Tag Archives: biology

The Origin of Life Just Became a Little Clearer

When worldbuilding for a fictional planet around another star, eventually, I have to get to how life arises and evolves on that planet. I will get to that in a future worldbuilding post. But the question remains, how did life start?

It’s not easy to answer because we don’t really know yet. But thanks to the work of two scientists at the University of North Carolina, we’re closer to understanding how life started becoming more complex. You can read the full article here.

This research doesn’t necessarily give us the full picture of how RNA controlled the production of proteins in the earliest stages of life, but it gives us a start, and could lead to more studies on how this process happened.

What does this have to do with worldbuilding? Well, the question is, does this same process happen on another planet? Or does it happen through another process but with similar results? Or are there different nucleotides than the ones we have in our DNA? That’s one thing that makes creating fictional life interesting.

What do you think?

Themed Posts

As you may know, I’ve been doing Encyclopedia Entries, informational posts about various topics.  I haven’t been using any kind of theme, just posting anything that came to mind related to current events or something I’ve done recently.  Well, that’s going to change.

I’m going to introduce a couple of themes.  They’ll be science and geography related, as those are the areas I’m most interested in, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.  To begin, I’ll be posting the Encyclopedia Entries with two different themes.

First one is astronomy related.  I’m going to go through all of the named moons in the solar system in alphabetic order.  After I finish them, which will take quite a while, I’ll move on to a new theme.

The second theme is a mix of geography and biology.  I’ll be going through all of the countries of the world and writing about each one’s national animal.  If a national animal doesn’t exist, then I’ll look at the national bird.  If there is no national animal at all, I’ll have to skip the country.

I hope you enjoy this!

Dino 101 has Helped Me

One of my online open courses, Dino 101, is helping me quite a bit.  Although I may already know a lot about it, it’s reminding me about things that are very useful for my writing.  How is that?  How can dinosaurs help me write a science fiction book?

First, it’s reminding me about comparative anatomy.  We know that tetrapods, which are all vertebrate animals except fish, all have analogous structures in their bodies.  Looking at dinosaurs, they all have the same bones, basically.  Not only that, they share the same bones with birds, as well as mammals and reptiles.  So, what does this mean?  It means that I have to figure out a basic body structure for large vertebrate animals on my world, Ariadne.  After that, I can then develop many different kinds of animals.

Second, it makes me think more about evolution.  I think this is quite similar to my first point.  It allows me to develop animals.

Third, it’s shown me several types of adaptations.  This is extremely useful!  I can figure out structures on animal bodies that can be used for different purposes, including eating, locomotion, and heat regulation.  I’ll be able to develop animals for different environments and niches.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  I’ve now completed 4 weeks of Dino 101.  There are more topics that will be useful.  I’m looking forward to it.

Palaeontology and World Building

Creating a new world is a big undertaking.  Last summer, I talked about how I developed Ariadne using my knowledge and education in astronomy, as well as my interest in geography and geology.  But what about the biological aspect?  This is where my interest in palaeontology comes in.

As a child, I was always interested in dinosaurs.  I think that’s pretty common amongst children, but I went even further than that.  I found a book in the library with detailed diagrams of the skeletons and skulls of most known species of dinosaur.  I did my own reconstructions of the dinosaurs in pencil.  I wish I’d kept up with the drawing, but I can always start again.  And I will, actually.  As I grew up, I had to make a decision about what to study in university.  I chose astronomy.  My second choice was palaeontology.  To be honest, I think palaeontology would’ve been more useful, as it involves geology, biology, zoology, and more.  If I could go back to university, it’s what I’d study.

Using palaeontology to build a myriad of animals for Ariadne is something that fascinates me.  How will I do it?  I will start off by developing the basic Classes and Orders of animals, then splitting those up into Families and Genera.  I don’t want to make the Classes identical to what we have on Earth, so I need to be creative.  I can also attempt to trace back the evolution of the animals, which will give me a more realistic variety of animals.  I will examine environments, adaptations, and even colours.

Watching some videos of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals has helped me develop some ideas for animals.  Seeing the family resemblance between dinosaurs and birds is also quite helpful.  The past and present give me a great insight into how to create new animals, ones that I hope will be truly alien.

On my official website, I will be uploading drawings of the animals as part of the Ariadne Encyclopedia.  You may even see some artwork of real animals on this blog in the future.  I’m excited to get back into drawing.

Who’s interested in seeing some of my artwork?