New Alien Species
by Lee Masterson
Our human culture and physiology arose from our planet of
origin's ecology. Our basic survival instincts were
formed according to the surroundings into which we were
raised. Our speech patterns also evolved according to the
region into which we were born.
Why then, would a writer assume that an alien being, who
looks different to the humans around him, would still
walk and talk and think the same way, if he was raised in
extremely different circumstances.
Think about the climactic conditions you've decided to
give your aliens to evolve. Let's guess what would happen
to a humanoid creature who might have evolved on any
given planet type.
An alien who evolved on a planet with very
heavy gravity is going to be short and stocky. The centre
of gravity for a being here would need to be very low.
Two legs would also not be very efficient for someone
living there. Imagine the strain on the back and neck for
this creature! Four, six or even eight legs would make
travel easier on a planet like this. A centipede would
have no problems. Housing probably wouldn't have a roof
over four walls like we have. Gravity would bring it
crashing down on their heads! Rain would be like getting
hit with golf balls.
A planet with almost no light would mean eyes become
almost redundant. The other senses would be either finely
honed, or the eyes would alter to suit the limited light
Of course, with very little light, this should also mean
very little natural heat, so your alien race would need
to evolve to protect against the cold as well.
A cold planet would see hairier humanoids trying to keep
warm with body-fur. Fairer skin (fur) and eyes would also
become more common.
A planet with too much sunlight would result in human
skin creating more and more melanin, giving much darker
skin tones and hair/eye color.
A water planet should see humanoids evolving away from
upright walking positions and into swimming or
water-breathing type creatures over the centuries.
A very low gravity world would probably be a great place
to evolve into something with very filmy, floaty
tentacles or tendrils. Hair would be a great problem if
it's constantly floating around your face all the time,
so I'm guessing hair would be phased out over
generations. Creatures here would be very tall and
slender. Many creatures would be able to fly or glide
comfortably in low gravity.
They'd really have a hard time invading Earth though.
How about gaseous planets? How would a humanoid develop
there? With not much to walk on and nothing really stable
around them, would they become essence-of-human? Would
they be largely gaseous beings, floating around in the
ether? They sure wouldn't need legs.
Unfortunately, they probably wouldn't evolve with a solid
bone casing for a skull. What would protect the exposed
brain from predators? Would they have a brain in the
sense that we know it?
Beasts & Bugs
We've been focusing mainly on just humanoid creatures.
What about considering what kind of native animals would
have evolved to survive and hunt in those conditions?
They wouldn't be anything like the creatures we know on
good old Earth.
You wouldn't find too many flying predators or birds on a
heavy gravity world Flying insects would also be rare,
which means you'd be likely to find low-slung,
many-legged crawlies getting around instead.
Birds probably wouldn't evolve well on a water world
either, where land is scarce. The poor birds would be
flying for days before finding somewhere to land. Of
course, you could base your colonies of birds near to
small islands, but what would you need to create to be
the next predator up the food chain to keep populations
Low gravity worlds could have lots of flying or gliding
insects, bugs, creatures etc. Imagine a centipede in
really low gravity. It would almost be able to walk
upright! Where's the need to keep evolving with hundreds
of pairs of legs?
Would heavily furred mammals like the ones we know
survive in harsh desert conditions? Would their fur
eventually phase out over generations, giving them more
ample means of cooling off?
Reptiles would love to be able to bask in the sun most of
As with the humanoids, would the insects also become
essence-of-bug, cute little wisps floating around the
What about the history of your alien race?
If they've been at war for two centuries without any
peace-time, then they probably wouldn't have created a
solid family unit in the sense that we perceive family.
Nor would they have had time to create works of art or
just pretty things. They'd get bombed!
If your alien society evolved on a desert planet, then
much of the industry would occur at night and they'd
sleep through the day. Water would become a precious
Communication is a factor too. On a water world, an alien
won't be able to talk the way we do, by drawing in air
then expelling it in a series of sounds via the vocal
systems would be completely different, depending on
whether your aliens lived in segmented clans or in larger
As with any world creation, the only real limitations are
your imagination. If you can imagine it, you can probably
create a logical-sounding background for your alients
Let your imagination loose and see what new species you
Copyright Lee Masterson. All Rights Reserved.
Lee Masterson is a freelance writer from
South Australia. She is also the editor-in-chief and
publisher of Fiction Factor
(http://www.fictionfactor.com) - an online magazine for
writers offering articles on improving your writing,
honing your writing skills, writing your novel, free
ebook downloads and much, much more. In what little spare
time she has, Lee also writes horror, sci-fi and dark