-awesome amazing blood. That being said, it's still red, so it's not all that exciting from an aesthetic standpoint.
Edited by Mike, Mar 16 2012, 10:00 PM.
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Mike
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it would function better, yes, but only in relation to itself, and not hemoglobin. One must remember that organisms adapt to their environments, not the other way around, therefore when trying to design an environment conducive to a trait, the question shouldn't be "in which environment does it perform at a personal best?", but rather "in which environment does it beat everything else?". So, while hemocyanin works better at higher oxygen concentration, hemoglobin works even better than hemocyanin, and thus the competition is too great and hemoglobin will prevail. On the other hand, hemocyanin wins at lower concentration.

The one in fragment is a made-up variety of hemocyanin. There are many hemocyanins, the book makes the assumption that there's one we haven't discovered yet which is magically superior to everything on the planet. Not to say that's impossible, in fact it's an acceptable form of hand-waving imo, but no, it shouldn't be taken as accurate when talking serious biology.
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So, do you have any skeletal diagrams going? I'm a bit confused as to whether their forearms are jointed, spinelike, or hydrostats. Do their skeletons feature any idiosyncratic traits? where are the muscles anchored? I love the idea of an entire arm functioning as a gecko toe, though I'm not sure how that would effect culture and behavior. So, for example, actual gecko toes are self-cleaning, though they need backwards-facing joints on their metatarsals to allow themselves to release whenever they don't want to stick to something. Because of this, like, if you stuck something to the gapuri's underside of its arm, wouldn't it just stick there until it bent its arm backwards or in such a way to stretch the scales and force release? would there be any chemicals that damage their scales?
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