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Headscratchers / Species

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  • How did the aliens who sent us the message even know the human genome? It's implied the message was a reply to the Arecibo message, but the Arecibo message didn't contain the human genome, just the chemical formula for the DNA base pairs (the Human Genome Project wasn't even finished at the time the message was sent, or even at the time of the film). In fairness, the second movie demonstrates that they've visited our solar system in the past so they might have probed Earth in historical or prehistoric times.
    • Anal probes.

  • Why does Sil need a cocoon? Cocoons are used by creatures like butterflies that have an adult form that's very different from the immature form. Sil doesn't (apparently) change any more between child and adult stages than a human does, and we don't need cocoons so neither should she. It's made worse by the fact she's a shapeshifter so she can change her morphology dramatically without needing a cocoon anyway. And during the cocoon stage the creatures are immobile and therefore vulnerable (Patrick's offspring in the second movie would have torn the protagonists apart if they weren't conveniently all in cocoons when the protagonists invaded Patrick's lair). The whole thing seems to be biologically unnecessary and a survival drawback.
    • Humans don't need a cocoon to grow from a child into an adult, but Sil isn't human. Humans also don't have the ability to jump from a pre-adolescent form to a grown adult form. If we did, we might need a cocoon stage.
    • It may not be a cocoon for purposes of metamorphosis, but one for dormancy. We don't know anything about what the pure aliens' biology is like; their physiology may require periodic hibernation or aestivation, like an African lungfish sealing itself in mud and membrane to survive when the river dries up.

  • When they make an organism that has nothing but pure alien DNA and it grows super-fast and they have to burn it, what the heck was it metabolising on? There didn't seem to be any food in the chamber it could use to grow.
    • External heat or an internal cellular splitting process? But they don't follow conventional biology rules.
    • Being somewhat insectoid in appearance, there's even odds that they are cold blooded animals. What does that do to your heat output equations?
    • Could that's the pure and natural state of the SIL species when spawning. The budding SILs burst forth and devour all they can in order to grow and thrive; it's the most determined alone that thrives. Could be also how the SIL species lives on, it has to breed hybrid offspring, so that its progeny don't devour everything in sight.

  • Why does Sil's alien form have nipples? Her young seems to be able to feed itself from birth, so it doesn't make a lot of sense for her to have them (aside from maintaining fake breasts as part of her human disguise).
    • Because she's a Half-Human Hybrid. They're a side-product of her human genome. Her alien form isn't what the aliens "really" look like, even if those who sent the data used their own DNA, but a combination of the human and alien traits.
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    • Just as pertinant a question is why do human men have nipples? We can't breastfeed! Obviously these are just useless genetic leftovers we get from our mothers' genes. Likewise with Sil's alien form - though useless, her hooters are probably just a genetic leftover from her human form.
      • Actually, men have nipples because breasts develop in a fetus before biological sex is determined. It has nothing to do with "genetic leftovers from our mothers." Also, men can (and some have) breastfeed; male nipples are not just cosmetic. We have mammary glands, too. It's just that, under normal circumstances, men never get the hormones that stimulate breast development the way women do during puberty. However, there have been many instances where various drugs have caused men to begin lactating (it was a side-effect of one drug prescribed to Vietnam veterans to help ease PTSD; surely leaking through their shirts provided a new set of problems). To sum up: male nipples are functional, but dormant.

  • We saw what the true form of Sil's species at the end of the first movie. It looked like a more masculine version of Sil's. Then Species II comes along and Patrick's true form is a hulking quadrupedal beast that looks nothing at all like that. What's up with that? Besides the film-makers apparently not caring about continuity, that is.
    • According to Giger, Patrick has two types of true form and two stage transformation sequence. When mating with Eve, he transforms to bipedal form. And shortly before the emerge form cocoon, he transforms again to quadrupedal form, so-called 'Fight patrick' or 'Patrick monster', for combat
    • Patrick's bipedal form is male version of Sil's. You can watch it in mating scene with Eve.
    • About hulking quadrupedal beast form, Something tells me you need to watch Alien 3, which was made three years before the first film.
    • Patrick was an infected, not a true hybrid, which explained some of that and why he is the only one who has two types form.
    • Patrick was also infected by alien DNA leftover on Mars, implied to be there because a previous Martian civilization was exterminated by the same beasties. Thus, the alien DNA that infected Patrick likely had Martian DNA included, making Patrick not just a human/alien hybrid, but a human/Martian/alien hybrid.
    • Possibly the pureblooded aliens' equivalent of males just keep getting bigger and more fearsome throughout their adult lives, much like how male deer get more points on their antlers each season. It's a common pattern in nature for older males to have more impressive sexual displays or competitive ability than younger ones. Alternately, if the males are the ones which defend helpless young offspring, it'd make sense for them to metamorphose into a more-formidable shape immediately after they father some.
      • But considering the true form of Yosef, a male adult alien appeared in Species III, maybe bigger and more fearsome form is only applicable to Patrick, not all male alien's characteristic. Although Yosef is an adult alien and son of Patrick, his true form is only bipedal form and similar size with female

  • The three minute pregnancies in human women from Species II, with the victim's uterus plumping up like a water balloon in seconds, apparently because a 3 minute pregnancy in a normal human wasn't insane enough by itself. To spare a lot of digital ink, let's just say that a (admittedly amateur) calculation I did had the alien fetus putting out over 900 kilowatts of waste heat at peak growth rate. That's enough to boil several kilograms of water per second, when the average baby only weighs a few kilograms. That's not a fetus, it's a self-cooking meat product. Sil's body might include some sort of mechanism to keep the fetus from cooking itself, but the human body has no such thing. Even if we handwave the fetus survivability issue with Bizarre Alien Biology somehow, there's the absurdity of the victim still being alive when the Chestburster emerges, when she just had ... well, I'm not sure exactly what effect having a 900 kilowatt heater jammed into your uterus would have on your internal organs, but phrases like "steam explosion" and "bubbling organ stew" come to mind. Even by the typical standards of Hollywood Science this is an exceptionally bad biology fail. It's especially offensive because you could easily make the gestation period much more sane while keeping the horror factor just fine and there are a lot more plausible ways of solving the "why not just abort the alien baby" problem, including one that both has real life precedent and is plenty disturbing enough.
    • Rule of Scary? Less kindly, the screenwriters were, well, hacks.
    • Most likely timed so that we could have a Birth/Death Juxtaposition effect with Mommy #1's birth cries being framed with Daddy's orgasm cry as he turns little sister into Mommy #2.

  • The insane asylum guy's theories about the aliens in Species II are ridiculous. First off, he says he can tell the Mars virus fossils in the meteorite came from another galaxy because it has a form of carbon in it that can only be found there (and he gives a completely inaccurate figure for the distances to the Magellanic Clouds while he's at it, assuming that's what he means by "the Magellanic galaxy"). But that kind of carbon would only be present in the initial seed viruses the aliens dropped on Mars, all the rest of the viruses would be made entirely from Martian carbon. So either we got phenomenally lucky and the meteorite just happened to contain a little of the seed virus (which would be an extremely improbable coincidence), or the aliens would have had to deluge Mars in such ridiculous quantities of that black snotty stuff it would pretty much defeat the whole idea of using a biological weapon (you can do a lot of damage with small initial quantities). Also, since the aliens would have to have a presence within a few dozen light years of Earth to pick up our radio signals it means they'd have to be an incredibly vast and powerful civilization. If guys like that wanted to wipe us out they'd have much more effective ways of doing so than sending us a blueprint for a bioweapon and hoping we're stupid enough to create it and allow it to escape into the environment. That kind of thing only makes sense as a poor man's weapon, used by a civilization that doesn't have the resources and/or technology for anything more effective. There's also the matter of why, if they wanted to kill us and they've been in our neighborhood for billions of years, they just sat around all that time until we developed a technological civilization instead of pre-emptively ruining Earth's environment before sapience could evolve. And then there's how unlikely it would be that a virus designed to infect billions of years dead Martians could infect a human, drastically alter his biology, and produce something other than a corpse. Well, the guy WAS in an insane asylum and even if he was sane and intelligent he was probably speculating about stuff outside his field (and no, there's no way I think the writers of that script were clever enough to do that deliberately).
    • Considering just the first movie, you can cast the aliens as trying to be helpful("randomly following advice you get from the internetspace is a Bad Idea"), if you assume they value individual life less than the average American(of course, they could have just as easily been trolling). As for the No Biochemical Barriers thing, convergent evolution gives the writers a handwave.

  • How come the gestation time for Sil was so much longer than that of her son? And how come he matured quicker than her?
    • Sil was created in an artificial womb, which could have explained why it took a few days for her to grow. Her son grew inside of her womb, which explains the fast gestation time (and probably, the non-artificial birth would have allowed for the accelerated growth time).
    • Also, Sil was created from a human egg, which was merely fertilized with alien DNA. The son came from Sil's egg, which would be alien in nature, and therefore not necessarily programmed with the same development timing.

  • So they put cyanide into Sil's chamber to kill her. Why on earth didn't they just have a vacuum pump to make her pass out first? It may not have worked, but if it did they could have dispatched her however they wanted. Why didn't they have that nifty fire thing they had at the other lab?

  • In Species II The Virus infects two astronauts on a Mars mission. One of them is female. The male infected astronaut immediately develops the hots for Sil's clone Eve, with whom he is in telepathic contact, and wants to knock her up and make some kind of special evil baby that only results when two aliens mate. But he never shows any such interest in the female astronaut. Instead he develops the hots for the one that's locked in a (not so) secure government facility. No explanation is ever given or suggested.
    • In the timeframe the female astronaut is alive, Patrick is still mostly Patrick, with only a subtle urging from his mutated alien-ness driving him. His own sense of fidelity to his wife, and his respect of his fellow astronaut and her marriage may have dampened any sexual feelings for her, or he may have written it off as "I was alone with her on a spaceship for nine months, of course I think I want to bang her. I'd want to bang a German Shepard after that long." By the time Patrick's alien side is fully in control, the female astronaut is. . . well, let's just say no longer a viable mating partner.

  • Also in Species II the female astronauts dies after giving birth. When in the first film Sil gives birth and lives. No explanation is ever given or suggested as well.
    • Remember that Sil had rapid regeneration powers, hence why she could survive the birth, while the female astronaut didn't. Though, this brings another Fridge Logic of why the female astronaut didn't turn into a hybrid while Patrick did...
    • Most likely The Virus was programmed to hybridise with the male of a species, given the ability of males to reproduce year-round with many different partners and the more limited reproductive window and gestation period of a (normal) female. It wasn't as interested in females because it could hijack the extreme sexual propensity of a male to spread his seed. Perhaps it merely infected the eggs of the female astronaut, and this egg could have grown into a new Sil had it not been prematurely terminated?

  • As they were digging that Absurdly Spacious Sewer under the hotel, not a single survey detected the GIANT CAVE SYSTEM?
    • This was lampshaded when the characters mention an earthquake that occurred in the area.
    • For all we know, the caves had been discovered before. No reason why the sewer-construction crew would take any interest in them, though, as you can't run a sewer through a natural cave: sewage needs to go to a treatment plant, not into the regional watershed via a cavern. So as soon as they realized the caves were there, they diverted their Absurdly Spacious Sewer around it. The earthquake later opened a connection between the two sets of tunnels.

  • In the first movie at least, why/how does Sil have a birth canal in her chest (besides being a reference to another franchise for which H.R. Giger did design work)?
    • Because they couldn't have shown actual penetration on-screen in the conventional location without getting an MA rating, probably.

  • The alien message contained the alien genome and instructions on how to combine it with human genome. But where did they get the actual physical alien DNA? Obviously you can't send physical matter in interstellar radio signals. Did the alien message spell out the billions-long DNA sequence and then the humans just built that from nothing one amino acid at a time?
    • Nucleic acid, not amino. But yes, they assemble it from scratch.

  • What is the actual failure in the chain for the hybrids? Sil was made from a fertilized human egg with the alien sperm. She produced a child with a human donor, while he didn't live long enough, we don't know for sure. However the second, Eve provided a daughter that is fertile. So is Patrick himself the problem? And is that the human part or the "thing" that infected him? His sperm with human woman, produces problems. Yet his sperm with Eve works well. Is something in Eve's makeup fixing Patrick's problem or did Patrick just pick bad woman to breed with? Which after all what is Patrick classified as? Can he really be considered a hybrid, or an human infected? Had they have grown a male Sil, would he have done just as well as Eve or failed like Patrick?
    • Patrick was an accidental hybrid unlike Sil or Eve, perhaps this imbalanced his DNA making the genetic flaw of making only sterile creatures, Eve was the only creature who shared enough DNA to "fix" the problem, or maybe that is what the male aliens are like, they can't repoduce viable children with humans, and can only do so with an alien female, who have purer DNA, but I would put my money on him just not being a proper hybrid and Eve was the only one he could make reproductively viable offspring with.


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