1. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    Aliens interested in humans for food...?

    Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Zadocfish, Feb 16, 2017.

    This is a sci-fi cliche that gets more nonsensical the more I think of it. Like... our meat has the same taste and consistency as that of pigs, which produce more meat, grow faster, have less strict nutritional requirements to reach eating age, and reproduce faster than humans. Besides that, any race advanced enough to bridge the space of stars to reach Earth must surely be advanced enough to produce their own preferred food in abundance! The only reason any alien race would be interested in us for food would be pure bloodlust, which isn't how most of the "to serve man" crowd is portrayed. It's just... silly.

    Just wanted to vent.
     
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  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Given that we're talking about a race of beings evolved from a completely different lineage and set of events, I would be left to wonder how human flesh wouldn't be viciously poisonous to them.

    ETA: I would like to add that while, yes, coming to Earth just to eat us is silly, it's better than the more lurid trope of coming to Earth to have sex with us. :blech:
     
  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm inclined to believe that most aliens would find us at worst lethally poisonous, or at least non-nutritive. But there's always the possibility that life on Earth was "seeded" by a biologically compatible race as a future food repository, or as a hunting preserve. There is also the possibility that under similar conditions, the same general chemical and physical conditions would produce the same collection of basic chemical building blocks - not necessarily DNA/RNA, but the same amino acids, the fundamental building blocks of proteins (see the Miller-Urey experiment).

    Still, interstellar distance would make quite a high grocery bill. There would have to be easier ways to feed alien gullets. Most people, even science geeks, fail to grasp the scale of the universe. Interstellar travel would have to be very cheap indeed to make any resource worth pursuing even to neighboring stellar systems.
     
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  4. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    Exactly. It grows slowly, is dangerous to harvest, costs a shitload due to shipping costs, and may actually be poisonous. In other words, a delicacy reserved for the most discriminating (and wealthy, which is the same thing) gourmets...
     
  5. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm led to believe that man-eating sharks only do so because their poor eyesight mistakes a wet-suit clad skin diver for their preferred food (near the surface, near the coast) seals/sealions. So, not even the preferred food source for an opportunist predator.
     
  6. Vandor76

    Vandor76 Contributing Member

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    Have you seen the Predator movie?
     
  7. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Contributing Member

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    The technology they would need to build a vehicle that can exceed relativistic speed while avoiding the impact of interstellar gasses must be so far advanced that food security would be the least of their problems. Likewise, that intelligence and technology puts them so far above us that hunting humans would be like us stepping outside and intentionally stomping on worms while wearing armored boots.
     
  8. Razortooth

    Razortooth Member

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    A cool idea might be that they are highly adaptive aliens who having exhausted their own food supply have reengineered themselves to be able to tolerate humans. They would have to be somewhat adaptive anyway to be a space traveling species.
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Another and really creepy idea could be that they are only willing to eat sentient creatures.
     
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  10. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Unworthy in the eyes of the LORD Contributor

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    "Brains!"
     
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  11. RWK

    RWK Senior Member

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    Still, they would only need to abduct a few thousand people. With fertility drugs they could have huge herds in no time at all. There's a reason beef production was based on domesticated cattle for thousands of years.

    As an approach I don't see it selling. Predator with its hunting aspect works. If Aliens invade, it will be for something we have: air, water, or some substance we don't even recognize as valuable. Or simply for control of a usable system. Look at America: the Indians were simply a irritant; what the settlers wanted was the land itself.
     
  12. Stephen1974

    Stephen1974 Member

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    Earth is a take away.
    The aliens screwed up thier planet, they are on their way to a new planet, but they've run out of food and need a snack.
    Problem solved.
     
  13. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've had some pretty intense discussions a number of astronomers and physicists over this very topic.

    Humans are just a terrible food supply. You don't want a food supply to have a mind of it's own, there is a reason that we eat stupid animals like cows, fish, goats. They are easy to keep complacent. They also have a high output to input ratio. You get a lot of meat for the amount that you have to feed a cow, because most caloric processing goes to creating meat. For humans, 30% of our daily intake of calories just goes to fueling our brains. That's a total waste if you are raising them for food. I find it quite unlikely that any advanced species would really grow animals anyway. With the technology trends, I find it more likely that we'll simply be able to grow meat the way we do plants. We already know how to do that, we grow replacement (simple) organs all the time, and muscles are pretty simple.

    From an evolutionary standpoint, most stomachs are designed to eat one particular type of food. Many species have gone extinct simply because their food supply ran out, in a biosphere that's still full of life. Humans happen to be generalists, but that's rare. A stomach would likely break whatever it eats down with acid, so that it can use the sugars and amino acids to keep itself going. The problem is that amino acids are complex, and we only use a subset of the complete set of possible ones. It's likely they'll share some, but not all. Those extra amino acids may do nothing when eaten, or they could be wildly lethal.

    As for Earth having something aliens want: the problem is that Earth is pretty unremarkable. The air is mostly nitrogen, which is super common. It really doesn't have that much water compared to other places even within our own solar system. It's metals are common throughout space, and if land is all you want there is lots of that available too. The idea that a species conquered Earth because it's exactly like the world they destroyed doesn't really work either. While the ingredients of Earth are not unique, it's blend is very specific. Earth life would likely not even survive on Earth at a different time period. If you somehow traveled in time back to the age of the dinosaurs, after about an hour, you'd probably have a seizure from the oxygen content being too high.

    I find the Predator story the most likely. I could easily see of a race with a hunting or war culture who would hunt aliens as prizes like the less enlightened of us do with big game in Africa.
     
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  14. Stormburn

    Stormburn Active Member

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    Funny, War of the Worlds had the Martians using humans as food. Well's had them piping human blood directly into their systems. In the book the remains of a martian humanoid creature was discovered also. Wells never did explain if this was the Martian's primary food source or a delicacy.
     
  15. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Of course I am serious. :P Contributor

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    Humans for food is as nonsensical as Aliens coming to earth to strip mine it.
    There is probably more readily available inhabitants a few planets/systems
    over. Besides humans are full of chemicals from the food we eat, and the
    pharmaceuticals many imbibe on a daily basis.
    So would you really want to eat a human after finding out all the weird
    shit inside of them?

    Yeah the whole "we come to score with your women/men" thing is just
    as hokey a concept.

    Though if you want to have a nice parody short theme it on the premise
    that the aliens misread some words and instead of saying, "Take me to
    your leader." It comes out instead as,"Take me to your dealer."
    Or something in that fashion.

    Or you can do something where the humans go off to another planet
    and eat the aliens, instead. 180 the roles could make for an interesting
    story after a fashion.
     
  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I suppose to an ominivorous alien any carbon based life form might be considered food ... so they've not come to earth/human colony specifically they just stumble upon it on their way through.

    I also don't really buy the , but prey is intelligent thing ... if they are massively technologically advanced on humans, then they would just see us as backward primates.... monkeys are relatively intelligent but people still shoot and eat them
     
  17. pyroglyphian

    pyroglyphian Active Member

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    Our market research shows that it's special offers on business lunches and birthdays that most attract aliens* to La Casa Tierra.

    *Please, we prefer to call them beings of non-local origin.
     
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  18. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member Contributor

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    A popular sci if trope that I actually find quite plausible is aliens abducting humans for scientific experiments. If you want to know everything about a creature you have to observe its behavior both in its own environment and in finely tuned experiments. Ala The Scientific Method from Star Trek Voyager.
     
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  19. AustinFrom1995

    AustinFrom1995 Senior Member

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    Mmmmm...Tastes like Human!

    Personally, I always thought the "aliens munching humans" plot was stupid, aside from obvious biochemical barriers, Humans are relatively bony in comparison to other species of similar size. The only really meaty parts are the thighs and belly, as others on here have said, why eat Human when pig is a more worthwhile meal? Although it would be funny to see a story that subverts the "Human delicacy", and Humans are seen as the equilvilent to really greasy junkfood.
     
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  20. markferoz

    markferoz New Member

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    The War of the Worlds film comes to mind. But I guess when you have time on your hands you can try a lot of things. Seeding planets for food at a later date is not too far fetched.
     
  21. Pharthan

    Pharthan Member

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    Considering the majority of alien species we encounter are likely to be carnivorous due to high nutrient loading of meat allowing for other tasks than hunting, it may be a dominance thing. We're the top of the food chain here, and they want to be the top of all food chains. Literally or figuratively.
     
  22. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Of course I am serious. :P Contributor

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    I had a derp moment, where I thought the thread was:
    Aliens arrested for using humans as food. :D

    I am such a stup. :p
     
  23. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    if you think about it in reverse - if we colonised a planet on which the native dominant species was carbon based and edible , would we eat them ? course we would .... we've got to kill them anyway so we may as well barbeque them too.. its not war folks, we're just um.. hunting
     
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  24. NateSean

    NateSean Active Member

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    Well, if we're referencing the HG Wells version of War Of The Worlds, those aliens evolved on Mars, which is in the same Solar System as us. It's not a stretch to think the two races would evolve with similar enough traits.

    To the greater subject of aliens using us as a food source, some have cited the concept of biological compatibility. On the other hand there could just be a completely alien reason for their wanting to eat us. Think of all the things people eat on this planet for no other reason than some obscure religious ritual or tradition.

    Shark fins have no real flavor or taste but great effort goes in to fishing and mutilating sharks just so people can plunk down almost a hundred dollars a bowl for shark fin soup.

    Eating human flesh has serious health complications but that doesn't stop ritualistic cannibalism from happening.
     
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  25. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    Huh. Good point. I could see eating sapient beings as a ritualistic/cultural rite in an alien culture. Most human cultures got over it, but in our history there were several cultures that thought that by eating parts of a person, you would inherit their power. Scientific skill doesn't necessarily imply a scientific mindset... at least, for the members of the society who aren't engineers. Interesting ideas.
     
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