1. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    How could an advanced race become extinct?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Passero, Feb 25, 2014.

    I've had the idea of writing a short story about a highly developed race somewhere in the universe. They are on the brink of extinction. There is no way to save them, so a group of scientists want to put a very basic life form on a comet and manipulate that comet so it will eventually crash on a planet that can support life.

    The story will show that it's difficult to find a suitable planet however when they find one, it should be clear (based upon description) that the planet they found, is Earth.

    In order to make is somewhat realistic I need to find an event that would cause that race to be extinct. Considering they are an advanced race as they can manipulate the trajectory of comets, asteroids and put life forms on it so it will survive the trip.

    I came up with a few ideas, but I would like to hear your input on how realistic this would be and if it would fit the setting.

    1) Because it's an advanced race, we can safely assume they have been living on the planet for a while. Their sun is starting to expand and will destroy the planet. Although they are advanced, they do not have sufficient technology to colonize other planets or travel vast distances into space. I'm not entirely sure if this is realistic...

    2) They are at the losing at of a war with an even more advanced race. Most of them are already dead and the other race is about to make their final move to kill all remaining survivors.
    This would be nice for the plot, as the scientist would also need to find a way of executing their plan without being noticed.

    3) Gamma Ray Burst. A planet is doomed if a GRB is on its way to it. There is not much you can do about it... I'm not 100% sure if this is accurate. If I am correct, the earth has already been hit by such a ray and the creatures living deep down in the ocean were saved.

    Other ideas are also more than welcome!
     
  2. Darkcula
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    Darkcula Member

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    No offence here, but isn't it sort of a cliche?
    I mean look at Dragon Ball and Superman, their plot commences from the same idea which you are talking about.
     
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  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Disease, war, abusive consumption of resources, pollution, combination of the aforementioned, etc. I think the greater question is how an advanced civilization manages not to go extinct.
     
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  4. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    The easiest is an airborne treatment resistant virus.
     
  5. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Depending on what the alien race is like, it could be nothing like those stories. Just because one plot point is similar doesn't mean the whole thing is doomed.
     
  6. Darkcula
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    Darkcula Member

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    Yes, you might be right but this was supposed to be a short story that's why I thought that the plot should be unique.
     
  7. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    Well, my take to it would be a little bit different. I was not planning on putting a "human" on a comet. Instead that race would put a very basic life form on the comet that has the basic of their DNA. It would still require millions of years of evolution to evolve into a "human".
    The story would also explain that they did multiple simulations based upon the DNA basis and eventually, it will always evolve to something similar.

    So in a way, it's saving their race, but with a twist :p
     
  8. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I thought this was one of the hypothesis of how the human race came about. A comet hit the earth with our DNA, it hit water and polluted the water, and a lightening strike awakened the DNA which began to replicate and evolve into us and all the other creatures that we have today.
     
  9. Darkcula
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    Darkcula Member

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    How about you provide an anticlimax for this story. The basic life form evolves into some kinda monster and eradicates the entire population. He then jumps from planet to planet looking for species to serve as his diet.You can explain with reasons why the implementation of the simulation fails. [Insane though].
     
  10. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    Yup... That's the entire aim of the story. Telling the story on that comet came to earth :)
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You mean like on Earth?
     
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  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Watch the classic science fiction movie Forbidden Planet for one scenario. The Krell were so advanced they forgot they, like any other sentient beings, have a dark side that must not be given free rein.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
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  13. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    ...and when they all died, they were made into Krill oil which is very good for your heart.
     
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  14. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    There is an active theory that there is and has been life throughout the Universe but, from the invention of radio waves, most species succeed in wiping themselves out within two hundred years of this discovery. While that is not an answer per se, perhaps it'll give you a direction to look into. I'm sure there's a list of potential bitter ends accompanying an explanation of this theory on the web. You might review it and pick one you like.
     
  15. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    We're doing it to ourselves right now. (By more than one method, too). Changing the atmosphere so that it becomes too hot to sustain most lifeforms that have evolved, destroying forests, oceans and the ecosystems of which we are a part, killing off other plants and animals, destroying the diversity of life, and ruining the ground so we can't grow enough food to sustain ourselves, creating too much waste -- polluting water and air, as well as nuclear waste. Creating situations that will allow pathogenic microbes to triumph.
     
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  16. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    1. Colonize other worlds.
    2. Find a balance within their biosphere. Animals all have a balance, but assuming the top predator is the sentient life form, it's imperative they learn to develop a balance.
    3. If calamity/holocaust/Armageddon is inevitable, they could store 1000s of their people in underground chambers to re-emerge some decades or centuries later.
     
  17. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    That's the human way! Screw up one environment, then just move on to another one! Rinse and repeat.
     
  18. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    I don't think it's human only. Any species that becomes sentient is going to learn how to be the top predator. It's the survival instinct evolved.
     
  19. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    Everybody, thanks for the input.

    I'm looking for an event that is believable that could make the advanced race extinct. if they have the technology to terraform and colonize than messing up the environment with nuclear waste or what ever wouldn't make them extinct. They will just move on to the next planet as @Lewdog suggest.

    That's why I was thinking about a war.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I were to choose, I would go for something that prevents reproduction. That would allow the society to continue to exist for the lifetime of the youngest person, so there'd be plenty of time to send out their DNA, but in the end they would all be dead, with no escape and no survivors.
     
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  21. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    What about their star going super nova? death of a star would be out of their control surely. You could make it so their civilisation is linked with their home planet e.g. government and trade etc and when its destroyed the colonies essentially go dark, some would die off from lack of resources, some might die off later after trying to make it on their own etc.

    Are there any other races? a less advanced more aggressive one? raiders? they could capitalize on the death of their home planet, raid and kill the colonies.
     
  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's beginning to sound like Battlestar Galactica Mark II...
     
  23. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    But what will they have achieved by sending DNA fragments to Earth? Evolving into something "similar" means very little. We are very similar to chimpanzees, genetically.

    No culture, technology, ethics, language, will have been preserved. Why would they make the effort? We could have developed into a species of monsters. (behaviour, not appearance)

    And what about all the other living things on Earth? Did they come from a different originating source? For a while it looked like Dinosaurs would be dominant species forever. If the "Dinosaur killer" asteroid strike theory is correct, then their extinction was an accident.
     
  24. Red Herring
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    Red Herring Member

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    I think an airborne viral pandemic would be the most plausible, and one that wouldn't need much explanation or exposition. Though, it is a bit more cliché than say your GRB idea.

    But I have to say, it seems kind of strange how these beings can manipulate a comet's trajectory with absolute precision to another solar system, which might be many light years away (Earth's closest solar system is over 10 light yrs away), but they don't have any sort of space travelling capabilities.

    It is, however, an interesting idea. I think a near by GRB would be better because it's a bit different.
     
  25. Auratus
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    Auratus Member

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    I have an idea. There are an advanced race, so highly advanced that they think disease and death is all but gone. But one day, an horrible disease spread so fast, so great and so mutable that their technology become ineffective, they were caught unprepared and what was unthinkable (fall of civilization and extinction) become imminent. "so a group of scientists want to put a very basic life form on a comet and manipulate that comet so it will eventually crash on a planet that can support life." With some speck of genius. :)

    Ever heard "Ancient alien" thing. Some claim alien contract ancient civilization and help them shape civilization, which also affect us.
     
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