A Conversation for The Lounge

Tripod life forms

Post 1

Paigetheoracle

I remember somebody arguing that HG Wells three legged creatures in The War Of The Worlds, were not possible as a life form. I said what about people who moved about on crutches, swinging their legs between them as one unit? Then there are Mudskippers, who use two fins to get about and their tails as a third 'leg.' So what do other people think about the possibility that we may find other planets that have three legged life forms rather than two or four? How viable do you think such creatures would be?


Tripod life forms

Post 2

Bluebottle

There was an episode of 'QI' in which it was said that a kangaroo uses its tail effectively as a third leg, with muscles used to help propel it forward.
See: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140701-kangaroo-animals-hopping-mammals-australia/ (although this defines it as a 'fifth leg', so it depends on whether you define a kangaroo as having 2 arms or if they're legs.)

<BB<


Tripod life forms

Post 3

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Getting around on three legs would be awkward. If a dog loses a leg, he/she can still get around, but it's difficult.

On the other hand, if a lifeform had wheels, then it could roll forward like a tricycle, which would be wuite reasonable. smiley - smiley


Tripod life forms

Post 4

Baron Grim

Body parts probably tend to fall in groups of binary coefficients, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, &c.

Cellular division follows that progression so it would seem logical.

But then again, insects have 6 appendages and squids 10, so what do I know?


Tripod life forms

Post 5

ITIWBS

Insects have 12 appendages if you count their wings and antenna.

Crustaceans often follow a similar rule.

occasional species of bottom dwelling fish use an extension of their tale along with their pectoral fins to get around on the bottom of their habitat.

Air planes often use tripodal landing gear.

Robert A. Heinlein often used tripeds for his 'Martians'.

(Amusing to visualize them running.)

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournele's 'Grayson's Puppeteers' had three legs and two heads, the latteralso functioning as hands.


Tripod life forms

Post 6

Paigetheoracle

Paulh, I have seen a video of a dog that lost both its back legs but could still get around very well. It looked bizarre but the dog was very happy. I think nature gives us two of everything so that we have got a spare to fall back on, if we lose one (Two legs better and Animal Farm springs to mind). As for tail use - you could say it is a pair of legs fused together and yes, I had forgotten about Kangeroos.


Tripod life forms

Post 7

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

It has occurred to me that a monkey has five appendages if you count the tail. We lack the tail. Do we get around more or less easily than monkeys?


Tripod life forms

Post 8

ITIWBS

A spider monkey gets tremendous use of its tail for swinging through the trees.

smiley - evilgrinMyself I use a rope, like Tarzan.


Tripod life forms

Post 9

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

If the grapevines in my yard get any longer, I will *feel* like Tarzan.


Tripod life forms

Post 10

Recumbentman

The late great Ken Dodd had a three-legged chicken joke

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHihHjJ4X80


Tripod life forms

Post 11

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

When I buy chicken legs, they come in packages of 5. I sometimes wonder what a 5-legged chicken would look like.


Tripod life forms

Post 12

ITIWBS

....maybe something like a star fish, with eyes, coxcomb and beak in the middle...


Tripod life forms

Post 13

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Someone once suggested a transgenic creature based on a sea cucumber, but with chicken breast inside it.


Tripod life forms

Post 14

Paigetheoracle

I remember Rolf Harris used to sing a song called Jake the Peg, with an Extra Leg and had a third limb when he performed it, moving about the stage on it. Of course that mysterious third limb got him into trouble and jailed but it wasn't his leg


Tripod life forms

Post 15

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

It's part of the ineffable cosmic balance. Adam lost a rib because it was made into Eve. But he had an appendage that Eve didn't have.smiley - erm

Okay, I can see that I'm getting further and further out on a limb, so I think I'll jump onto that nice trampoline that's right below me smiley - boing


Tripod life forms

Post 16

ITIWBS

Watch out for low hanging branches.


Tripod life forms

Post 17

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

I like those, because they have the easiest fruit to pick.


Tripod life forms

Post 18

SashaQ - happysad

"On the other hand, if a lifeform had wheels, then it could roll forward like a tricycle, which would be wuite reasonable."

Yes, getting around on wheels is quite reasonable indeed smiley - ok

One of my favourite book series is The Tripods by John Christopher - viable or no, they do make for effectively scary aliens smiley - weirdsmiley - ok


Tripod life forms

Post 19

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Centipedes and Millipedes seem to have overdone it in the leg department, though. smiley - bigeyes


Tripod life forms

Post 20

ITIWBS

Centipede and millipede legs are organized neurologically in sets of three.

Every time the third leg in a group moves, the second preceding moves again.

Its an evolutionary point that groups them with insects rather than arachnids or crustaceans.


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