Speculative biology is a popular genre among animal lovers. Artists who work in this field strive to obey real-world laws of biology. They also use a bit of creative licence.
Some speculative works explore what life might have been like if critical events in Earth’s past had gone differently. This includes what would happen if non-avian dinosaurs hadn’t become extinct.
What is speculative biology?
Speculative biology is a form of science that uses fiction and creativity to imagine possible evolutionary scenarios. It also takes into account the laws of nature and plausible physical constraints. It is often used to provide real-world explanations for fictional creatures (such as how dragons breathe fire). Speculation about extraterrestrial life also falls into this category.
A major field of speculative biology is xenobiology, which leaves Earth and its history behind to explore the possibility of life on other planets or in different dimensions. Various scenarios are explored, including what might happen if key events in the Earth’s past had gone differently. For example, what might have happened if non-avian dinosaurs had not become extinct?
Another popular subgenre is alternative evolution, which examines the potential effects of changes to natural selection or genetic inheritance. These changes may occur due to climate change, genetic engineering, or other environmental factors. A notable work in this genre is Dougal Dixon’s 1981 speculative biology book After Man, which created a world of imagined animals and their habitats after humans were long gone.
One of the most common and successful genres of speculative biology is the creation of entirely conceptual species that evolve on a fictional planet or in an alternate universe. These works may also include hybrids or mixtures of existing biological organisms. In addition, they may consider the consequences of human manipulation of living systems.
This is a sub-genre that has gained in popularity since the release of the popular science television show,
The show combines elements of both speculative biology and science fiction to imagine what might be possible in a future where people control the environment and genetically engineer their own children. This type of speculative biology is closely related to the emerging field of synthetic biology, which envisions the design of organisms not found in nature.
Speculative biology is a broad genre with many sub-categories. These include the development of alien biospheres, alternate histories, and fictional zoology. Often, the work incorporates a combination of these categories, with some imagining entire planetary ecosystems and others creating hybrids or mixtures of existing species. In some cases, the species imagined within a speculative work are later proven to exist in the real world. For example, the imaginary filter-feeding anomalocarid illustrated by artist John Meszaros in the 2013 book All Your Yesterdays was later confirmed to have existed through fossils of the real species Tamisiocaris.
Speculative biology is a sub-discipline of biology
Speculative biology, an art-research discipline that simulates future life forms, is an intersection of the disciplines of synthetic biology, molecular genetics and evolutionary biology. It envisions organisms that are not found in nature and is a sub-discipline of biology that draws inspiration from the fields of physics, bioinformatics and computer science.
Speculation is a fundamental aspect of the field. It is based on the assumption that organisms evolve in response to the environment and their own genes, and is thus not merely a random process. Speculative biology aims to explore new ideas about evolution by combining artistic, cultural and scientific approaches. It is an experimental and interdisciplinary practice that catalyzes creative critical thinking and challenges the boundaries of contemporary science.
Its earliest proponent was Dougal Dixon, who published his book After Man in 1981. His work was the first to systematically imagine living creatures by applying real-world constraints. Dixon’s work inspired many others to create their own speculative works of biology.
The most common permutation of speculative biology takes place on worlds that are isolated from established biospheres and more familiar beings. These settings, whether real or imaginary, are often called “bottle worlds.” They focus on the isolation of strange creatures and the development of their unique linages.
Another variation on this theme involves imagining life on a world with a different type of climate or geological activity. This type of speculative biology is called “alternate-worlds” or “alternative-evolution.” It explores a wide range of ideas about the origins of life and how it could change in response to changing environmental conditions.
Lastly, speculative biology also explores the limits of our ability to imagine the occurrence of extraterrestrial life. It attempts to impose physical constraints on the imagined creatures, so they can be compared with terrestrial lifeforms. This enables the imagining of new life forms, such as mer-people and dragons, that are both biologically plausible and visually stunning. In addition, it enables the reconstruction of fictitious animals and monsters from folklore and modern media such as Bigfoot, unicorns, Angels, Vampires and Fairies/Pixies into more biologically plausible forms.
Speculative biology is a sub-genre of science fiction
The speculative biology genre takes real science and twists it to create new scenarios, based on hypothetical evolutionary patterns. This genre has been popular for many years, and it can be found in everything from comics to novels to movies. Many science fiction writers have used the concept to explore different ways of life on other planets or in alternate timelines.
These works often include fictitious ecosystems and life-forms, but they also explore the effects of anthropogenic climate change on the environment. The idea is that these changes will influence the evolution of certain species, leading to the creation of new creatures.
In addition, the speculative biology genre can also incorporate alternative history and xenobiology. The latter explores the formation of alien biospheres, while the former looks at how life would develop if a key event in Earth’s history went differently. For example, what if non-avian dinosaurs had not become extinct? The resulting creatures might look very different, but their evolutionary roots would remain the same.
Speculative biology also examines the evolution of fictional animals, such as dragons and mer-people. This sub-genre is often considered to be a part of a larger genre, cryptozoology. This is a genre of fiction that attempts to re-design mythical creatures from folklore into more biologically plausible forms. In addition to mer-people and dragons, this genre includes other monsters such as Bigfoot, Godzilla, and King Kong.
Another common element in the speculative biology genre is the use of flora. Authors will imagine a fictional planet and then create fauna that could evolve on it. They will usually use the field of zoology to do this, because they can imagine that faunas may have different characteristics due to the planet’s unique setting. For instance, a planet that has low gravity might make plants grow taller.
The speculative biology genre can be described as an alternative to the more traditional sci-fi genres. It is a genre that focuses on imagining the future of life, including the evolution of humans and other living organisms. This genre is often associated with awe-inspiring technologies, such as time travel and telekinesis.
Speculative biology is a sub-genre of fantasy
The speculative biology sub-genre of fantasy focuses on imagining the evolutionary development of creatures and organisms on other planets or in alternate timelines. It is a genre that draws on scientific theories of evolution and physics. It also includes art and literature that depict imaginary creatures, and can be viewed as an extension of the genre of science fiction. Speculative biology has its roots in the science fiction of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is an important genre of speculative fiction, and its ideas have been incorporated into various works of modern science fiction.
It can also be seen as an extension of science fiction and alternate history, in which artists and authors imagine what could have happened had certain key events taken place differently. This is sometimes referred to as “alternative evolution” or “alternate zoology.”
For example, the book After Man: A Zoology of the Future by Dougal Dixon is an example of a work that envisions the development of animals after humans have wiped out the species and been replaced with other intelligent life forms. The book has several illustrations of creatures that resemble dinosaurs and other familiar organisms. The book’s premise is that after the extinction of man, a variety of different animals will have evolved and will compete for food. The resulting competition will lead to the emergence of new species. The idea of alternative evolution has also been explored by other writers and artists, such as Olaf Stapledon’s 1930 novel Last and First Men.
Other speculative biology works have a more whimsical approach, such as the saga of Georges Chapouthier’s imaginary planet and its inhabitants. The saga depicts the evolution of living beings and their interactions, and is often described as a satire of human society.
Another popular speculative biology work is Cryptozoology, which involves reconstructing fictitious creatures or monsters from folklore and popular culture into more realistic forms. Examples include the creation of mer-people and dragons, though the concept can also be applied to other mythical beings such as unicorns, angels, demons, and giants.