Xenomorph evolutionary pressures

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Post by avatarxprime » 2008-06-20 02:17am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
Vendetta wrote:
Alyrium Denryle wrote:Sources for that? Because frankly I dont think it possible to build them from the ground up. Modifying an existing organism yes, but from the ground up, no. Hell when you create a bio weapon, you want it to be as host-specific as possible. You dont want it escaping from your primary target and hitting un-intended areas or getting loose in your own territory. So you would not ever, if you were sane design some generalist parasite that has defense mechanisms up the wazoo, a genetic memory, and the ability to incorporate host DNA to give itself interesting new traits. Hell: Fucking: No
Ridley Scott's director commentary on the Alien DVD. Hence Word Of God, not actually canon, but the intent of the director.
may have been the intent of the director, but it is not plausible in-canon. Anchorpoint Essays be damned. This guys conclusions are... in some cases genius, in others rather special.
There is room for contention here, Scott's commentary says the Space Jockey derelict in Alien is a bomber that dropped facehuggers hence they created them as a weapon. The aliens are supposed to be biomechanical in nature (similar to the Space Jockey tech) and everything came from there (acid blood because they are living batteries, etc). Other Aliens material states that the Xenos have infested Space Jockey worlds and they are currently at war with them so that's pointing at someone else created them. Regardless, it might be beyond anything we can think of but that doesn't mean it can't be, especially when that universe's creator says "This is the way it is."

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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-06-20 02:46am

There is room for contention here, Scott's commentary says the Space Jockey derelict in Alien is a bomber that dropped facehuggers hence they created them as a weapon.
Or they harnessed a pre-existing creature, or even modified an existing one. Makes a hell of a lot more sense. Do you have flat out quotes from the creator that they were deliberately engineered? Are we going to ignore SoD? Either way, I am going to have to watch the commentary
The aliens are supposed to be biomechanical in nature (similar to the Space Jockey tech) and everything came from there (acid blood because they are living batteries, etc).
Evidence of their biomechanical nature? Because I have seen non in-universe evidence for this. And No, you dont get to circularly appeal to the Anchorpoint essays. Particularly because his knowledge of biology is... flawed. Lots of non-sequiteurs and bad pre and post dictions.

Speaking of non-sequiteurs, just because a eusocial predator has infested a world does not mean that they were engineered. By that logic, fire ants were created by Campanotus.
Regardless, it might be beyond anything we can think of but that doesn't mean it can't be, especially when that universe's creator says "This is the way it is."
Appeal to ignorance and special pleading.
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Post by avatarxprime » 2008-06-20 03:27am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
There is room for contention here, Scott's commentary says the Space Jockey derelict in Alien is a bomber that dropped facehuggers hence they created them as a weapon.
Or they harnessed a pre-existing creature, or even modified an existing one. Makes a hell of a lot more sense. Do you have flat out quotes from the creator that they were deliberately engineered? Are we going to ignore SoD? Either way, I am going to have to watch the commentary
They have been purposefully vague on the true origin of the Xenomorphs so I can't give you anything one way of the other. Neither can you for that matter. Unfortunately I don't have the DVD on me, but from what I can recall, Ridley said they were a biogenic weapon used by the Space Jockeys.
The aliens are supposed to be biomechanical in nature (similar to the Space Jockey tech) and everything came from there (acid blood because they are living batteries, etc).
Evidence of their biomechanical nature? Because I have seen non in-universe evidence for this. And No, you dont get to circularly appeal to the Anchorpoint essays. Particularly because his knowledge of biology is... flawed. Lots of non-sequiteurs and bad pre and post dictions.
Xenomorphs are termed "biomechanical" because of Giger, the designer of the aliens, who coined the word for the style he used in creating them. I have no need to point out the Anchorpoint essays for this. As far as in-universe goes we don't have much information on Xenos and their origins on the whole, this is all based on what information we have been able to gleam from the creators' dialogue and the movies.

As far as Space Jockeys being referenced as biomechanical, that comes from a comic book that calls them the biomechanoids.
Regardless, it might be beyond anything we can think of but that doesn't mean it can't be, especially when that universe's creator says "This is the way it is."
Appeal to ignorance and special pleading.
How, you're the one saying that creating the Xenomorphs is not plausible, you have any proof for that?

I'm saying it's a fictional world involving aliens we know next to nothing about. Instead of you saying "No, can't be" I'm saying it's possible since the creator of the universe (one of them at least) said that this is my interpretation of it, this is how I always saw it. Since it's his universe he gets to make such declarations and it's up to the rest of us to make sense of it. If there are contradictory statements (what I was bringing up in my first post) then it remains unknown until we have more information.

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Post by Rye » 2008-06-20 05:52am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
In fact, an ecology of creatures that were naturally resistant to acidic levels would necessitate an extremely volatile acid to be effective.
Acids tend to be very very interesting for organic compounds. Life would not have originated on a planet with such conditions.
How do you know that? Strong acidity wouldn't be required at abiogenesis to eventually evolve, and it's not even certain that they're totally carbon based.
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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-06-20 01:36pm

How do you know that? Strong acidity wouldn't be required at abiogenesis to eventually evolve, and it's not even certain that they're totally carbon based.
Considering that there is no feasible alternative, yes, yes we are. Silicon based life does not actually work. It does not form the equivalent of carbon chains, it has such a strong acidity with oxygen that it loves to form crystal lattices.

As for the evolution of that particular ability, you show me a possible way for organic compounds to be shielded against say... Hydroflouric acid (because their acid makes hydroflouric acid look like soothing rainwater) and we talk.

As it stands, the chances of that stuff being anything but a scary enzyme cocktail are low. No where have they ever actually run chemical tests on the composition that we see on screen.

There are a couple alternatives and that is that they use some sort of deposit (as opposed to having their biochemistry based upon) of silicon compounds to shield their other systems, and this stuff is not blood, but something else. SOmething akin to the Lymph fluid found in your body. Again they never go into the anatomy on screen.

Either one of those is more reasonable than your hypothesis.
They have been purposefully vague on the true origin of the Xenomorphs so I can't give you anything one way of the other. Neither can you for that matter. Unfortunately I don't have the DVD on me, but from what I can recall, Ridley said they were a biogenic weapon used by the Space Jockeys.
"The ship is essentially an aircraft carrier, a battlewagon: in which the eggs are cargo which were essentially weapons, like a sort of bacterial (some word I can identify) a mass form of biomechanoid warfare."

Biomechanoid is probably referring to the mode of warfare. But that is up for interpretation. Could also be referring the Jockeys, one of which seemed to be grafted to his chair.

And just because you use a bio weapon does not mean you made the bio weapon. We used Smallpox against the native americans, but we did not engineer it.
Xenomorphs are termed "biomechanical" because of Giger, the designer of the aliens, who coined the word for the style he used in creating them. I have no need to point out the Anchorpoint essays for this.
That is an artistic style. Not an origins hypothesis.
As far as Space Jockeys being referenced as biomechanical, that comes from a comic book that calls them the biomechanoids.
Which could also mean they are very interesting equivalents of transhumanists.

How, you're the one saying that creating the Xenomorphs is not plausible, you have any proof for that?
simply biological implausibility. What you are doing is basically like invoking ID (granted my hatred for ID is probably biasing my conclusions) my position is from my reading, consistent with the statements of the series creators, and is more plausible based on the biology.
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Post by Galvatron » 2008-06-20 02:51pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote:Newt never was impregnated, her body was clean in Alien 3. However a neurotixin is required to keep the hosts quiet at pretty much all stages of implantation, from capture through to chest-burst.
Read the script. It was Newt. The queen embryo exited her dead body and entered Ripley by the mouth after the EEV crashed. Stupid, sure. But that's Alien 3.

Moreover, Ripley's tube wasn't even broken until after the fire started.

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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-06-20 03:18pm

Galvatron wrote:
Alyrium Denryle wrote:Newt never was impregnated, her body was clean in Alien 3. However a neurotixin is required to keep the hosts quiet at pretty much all stages of implantation, from capture through to chest-burst.
Read the script. It was Newt. The queen embryo exited her dead body and entered Ripley by the mouth after the EEV crashed. Stupid, sure. But that's Alien 3.

Moreover, Ripley's tube wasn't even broken until after the fire started.
...huh... I stand corrected
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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-06-20 03:30pm

Ghetto Edit: What is the canon policy for the series? I ask because scripts might not be canon
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Post by DPDarkPrimus » 2008-06-20 05:50pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote: As for the evolution of that particular ability, you show me a possible way for organic compounds to be shielded against say... Hydroflouric acid (because their acid makes hydroflouric acid look like soothing rainwater) and we talk.
What sort of acid the blood is is speculation as well. So don't say "it's hydrofluoric acid, therefore it can't be a carbon-based lifeform".
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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-06-20 08:09pm

DPDarkPrimus wrote:
Alyrium Denryle wrote: As for the evolution of that particular ability, you show me a possible way for organic compounds to be shielded against say... Hydroflouric acid (because their acid makes hydroflouric acid look like soothing rainwater) and we talk.
What sort of acid the blood is is speculation as well. So don't say "it's hydrofluoric acid, therefore it can't be a carbon-based lifeform".
You either did not understand, or were deliberately misrepresenting me, because I specifically said that chemically they HAVE to be carbon based. There is no other option that could ever work.

The acidity of the acid is not so much based on what the conjugate base is, but how protic the acid is. How likely the acid is to give up its H+ ion in solution, or, in organic reactions, how likely it is to loose a proton to nucleophilic attack. HF is one of the strongest non-organic acids in existence and IT is not nearly as nasty as the stuff that comes out of a xenomorph.

It was claimed, not by me, that it is possible that the xenomorphs predators or prey are resistant to highly acidic conditions in the environment, and I refuted the statement. The only way for the xenomorph to actually carry (true) acid in its bodily fluids is if it uses some sort of non-organic compound to shield its living tissue. And the acid could not be its blood. It would have to be lymphatic fluid or some analogue. Imagine having an acid-resistant silica based biofilm surrounding the inside of reservoirs of whatever this fluid is, if it is actually an acid. If it is not an acid, but is an enzyme cocktail of doom (nothing in the films to refute that save the verbal statements of people who wouldn't know an acid from an enzyme cocktail) then this would not be required.

The point stands though, the laws of chemistry are against non-organic life.
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Post by Galvatron » 2008-06-20 08:39pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote:Ghetto Edit: What is the canon policy for the series? I ask because scripts might not be canon
As far as I know, there is no canon policy. However, the sequence of events as shown in the movie rule out Ripley as the person who gets facehuggered anyway.

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Post by avatarxprime » 2008-06-20 09:11pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
They have been purposefully vague on the true origin of the Xenomorphs so I can't give you anything one way of the other. Neither can you for that matter. Unfortunately I don't have the DVD on me, but from what I can recall, Ridley said they were a biogenic weapon used by the Space Jockeys.
"The ship is essentially an aircraft carrier, a battlewagon: in which the eggs are cargo which were essentially weapons, like a sort of bacterial (some word I can identify) a mass form of biomechanoid warfare."

Biomechanoid is probably referring to the mode of warfare. But that is up for interpretation. Could also be referring the Jockeys, one of which seemed to be grafted to his chair.
I would direct you here. It's an analysis of "Giger's Alien," work he put on in regards to creating Alien. The Derelict and Space Jockey are referred to as biomechanical, unfortunately the individual behind the site only give images and then his own summaries rather than posting Giger's words directly. Also you can see how similar in appearance the insides of the Derelict are to the construction of the xenomorphs themselves.
And just because you use a bio weapon does not mean you made the bio weapon. We used Smallpox against the native americans, but we did not engineer it.
Agreed. However there is some talk in the comics and novels of them being engineered, biologically modified, or just straight up natural. I'm merely pointing out that we don't really know which one is right yet.
Xenomorphs are termed "biomechanical" because of Giger, the designer of the aliens, who coined the word for the style he used in creating them. I have no need to point out the Anchorpoint essays for this.
That is an artistic style. Not an origins hypothesis.
In "Giger's Alien" use of the term "biomechanical" seems to refer to the creatures themselves rather than a descriptive term regarding the art style used in their creation. In "Alien Evolution: Aliens" James Cameron refers to the Queen's support structure on her ovipositor as a "biomechanical throne." Unfotrunately, I just have the stand alone quote and not the source document itself for more context. It would seem though that even if it started out as a reference to the art style, the term has become a description of the creatures themselves.

As far as Space Jockeys being referenced as biomechanical, that comes from a comic book that calls them the biomechanoids.
Which could also mean they are very interesting equivalents of transhumanists.
Possibly, but we don't have enough information to know for sure.
How, you're the one saying that creating the Xenomorphs is not plausible, you have any proof for that?
simply biological implausibility. What you are doing is basically like invoking ID (granted my hatred for ID is probably biasing my conclusions) my position is from my reading, consistent with the statements of the series creators, and is more plausible based on the biology.
This is more a case of "sufficiently advanced technology" than something like ID. Different directors, writers, and artists have all had different interpretations of the xenomorphs. You are simply closing down the possiblity of them being artificially constructed organisms when we know next to nothing about their origins or the abilities of other alien life in the Aliens universe.

Also, I direct you here, a website (admittedly old and brought back through the Internet Archive as the individual behind it no longer cares to update it) that works only from the Dark Horse comics concerning Aliens and the information they provide. Unfortunately they don't bother sourcing their work, considering "it all came from the comics" good enough. Here is there main site should you want to check their quality of work against other more widely known comics.

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Post by Swindle1984 » 2008-06-21 07:53pm

Didn't the xeno in Alien kill the blonde chick with its stinger?
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Post by Rye » 2008-06-22 01:25pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote: Considering that there is no feasible alternative, yes, yes we are. Silicon based life does not actually work.
I said "not totally", implying they definitely had some organic origin, as the facehuggers have polysaccharide shells according to Ash.
There are a couple alternatives and that is that they use some sort of deposit (as opposed to having their biochemistry based upon) of silicon compounds to shield their other systems, and this stuff is not blood, but something else. SOmething akin to the Lymph fluid found in your body. Again they never go into the anatomy on screen.

Either one of those is more reasonable than your hypothesis.
So while refuting them being "not totally" carbon-based, you propose silicate vascular systems holding their acid and say this is more reasonable than my contention that perhaps they're not totally carbon based to account for them holding their acid?

Uh, ok.
Galvatron wrote: However, the sequence of events as shown in the movie rule out Ripley as the person who gets facehuggered anyway.
No they don't. We never see Newt get facehugged, we only see an open egg, some acid burning through the floor and her hypersleep pod being cracked open by something. The queen must've put at least 2 eggs on the Sulaco, since there's the one in Ripley and the one in the dog/ox.
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Post by Galvatron » 2008-06-22 01:59pm

Zuul wrote:
Galvatron wrote:However, the sequence of events as shown in the movie rule out Ripley as the person who gets facehuggered anyway.
No they don't. We never see Newt get facehugged, we only see an open egg, some acid burning through the floor and her hypersleep pod being cracked open by something. The queen must've put at least 2 eggs on the Sulaco, since there's the one in Ripley and the one in the dog/ox.
We also see a facehugger attached to someone's face BEFORE Ripley's tube was breached by the exploding bolt. Combined with the scenes leading up to that PLUS the script, it's obvious that it was Newt.

Moreover, we don't know there were two facehuggers. The queen version may very well be capable of impregnating more than one host before dying, which makes sense given the adult queen's immobility and thus inability to leave her nest to capture hosts.

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Post by Darth Nostril » 2008-06-22 02:36pm

Galvatron wrote:We also see a facehugger attached to someone's face BEFORE Ripley's tube was breached by the exploding bolt. Combined with the scenes leading up to that PLUS the script, it's obvious that it was Newt.
Except Ripley persuades the doc to perform an autopsy on Newt and when her chest is cracked open there's no alien embryo in there

It's been a while since I read it and I can't find the bloody book now, but in the Alien novelization, IIRC, there is mention made of the facehugger having two silicon based skins with the "acid" as a high pressure liquid sandwiched between them
I think it's Ash who theorises itmay be some kind of defence mechanism, and mentions it was a good job he only made a small shallow incision so that the liquid only dripped onto the floor, if he'd cut any deeper it would have hosed down half of the medlab

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Post by Galvatron » 2008-06-22 02:50pm

Darth Nostril wrote:
Galvatron wrote:We also see a facehugger attached to someone's face BEFORE Ripley's tube was breached by the exploding bolt. Combined with the scenes leading up to that PLUS the script, it's obvious that it was Newt.
Except Ripley persuades the doc to perform an autopsy on Newt and when her chest is cracked open there's no alien embryo in there
I already explained this above. The fetal queen literally crawled out of Newt's mouth after she drowned and into Ripley's. This is actually in the script. Ergo, Ripley was never facehugged.

This, however, doesn't preclude the introduction of the "unidentified compound" into Ripley's system as The Anchorpoint Essays suggested. It simply means that it was introduced by the queen itself, not the facehugger.

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Post by Anguirus » 2008-06-22 03:08pm

If it is not an acid, but is an enzyme cocktail of doom (nothing in the films to refute that save the verbal statements of people who wouldn't know an acid from an enzyme cocktail) then this would not be required.
I like this idea quite a bit, but would that be effective against spaceship bulkheads and the like? Consistently, the Alien "blood" doesn't do anything to Alien hide but does a number on any metal surface except for certain Predator melee weapons.
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Post by Galvatron » 2008-06-22 03:28pm

Anguirus wrote:
If it is not an acid, but is an enzyme cocktail of doom (nothing in the films to refute that save the verbal statements of people who wouldn't know an acid from an enzyme cocktail) then this would not be required.
I like this idea quite a bit, but would that be effective against spaceship bulkheads and the like? Consistently, the Alien "blood" doesn't do anything to Alien hide but does a number on any metal surface except for certain Predator melee weapons.
In Aliens, Bishop said. "The molecular acid oxidizes after the creature death, completely neutralizing it."

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Post by avatarxprime » 2008-06-22 03:48pm

Galvatron wrote:
Anguirus wrote:
If it is not an acid, but is an enzyme cocktail of doom (nothing in the films to refute that save the verbal statements of people who wouldn't know an acid from an enzyme cocktail) then this would not be required.
I like this idea quite a bit, but would that be effective against spaceship bulkheads and the like? Consistently, the Alien "blood" doesn't do anything to Alien hide but does a number on any metal surface except for certain Predator melee weapons.
In Aliens, Bishop said. "The molecular acid oxidizes after the creature death, completely neutralizing it."
Also IIRC that's what the xenomorph slime (the stuff constantly dripping off of them) is for, to protect them from their acid. That's why in AvP the Pred gave that girl what is essentially a sword and shield made of Alien parts because they are naturally immune. Of course that's a short term fix in that example as eventually the coating that's on those weapons will go away from repeated exposure, but it's better than nothing.

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Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2008-06-22 04:38pm

So while refuting them being "not totally" carbon-based, you propose silicate vascular systems holding their acid and say this is more reasonable than my contention that perhaps they're not totally carbon based to account for them holding their acid?
Yes. A silicon-based deposit works. Sort of like how some living organisms deposite calcium carbonate to form shells, and use calcium structures to form bone.

I like this idea quite a bit, but would that be effective against spaceship bulkheads and the like? Consistently, the Alien "blood" doesn't do anything to Alien hide but does a number on any metal surface except for certain Predator melee weapons.
Depends on the enzyme. There are probably a few involved if they are enzymes.

In Aliens, Bishop said. "The molecular acid oxidizes after the creature death, completely neutralizing it."
What exactly is this "molecular acid"? I am looking through chemistry textbooks and cant find the term...

All that would be required necessarily is an enzyme with a strongly acidic conformer. Or, alternatively, and enzyme that synthesizes a very strong acid when out of the Alien's body.

Alternatively there is the acid containment idea, but it will have to be an acid stronger than the strongest acid that we know of.

It's been a while since I read it and I can't find the bloody book now, but in the Alien novelization, IIRC, there is mention made of the facehugger having two silicon based skins with the "acid" as a high pressure liquid
sandwiched between them
Wait, is it a sugar, or silica-compound? I love contradictory sources
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Post by avatarxprime » 2008-06-22 05:06pm

Here's the quote from the script
Ash wrote:It's got an outer layer of protein polysaccharides. A lot of Amino Acids for prolonged reistance to adverse environmental conditions...
If any of you would like to puruse the scripts yourselves, here's Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien: Ressurection.

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Post by Galvatron » 2008-06-22 05:21pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote:What exactly is this "molecular acid"? I am looking through chemistry textbooks and cant find the term...
I have the same problem with "hypermatter." :wink:

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Post by Admiral Valdemar » 2008-06-22 05:43pm

ANY acid is "molecular acid". It's just a vague term.

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Post by Darth Nostril » 2008-06-22 06:06pm

Admiral Valdemar wrote:ANY acid is "molecular acid". It's just a vague term.
Bear in mind Bishop was talking to Colonial Marines whose specialities include making things go boom as loud as possible
He's going to pitch the technobabble to a level they can understand

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