I would like to write a story featuring creatures living in a ecosystem not unlike the one we know, but still they are alien creatures. I would like the details of these creatures' functioning to be as scientifically sound as possible.

Would it be ok to ask questions like

Given the size of the animal and their species, how much would they weight?
How much blood would they have?
What should the caloric value of their diet be?

If those kinds of questions would not be appropriate to Biology StackExchange, how could I rephrase them so that they would be?

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    $\begingroup$ You say ecosystem not unlike the one we know so it could be of some hypothetical other world. Since these animals are alien, how could we even surmise they have blood like we do, need calories like we do, amongst the many other variational parameters. It is a great theoretical question but applying alien life form parameters to Earth knowledge may not make any sense whatsoever. $\endgroup$
    – dustin
    Feb 4 '15 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @dustin "how could we even surmise they have blood like we do, need calories like we do" - because I say so. The answers I am seeking would help me fit those animals most appropriately into our world - how much would they weigh, what kind of diet would they need to sustain themselves - while, hopefully, these questions and answers could be also useful to others. Could this work? $\endgroup$ Feb 4 '15 at 19:11
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    $\begingroup$ Because you said "because I say so" makes the close reason for primary opinion based warranted and so the question wouldn't fit in and would most likely be closed as primary opinion based. $\endgroup$
    – dustin
    Feb 4 '15 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Does it telling about "fantasy" animals like Yeti etc. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptozoology) (which is considered as pseudoscience) or "hypothetical" things like x, y, z of algebra? $\endgroup$ Sep 19 '16 at 12:20

I'm not sure that these questions would be a good fit for our site - in the past we have always limited ourselves to the real world when presented with questions along the lines of where is the best place to shoot a zombie etc. Whilst your questions may be better thought out, allowing them might blur the lines.

Have you considered the World Building stack exchange?

  • $\begingroup$ Didn't know about this one, thanks! Though I would also like to massage this kind of question into a shape that would be appropriate for Biology SE, if that is possible. I could ask about a class of animals, but wouldn't that be too abstract? $\endgroup$ Feb 4 '15 at 19:12

The theoretical aspects are fine and people have asked question like this (good theoretical framework for a sci-fi novel etc). However, you cannot go too speculative and ask very broad questions. You can break your question down to specific points such as:

  • What are the theoretical limits of mass/density of a certain organism at a gravity of 2×g?
  • How much volume of blood is required by an organism of mass=x (there are other parameters to consider such as partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere etc)?

That these all would fall under the topic of theoretical biology and you need to provide sufficient details if you want a hypothetical model. Moreover the answers are likely to be speculative but can be based on good reasoning.

I think this is on topic as long as you provide sufficient preliminary assumptions for your model.


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