Speculative biology is the scientific study of life in the future, on other worlds or in alternate timelines. It is often discussed as part of science fiction.
It springs from two fields: xenobiology, which is the study of alien biospheres; and synthetic biology, which envisions organisms not found in nature.
It is a literary genre
Speculative biology is a literary genre that combines science with fantasy. It draws inspiration from the world around us, but it also makes up its own universe using a scientifically informed creative process. Its focus is on imaginary ecosystems and species that are documented with data, narrative and art.
It is a genre that is widely read by adults and teens alike. Some works of speculative biology are a form of hard science fiction, while others are more based on alternate history. The genre often takes the concept of evolution and applies it to a “what if” question. It is commonly seen as a way to create an alternative world, and can take many forms, from a world with a time machine to a planet that is inhabited by aliens.
Some of the most popular books in speculative biology are those that explore the future of humankind and the Earth. These novels are usually more post-apocalyptic than purely utopian, but they still deal with an imagined alternative to the present day. The genre has a long history, with its first significant work coming in the form of Dougal Dixon’s 1981 book After Man: A Zoology of the Future.
In this book, Dixon focuses on the future of humankind and the evolution of the biosphere 50 million years into the future. He describes a variety of living organisms and the processes that would have taken place in the future, and it is considered to be one of the founding texts of the speculative biology genre.
A popular subgenre in speculative biology is xenobiology, which refers to the study of life outside of the Earth. The genre explores the potential of extraterrestrial life and the possibility of evolution among different species on other planets.
Another popular subgenre in speculative literature is bestiary, which refers to the study of a variety of animals and the ways that they behave. This literary genre has a long history, and it can be traced back to the bestiaries of antique times.
Bestiaries contain descriptions of living creatures and their characteristics, which are more detailed than those found in scientific publications at that time. They are influenced by the myths and legends of the ancient people and have been updated and supplemented over the centuries, often with new and sometimes fantastic details.
It is a practical application
Speculative biology is an interesting area of research that aims to explore the unknown. It can be a good way to learn about the natural world and how it works.
In speculative biology, scientists use their imagination to imagine what could be possible if things were different. This often involves creating new organisms, sometimes even completely different from those we have on Earth.
It can be a good way to think about how nature works and to find ways to change it. For example, scientists might consider whether animals that are unable to lay eggs can live in adulthood. This is a fascinating idea that might help us to understand the evolution of mammals.
Another common use of speculative biology is to create a world that is completely different from our own, which can allow us to explore how life might look in the future. This can help us to determine the impact of climate change and other environmental factors on our planet.
Moreover, speculative biology can also be used to make predictions about how the environment may change in the future. For instance, scientists might predict how the climate will change in 50 million years’ time or what kinds of animals might evolve on the distant planets in the universe.
Scientists can also use speculative biology to explore how different environments might affect the evolution of certain organisms. For example, a scientist might wonder if a planet with an oxygen-free atmosphere will be more suitable for the survival of certain species than a planet with high levels of carbon dioxide.
The earliest known work of speculative biology was Dougal Dixon’s 1981 book After Man. In this book, Dixon explored a world where human civilization had been wiped out. The book is credited with starting the speculative biology movement and inspired many people to take a broader interest in science.
One of the most popular speculative biology themes is alternative evolution, where a particular group of creatures is imagined to have evolved in an entirely different way from its ancestors. Examples of this theme include flightless pterosaurs and chiropterans, as well as intelligent dinosauroids.
It is a hobby
Speculative biology is a popular hobby among amateur biologists and animal fans, especially online. Those who participate in the hobby try to create creatures that make more sense in biological terms than those found in popular media.
It is also a form of worldbuilding that is inspired by science, biology, ecology, and geology. It uses scientific principles and laws to answer “what if” questions and to create scenarios in which creatures are found on other planets or in alternative timelines.
There are several sub-genres of speculative biology, including: Evolution of the Future (also known as Alternate Evolution), Evolution on Other Worlds, and Xenobiology. Xenobiology leaves Earth and its history behind entirely to explore life on other worlds or in other dimensions, with creatures based on molecules other than carbon.
Often characterized as “fantastic” or “bizarre,” these works explore what the world would be like if something happened in the past that changed the way evolution unfolded. This includes a wide range of scenarios, such as what life would be like if dinosaurs did not become extinct.
In speculative biology, the worldbuilding is more detailed than in other genres of fiction. It is influenced by many sources, but its emphasis on evolution and biology gives it a strong scientific basis.
As a fan of speculative biology, I have always been fascinated by the possibilities that could be explored in it. It is a great way to combine art with science, and I have made it my hobby!
The first speculative biology book I ever read was Dougal Dixon’s After Man, which was published in 1981. This book was the first speculative biology book to be widely distributed, and it is still considered a founding text of the genre today.
I’m currently a graduate student at Idaho State University studying vertebrate paleontology, and I’ve been interested in speculative biology since my childhood. I’m a big fan of the televised series The Future is Wild, which was one of the inspirations for my first speculative biology book, and I continue to follow the work of a number of other speculative biologists.
It is a cult
Speculative biology is a genre of literature and art creation, which has a special place among fans. In fact, it is not the same as detectives, dime-store novels or love novels – it is independent theme of literary and artistic creation, which aims to find new original ideas and themes and to give to readers pleasure.
Among speculative biological themes there are the question of origin of life, possible appearance of extraterrestrial live organisms and a number of others. Such topics are always connected with discussions of a possibility of presence of some living organisms on other planets, and also with discussion of the possible nature of biochemistry of living creatures, which would be able to get energy from their own molecules of biopolymers.
The most important theme in speculative biological research is the process of evolution of live organisms. However, in some situations such processes might be completely out of the range of scientific knowledge. Often, speculative biological writers come to conclusions and assume the facts, which have not yet been confirmed by real science.
As a rule, such statements are just speculations, which are not accepted in real science. The reason is that the scientific method requires a constant cycle of testing and refining of ideas. This cycle can take a long time, and in the end, it is hard to be sure that the speculations that are being made are valid.
One of the most famous works of speculative biology is the book “After Man” by Dougal Dixon. This work was a groundbreaking one because it introduced the idea of a vast world of species, which were spectacularly illustrated in colour.
It was a huge success for the author and for speculative biology in general, as it had a great impact on the way in which the field was perceived by the public. It was the first book to explore the possibility of creating a whole world of animals, and it was also the first to be published by a major mainstream publisher.
Other books by Dixon, including The New Dinosaurs and The Future is Wild, continued the trend of speculative biology in this direction. Some of these books, especially the latter, have been reprinted and reissued many times, attracting new generations of readers.