Humanoid-Alien Reproduction.... Should It Be Like Us Or Not?

In summary: Indians had known about the North Star for centuries.Some people might find it more satisfying to not have an explanation, in which case the "like us" pros would not apply. However, this would leave readers frustrated as they would not be able to understand the story.Not Like Us Pros:1. Freedom to be creative with reproduction as you see fit, and can allow for unique things that do not happen in human society.2. You do not have to explain away why they reproduce just like we do with the same parts. Because they don't.Not Like Us Cons:1.
  • #1
Bab5space
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I will discuss the pros and cons of doing this in scifi.

Like Us Pros:

1. We can understand it.
2. Romance with aliens if that's your thing.

Like Us Cons:

1. Seems rather conveinient that humanoid aliens living LY away reproduce like us... with the same organs. I dunno... after taking pains to go rubber forehead, purple skin, and funny ears... yet it's all the same down below? Does not really jive with me.

2. Explanation or ignoring it is warranted. Either way your bound to ruffle some reader's feathers, either for mucking with humanity's origins to justify it or making the aliens distant relatives somehow in the future. Or just ignore explanation altogther and hope not too many care.

Not Like Us Pros:

1. Freedom to be creative with reproduction as you see fit, and can allow for unique things that do not happen in human society.

2. You do not have to explain away why they reproduce just like we do with the same parts. Because they don't.

Not Like Us Cons:

1. Human/alien romance is less likely if you wanted that.

2. Not having the same parts or reproductive cycle we do can be a challenge to write and will likely require some research, and it may not even matter in the plot at large of the story... unless you make it so.So what do you think on this subject?
 
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  • #2
Realistically, reproductive/anatomical compatibility between humans and aliens is extremely unlikely even on basic level. After all, sexual reproduction on Earth is commonly evolving to reduce hybridization between species resulting in non-viable or sterile offsprings. Same would apply to aliens.
Therefore, you can add to "pros" of "Not like us" option the statement like "It is the only option which may be realistic and therefore appealing for hard SF readers".
 
  • #3
trurle said:
Realistically, reproductive/anatomical compatibility between humans and aliens is extremely unlikely even on basic level. After all, sexual reproduction on Earth is commonly evolving to reduce hybridization between species resulting in non-viable or sterile offsprings. Same would apply to aliens.
Therefore, you can add to "pros" of "Not like us" option the statement like "It is the only option which may be realistic and therefore appealing for hard SF readers".

Well..hybrid animals in nature are sterile if I recall correctly, otherwise we humans would be breeding new species of animals for fun and profit.

As far as human/scifi alien reproduction, even if the 'parts' match up (I am not going into detail you know that is not allowed), offspring would be highly unlikely, and any born from such a union would be sterile if folliwing par the course IRL observable nature. More likely such an act would produce nothing. At most, it would just be a love act. Nothing more or less.

The irony for some human male scifi fans is that they would find it rather uncomfortable and even disturbing for handome scifi male aliens to pick up human females instead of them; although they have no problem chasing after beautiful alien females either.

Kind of cuts to the core and would definitely make both men and women feel insecure when suddenly the choice of partner widens to include people from another world with better tech and an older civilization. Grass always seems greener on the other side the saying goes... or is it?

They would find out soon enough. Some would adapt, while others would complain their (hunky alien guys) are stealing our woman and likely oppose them in some way.
 
  • #5
So far the most 'realistic' approach about human-alien hybrids was in John Scalzi's Old Man's War series, and it took a lot of DNS magic to make it 'work'. Maybe you can take it as reference.
 
  • #6
Bab5space said:
I will discuss the pros and cons of doing this in scifi.

Like Us Pros:

1. We can understand it.
2. Romance with aliens if that's your thing.

Like Us Cons:

1. Seems rather conveinient that humanoid aliens living LY away reproduce like us... with the same organs. I dunno... after taking pains to go rubber forehead, purple skin, and funny ears... yet it's all the same down below? Does not really jive with me.
  1. DO they have a rubber forehead?
  2. What IS "like us"
Nearly all Earth mammals reproduce "like us" - viviparity, obligate two sexes, external penis...
Same down below? Close species often have noticeable divergences in genital anatomy. Like, hung like a gorilla - the genitals of apes are quite different from man. Oh, and they have baculum.
There are over 400 species of extant humanoids, i. e. primates, on Earth.
Bab5space said:
2. Explanation or ignoring it is warranted. Either way your bound to ruffle some reader's feathers, either for mucking with humanity's origins to justify it or making the aliens distant relatives somehow in the future. Or just ignore explanation altogther and hope not too many care.
How, and when, are you going to get an explanation, in-story?
After Europeans got the idea that they had evolved and conquered Africa, it took them decades of archeological research to discover that they had evolved in Africa from chimpanzees rather than in Asia from orangutans.
In China, Peking Man was found, and acknowledged as a valuable subject of study, in 1929 - but 90 years later, there is still not a corpus of Denisovan Man bones to compare precisely how a Denisovan man compares to a Neanderthal man.

If the best that the aliens know and believe about their origin story is that they were created by their god a few thousand years ago, then you may be sceptic about it, but figure that you should not expect to find out the real story.
trurle said:
Realistically, reproductive/anatomical compatibility between humans and aliens is extremely unlikely even on basic level. After all, sexual reproduction on Earth is commonly evolving to reduce hybridization between species resulting in non-viable or sterile offsprings. Same would apply to aliens.
No, it would NOT apply.
Because it is a case of allopatric speciation. There has never been a selection pressure against aliens capable of hybridization with Homo sapiens, because they never before met to interbreed, unsuccessfully or otherwise.
Bab5space said:
Well..hybrid animals in nature are sterile if I recall correctly, otherwise we humans would be breeding new species of animals for fun and profit.
Some closely related animal species do give fertile hybrids. And a prominent hybrid species bred for fun and profit is domestic hen. Not descended solely from red junglefowl, but hybridized with grey junglefowl.
Bab5space said:
As far as human/scifi alien reproduction, even if the 'parts' match up (I am not going into detail you know that is not allowed), offspring would be highly unlikely, and any born from such a union would be sterile if folliwing par the course IRL observable nature. More likely such an act would produce nothing. At most, it would just be a love act. Nothing more or less.

The irony for some human male scifi fans is that they would find it rather uncomfortable and even disturbing for handome scifi male aliens to pick up human females instead of them; although they have no problem chasing after beautiful alien females either.

Kind of cuts to the core and would definitely make both men and women feel insecure when suddenly the choice of partner widens to include people from another world with better tech and an older civilization. Grass always seems greener on the other side the saying goes... or is it?

They would find out soon enough. Some would adapt, while others would complain their (hunky alien guys) are stealing our woman and likely oppose them in some way.

The question would be:
Are the aliens biologically any different from us, or not at all?
If aliens are biologically indistinguishable - that is, racially distinguishable from all terrestrial races save one, but indistinguishable from that one - and the only difference is social status... then high status aliens coming from a wealthier world with a better technology (whether as conquerors, merchants or tourists) would take an opportunity to chase skirts - and be targets for skirts chasing them.

If there IS a difference in reproductive biology...
Canis familiaris and Canis lupus actually have what looks like an inborn, hereditary difference in reproductive ethology. Yet readily interbreed and produce fertile offspring.
The closest extant relatives of man - that is, Pan troglodytes and Pan paniscus - have clear differences in reproductive ethology, as well as clear differences in reproductive physiology. Yet despite the differences in physiology, they readily interbreed in captivity. Evidence from the region where their ranges meet shows that they interbreed in the wild, too, and their hybrids are fertile.

What kind of social complications do you expect when different Homo spp. interbreed? There is clear evidence that Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis did.
 
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  • #7
pinball1970 said:
We have different language than anyone else surely you know this?

In addition to @snorkack's reply to this, there are MANY tropical fish that are sold as pets whose origin is in the hybridzation of between related species. This often leads to different and interesting color patterns which make them popular.

WRT problems with hybridization:
Besides the possible differences in the "physical act of love" and the biological equipment involved, other reproductive barriers can exist, possibly different life cycles (perhaps a parasitic larval stage), as well as deeper issues involving compatibility of genetic mechanisms: chromosomal numbers, nuclear/mitochondrial genetic compatibility, and the functional meshing of different molecular components underlying cell function. In addition, there is the issue of what would the alien genetic material be (DNA or ??) and if it did have DNA would use the same genetic code (or even produce proteins).

There are also other ways around some of these issues:

In particular, artificial insemination (also used to cross some fish species and to overcome behavioral reproductive barriers) could deal with some mechanical issues.

Genetic engineering could (in theory) be used to pick and choose among the possible features (genes or sets of genes) of each species to endow an offspring with, assuming the underlying biology is well enough understood.

Another approach would be to breed a lot of offspring (few hundred to a few thousand) and pick the survivors or most fit from that group to raise. This would allow the rare successful combination of genes to be randomly generated and then found.
 
  • #8
BillTre said:
In addition to @snorkack's reply to this, there are MANY tropical fish that are sold as pets whose origin is in the hybridzation of between related species. This often leads to different and interesting color patterns which make them popular.

WRT problems with hybridization:
Besides the possible differences in the "physical act of love" and the biological equipment involved, other reproductive barriers can exist, possibly different life cycles (perhaps a parasitic larval stage), as well as deeper issues involving compatibility of genetic mechanisms: chromosomal numbers, nuclear/mitochondrial genetic compatibility, and the functional meshing of different molecular components underlying cell function. In addition, there is the issue of what would the alien genetic material be (DNA or ??) and if it did have DNA would use the same genetic code (or even produce proteins).

There are also other ways around some of these issues:

In particular, artificial insemination (also used to cross some fish species and to overcome behavioral reproductive barriers) could deal with some mechanical issues.

Genetic engineering could (in theory) be used to pick and choose among the possible features (genes or sets of genes) of each species to endow an offspring with, assuming the underlying biology is well enough understood.

Another approach would be to breed a lot of offspring (few hundred to a few thousand) and pick the survivors or most fit from that group to raise. This would allow the rare successful combination of genes to be randomly generated and then found.
You quoted me?
 
  • #9
BillTre said:
In addition to @snorkack's reply to this, there are MANY tropical fish that are sold as pets whose origin is in the hybridzation of between related species. This often leads to different and interesting color patterns which make them popular.

WRT problems with hybridization:
Besides the possible differences in the "physical act of love" and the biological equipment involved, other reproductive barriers can exist, possibly different life cycles (perhaps a parasitic larval stage), as well as deeper issues involving compatibility of genetic mechanisms: chromosomal numbers, nuclear/mitochondrial genetic compatibility, and the functional meshing of different molecular components underlying cell function. In addition, there is the issue of what would the alien genetic material be (DNA or ??) and if it did have DNA would use the same genetic code (or even produce proteins).

There are also other ways around some of these issues:

In particular, artificial insemination (also used to cross some fish species and to overcome behavioral reproductive barriers) could deal with some mechanical issues.

Genetic engineering could (in theory) be used to pick and choose among the possible features (genes or sets of genes) of each species to endow an offspring with, assuming the underlying biology is well enough understood.

Another approach would be to breed a lot of offspring (few hundred to a few thousand) and pick the survivors or most fit from that group to raise. This would allow the rare successful combination of genes to be randomly generated and then found.

If there is a want for hybrids in a book there is a way to do it for an author.

While I do not pretend to be a biologist, if there are hybrid animals that can breed then they likely are closely related species anyway.

For example... a fish being a hybrid of two fishes. Still a fish.

It is not as if you can expect a hybrid from mating an octopus with a fish. A shark is slightly closer but I am not sure that would work either, due to body differences.

Bioengineering would mean someone wants a hybrid earnestly and will defy natural obstacles to ensure it.

As far as 'parts'goes and explaining it I finally have come to rest with just using human 'parts' for humanoids.

Intitially I was turned off by the color of the skin (green or gray 'parts' just seemed odd), but the 'parts' work fine, and swapping them for 'parts' that are no more efficient purely to make them seem alien seems an exercise in futility to me.

As it is the way I was going to do it would have been only good for shock value, so I don't see the point. Not to mention the fact that the design would have been more complex than the original design (extra set of exterior organs), since I was planning on the alien reproductive organs and the urinary organs being in separate places, unlike on human males.

Needlessly complex... and to do so for each humanoid alien race (have multiple in the works) would be trying.

Now for non-humanoids I am more willing to play with this, since your average reader won't expect a nonhuman lookimg creature to have our 'parts' anyway.
 
  • #10
BillTre said:
In addition to @snorkack's reply to this, there are MANY tropical fish that are sold as pets whose origin is in the hybridzation of between related species. This often leads to different and interesting color patterns which make them popular.

WRT problems with hybridization:
Besides the possible differences in the "physical act of love" and the biological equipment involved, other reproductive barriers can exist, possibly different life cycles (perhaps a parasitic larval stage),
No placental mammals have that (and the marsupials depend on mother, not another species).
There IS a range of altriciality/precociality spectrum, even in closely related groups - like the difference between hare and rabbit. Or in case of man... while a born man is not as altricial as a born dog or cat (the man has open eyes), the man is much more altricial than a chimpanzee. The chimpanzee can hang off its mother with its own hands - man cannot.
BillTre said:
as well as deeper issues involving compatibility of genetic mechanisms: chromosomal numbers,
European and Przewalski horse have different chromosome numbers (62 and 64) but produce hybrids who despite having odd chromosomes are freely fertile.
BillTre said:
nuclear/mitochondrial genetic compatibility, and the functional meshing of different molecular components underlying cell function. In addition, there is the issue of what would the alien genetic material be (DNA or ??) and if it did have DNA would use the same genetic code (or even produce proteins).
While there can be different genetic codes, I believe there is little reason for aliens with a different genetic code to be "humanoid".
BillTre said:
Another approach would be to breed a lot of offspring (few hundred to a few thousand) and pick the survivors or most fit from that group to raise. This would allow the rare successful combination of genes to be randomly generated and then found.
Mules are commercially bred at mass scale, but fertile mules are rare and fertile male mules unknown.
Bab5space said:
It is not as if you can expect a hybrid from mating an octopus with a fish. A shark is slightly closer but I am not sure that would work either, due to body differences.
Definitely not.
Bab5space said:
As far as 'parts'goes and explaining it I finally have come to rest with just using human 'parts' for humanoids.

Intitially I was turned off by the color of the skin (green or gray 'parts' just seemed odd), but the 'parts' work fine, and swapping them for 'parts' that are no more efficient purely to make them seem alien seems an exercise in futility to me.
Closely related species often have fairly different parts. Looking at humanoids, the average erect length of the penis of a postpubescent man is quoted at 13 cm. Chimpanzee is 8 cm, and gorilla just 4 cm. All of them are "efficient", in that they produce babies. Chimpanzee and gorilla have a baculum, too - fairly small compared to total size of penis, small as it is.
Bab5space said:
As it is the way I was going to do it would have been only good for shock value, so I don't see the point. Not to mention the fact that the design would have been more complex than the original design (extra set of exterior organs), since I was planning on the alien reproductive organs and the urinary organs being in separate places, unlike on human males.

All mammals use penis for both reproduction and urination. Many reptiles and birds have penis for reproduction only (and some reptiles are viviparous) but they don´ t have extra set of exterior organs for urination because they have cloaca for that. Snakes and lizards DO have an extra set of exterior organs... because their penis is paired. Both for reproduction only.
 
  • #11
snorkack said:
No placental mammals have that (and the marsupials depend on mother, not another species).
There IS a range of altriciality/precociality spectrum, even in closely related groups - like the difference between hare and rabbit. Or in case of man... while a born man is not as altricial as a born dog or cat (the man has open eyes), the man is much more altricial than a chimpanzee. The chimpanzee can hang off its mother with its own hands - man cannot.

European and Przewalski horse have different chromosome numbers (62 and 64) but produce hybrids who despite having odd chromosomes are freely fertile.

While there can be different genetic codes, I believe there is little reason for aliens with a different genetic code to be "humanoid".

Mules are commercially bred at mass scale, but fertile mules are rare and fertile male mules unknown.

Definitely not.

Closely related species often have fairly different parts. Looking at humanoids, the average erect length of the penis of a postpubescent man is quoted at 13 cm. Chimpanzee is 8 cm, and gorilla just 4 cm. All of them are "efficient", in that they produce babies. Chimpanzee and gorilla have a baculum, too - fairly small compared to total size of penis, small as it is.All mammals use penis for both reproduction and urination. Many reptiles and birds have penis for reproduction only (and some reptiles are viviparous) but they don´ t have extra set of exterior organs for urination because they have cloaca for that. Snakes and lizards DO have an extra set of exterior organs... because their penis is paired. Both for reproduction only.

I had intended to keep the organs where the belong but only have a sex function. The urinary organs would have been on a pivoting nozzle like organ, paired on the butt flanks, one for each cheek.

Would have definitely changed how they use the bathroom compared to us, since they spray sideways.

They also might think it odd, perhaps gross that we humans do all of that from the same area, especially if they have native wildlife that have the same setup of peeing and reproducing with the same organ.

It would be an odd day when aliens see us as somewhat bestial due to sharing features their animals have.

Of course we may say the same about them... but I digress.

That's the fun of scifi
 
  • #12
I saw a pair of slugs getting it on once. Hard to imagine anything more alien. They hung off a string of slime and twisted up in a writhing double helix. Then they sprouted organs out of the side of their head that were almost as large as their full body and then they twisted them up too. In some ways more intimate than any couple with a skeleton could achieve.
 
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  • #13
Some perspective:

Carl Sagan once said "We stand a better chance of mating with a Petunia than we do with an alien species."

And frankly, he was being generous. We stand a better chance of mating with bacteria than with an alien species.
 
  • #14
DaveC426913 said:
Some perspective:

Carl Sagan once said "We stand a better chance of mating with a Petunia than we do with an alien species."

And frankly, he was being generous. We stand a better chance of mating with bacteria than with an alien species.
Many types of bacteria, fungus, and virus reproduce using human sexuality.
If your goal in mating is to produce viable offspring then it is obviously not likely to work. If the goal is a good time where non of the concenting parties get hurt then the possibilies increase.
 
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  • #15
Bab5space said:
I had intended to keep the organs where the belong but only have a sex function. The urinary organs would have been on a pivoting nozzle like organ, paired on the butt flanks, one for each cheek.

Would have definitely changed how they use the bathroom compared to us, since they spray sideways.
Such a rearrangement of urinary organs... there was only a change between monotremes (just a cloaca) and rest of mammals (external urethra). A being with paired urethra is not within the order of primates.
Bab5space said:
They also might think it odd, perhaps gross that we humans do all of that from the same area, especially if they have native wildlife that have the same setup of peeing and reproducing with the same organ.

It would be an odd day when aliens see us as somewhat bestial due to sharing features their animals have.

Of course we may say the same about them... but I digress.
Which means there are three ecosystems involved. The unintelligent relatives of the intelligent aliens are in a third ecosystem unknown to us or intelligent aliens.

Generally, aliens who have less in common with man than a man with a flower are likely - but I do not see them as likely to be humanoid.

Aliens who can interbreed with man would be aliens who are more closely related to man than to chimpanzee.
 

Related to Humanoid-Alien Reproduction.... Should It Be Like Us Or Not?

1. What are the potential consequences of humanoid-alien reproduction?

The consequences of humanoid-alien reproduction are largely unknown and would depend on the genetic compatibility between the two species. It is possible that the resulting offspring could have physical and/or behavioral traits from both species, which could potentially lead to challenges in their development and integration into society.

2. Can humanoid and alien DNA be successfully combined for reproduction?

Currently, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that humanoid and alien DNA can be successfully combined for reproduction. The genetic makeup and reproductive processes of different species can vary greatly, making successful reproduction between two distinct species unlikely.

3. How would the ethical implications of humanoid-alien reproduction be addressed?

The ethical implications of humanoid-alien reproduction would need to be carefully considered and addressed before any attempts were made. This would involve discussions and debates among scientists, ethicists, and other experts to determine the potential risks and benefits, as well as any moral or societal concerns.

4. Are there any potential benefits to humanoid-alien reproduction?

Potential benefits of humanoid-alien reproduction could include the expansion of genetic diversity and the potential for new scientific discoveries. However, these potential benefits would need to be weighed against the potential risks and ethical considerations.

5. Are there any examples of humanoid-alien reproduction in nature?

There are no known examples of humanoid-alien reproduction in nature. While some species may have similar physical characteristics to humanoids or aliens, they are still distinct species with their own unique genetic makeup and reproductive processes.

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