Sunday, 21 February 2016

Hands Or Tails

The Technic History And Potential Histories
Aliens In Anderson And Niven
Faces

We discussed alien bodily forms in the above articles but may not have mentioned tails:

Merseians
Shalmuans
Wodenites
Cynthians
Susaians
Gargantuans
kzinti -

- and no doubt many other intelligent species are tailed so why aren't Terrans? A tail can be used as an extra limb. Karl the Gargantuan points with his. Merseians sit on theirs and touch them for greeting. Susaians cling with their tails in free fall:

"'...tell them to link hands or tails or whatever...'" (FLAG, p. 153)

In Kilgore Trout/Philip Jose Farmer's Venus On The Half-Shell, when a man visits a planet of tailed humanoids, they assume that he will want one surgically implanted. So why did Terrestrial human beings evolutionarily lose their tails?

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Hmmm, interesting question, why did the human race discard tails? After all, we still have at least the root of a tail bone and a few babies are still born with tails. I can only guess: maybe it was just a genetic accident that the vast majority of humans don't have tails.

    After all, it's equally reasonable to think SOME intelligent races won't have tails.

    Btw, Merseians can use their tails as a kind of club for close in fighing, as we see when Targovi overcame the Merseian sentry guarding that computer/data base on Zacharia in THE GAME OF EMPIRE.

    Sean

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