Comparative Humanoid, Sentient, and Sapient Beings: X1 – Non-Humanoid Sapients

Good morning, class. I apologize for my tardiness, and I hope the good Lieutenant here was illuminating while I was consulting on the new species encountered this week near Ferenginar.

While the title of this class and lecture series is Comparative Humanoid, Sentient, and Sapient species, there has been great interest expressed in the diversity of sapient species that do not strictly conform to the humanoid template. Therefore, we are re-arranging the syllabus to place the non-humanoid species for our first lesson, and moving the syllabus a week behind in the same order.

Non-humanoid is a poor term for today’s class, as they are defined by what they are not. These are species that do not conform to the formula that the ancient species known as Preservers seeded across much of the galaxy some 4 billion years ago. We’ll focus on some of the species, although this lecture will by no means be comprehensive. Your first assignment for this week is to select a non-humanoid sapient species not mentioned in this lecture and deliver to me a 1000 word summary of what we know about that species, either through direct contact with the Federation or Starfleet or with one of the many other spacefaring species we are currently aware of.

Before we discuss non-humanoids, who can give us some of the sub-classifications used to denote similarities and differences among humanoid species?

Yes, you in the front.

[humanoid of mixed ancestry, likely half-Bajoran and half-human, stands]

“Insectoid and polymorphic species.”

Excellent. Any others?

[several remote chimes]

Yes, from the Enterprise.

“Trilateral symmetry”

Very good. Next, from New Talax.

“Um, yes, I just want to say what an honor it is to be able to be a part of this class, and …”

[The Instructor mutes the incoming audio.]

The answer, please, without delay.

“Oh, yes, aquatic lifeforms”

Excellent. I will also add crystalline lifeforms and non-corporeal lifeforms, of which various examples have been encountered by the Federation and her allies almost since the signing of the Federation Charter.

I’ve asked Cadets Reschu, L’rix, and Mschillikk to give us a brief introduction to two types of non-humanoid life-forms they are very familiar with.

Sapient non-humanoid species tend to fall into six broad categories, although many exceptions can be easily found in the annals of the Federation. Mr. Reschu, if you’d please begin:

[Tripedal species]

[Cadet Reschu stands]

“My species, the Edosians, are Tripedal. As you can see here in this room or on the biological diagrams being displayed, we possess three equal upper limbs arrayed in a forward arc and three digits per extremity. Our genetics are very similar to other humanoid species, but interspecies reproduction between and Edosian and humanoid is not possible without gene therapy. We have been warp-capable since the early 21st century, and came into contact with Vulcans shortly after this. While we worked closely with the early Federation, we did not officially join the Federation until well into the late 22nd century. The two leading theories is that this is either a form of convergent evolution due to their Class M homeworld and similar needs for survival, or that the Edosian homeworld was seeded by the early humanoids of this galaxy and our genetic ancestors took an alternate path on the way to sapience.”

Thank you, Cadet. Lieutenant L’rix, if you please.



[A Xindi-insectoid appears on-screen; the insignia of Jupiter Station is in the background. The universal translator begins following a few initial clicks]

“The Xindi-insectoid species evolved with our five sibling races on Xindus. While we possess bilateral symmetry and four principal appendages like many humanoid species, there is no internal skeleton or structure to support the various organs. In addition, the principal sensory structures of the neural net are located next to the compound eyes, while logic, memory, and other sensory structures are in the top of the thorax, connected by a robust and flexible neural linkage. The Xindi-insectoid species reproduces asexually, although some mixing of genetic material can occur when two or more adults seek to gain the abilities of a certain genetic strain.

“The lifespan of the average member of my species is 10 years. While hatchlings still in egg possess six limbs, the middle limbs do not develop past the halfway point of gestation.”

Thank you, Lieutenant. Cadet Mschillikk, would you care to go next?

[Crystalline lifeforms]

[The Horta moves to the point where holocameras most easily capture a lecturer.]

[translator] “The Horta are a lithovoric species whose internal body chemistry is silicon-based, rather than the carbon that underlies most genetic structures of beings both sapient and sentient. Our lifespan is roughly 50,000 Terran years, at which point all but one of our kind die off, in order to make sure the eggs laid shortly before the Great Ending hatch and grow effectively. There are at least two known branches of our species, one originating on Janus VI and the third moon of the gas giant known as Hfihar VII. Not strictly crystalline in nature, the asbestos-like fibers that make up a significant portion of our body structure serve to protect our species in areas of extreme pressure, heat, and solid rock. We move through rock by means of a specific acid, similar in structure and function to both carborane acids and fluorosulfuric acid, and our movement has the added side effect of creating very smooth and perfectly round tunnels wherever we travel. For long-term exposure and existence in the environment of a Class M world, an exosuit may be used or regular teflon encapsulation may also assist in preventing damage to other species, constructions, or ships.”

Very excellent, thank you all for your preparation. A Starfleet Medical report on the above species is included in your course notes today, and the exam will cover that material. You have been warned.



There is one notable species that seems to have aspects of the two previously discussed categories. The Tholians are native to the planet Tholia, which has an average surface temperature of 425 Kelvin. They are crystalline species with six limbs. Some reports have stated that they could adopt a humanoid form of two legs and two arms, but more recent encounters show a universal preference for four ambulatory limbs and two manipulative limbs, not unlike the praying mantis of Earth. Their exterior carapace is of crystalline form, and most of their interior reflects this orientation, with an interstitial fluid allowing for metabolic functions to occur. In their native environment, they derive nutrition and energy from the atmosphere. When they are exposed to temperatures below 380 Kelvin, their carapace may begin to crack. Long-term exposure to temperatures at or below 380 Kelvin without an exosuit will kill a Tholian. This is analogous to what happens to carbon-based life forms when exposed to liquid nitrogen for a significant length of time. Tholians have the ability to emit radiation or to vibrate themselves in various parts of the EM band, which allows them to communicate or send out distress signals. They also have the ability to communicate memories over a crystalline function, which allow offspring to continue their predecessors work almost without interruption and the networking of memories and information very similar in effect to a hive-mind. Regular energy weapons have little or no effect on Tholians.

Their biology is radically different from most other species due to the temperatures, materials, and composition. They are hermaphroditic, intensely xenophobic, and incredibly intelligent. Encounter them with great caution.

[Aquatic Species]
We cover two major species here, demonstrating different aquatic natures. For the first, I invite any of the Xindi in attendance, especially any Xindi-Aquatics, to further elaborate on what I present here.

Xindi Aquatic

The Xindi-Aquatic species achieved sapience just slightly before their companions from the now-lost planet of Xindus. It is extremely difficult for an aquatic species to become warp-capable without either external assistance or some type of telekinesis or other ESP abilities, due to the inability to create fire within an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere in order to create various types of metal alloys. Because Xindus evolved no less than six sentient species nearly simultaneously, the Aquatic sapients became integral to saving the remaining five species upon the ruining of their homeworld as pilots, navigators and diplomats. While generally known for the great length of their deliberations, this trait is likely responsible for the long-term stability of the five Xindi species and their eventual colonizing of new worlds and their current state of friendly affairs with the Federation.

Gekli are a species native to Fluidic Space. First encountered by the Enterprise-D in 2367, very little was known about this species before the recent Undine incursions and our limited forays into their space within the past two years. The Gekli only enter our universe to birth their young alive into the vastness of space, and they maintain a form not unlike the ancient trilobytes of Earth or the k’tranera native to Denobula. Kefnium and meklanite may both be very important to their biology, as the course of the mother Gekli encountered in 2387 led the Enterprise to bring the offspring known as “Junior” there, where it met with three adult members of the species. We do not know the manner of reproduction nor their average lifespan. Willing Gekli can be used as transport by species in Fluidic Space who are preyed upon by the Undine.

That’s all we have for this week. Next week, we’ll cover Polymorphic and non-corporeal life forms. Class dismissed.

4 Comments ON " Comparative Humanoid, Sentient, and Sapient Beings... "
  • alt_example

    seannewboy November 4, 2015 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Very cool.

  • alt_example

    GavinRuneblade November 4, 2015 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    <3 Horta

    The Undine are an interesting one also with trilateral symmetry on the lower half and bilateral on the top.

    • alt_example

      Von Bringhurst November 4, 2015 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      Next Class. 🙂

  • alt_example

    Marcase November 5, 2015 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    So glad I signed up for this 🙂 Well done, enjoyable read.

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