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In the Tyranid forums somebody asked about Tyranid teeth and it became a debate about Tyranids and thier similarities to animals. I thought it would be good to contine this in a better place.
Basically what do people think Tyranids have in common with creatures living on our world. The Star nosed Mole is one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Nosed_Mole It has a nose covered in tentacles that is uses to hunt it's prey. This is exactly what Lictors do with thier feeder tendrils.
The Mantis Shrimp has also been talked about. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_shrimp It has an attack as powerful as a bullet and vastly superior abilities in many ways to us.
I was wondering does anybody else have ideas or info concerning critters that have something in common with Tyranids.
Well, a Carnifex is kinda like a psychotically violent elephant... :rofl
All jokes aside, I don't think that Tyranid creatures are supposed to have parallels in real life, rather, they're supposed to be combinations of many different creatures. They've basically evolved to be the ultimate predators so just take a look at any predatory species in the world and they've probably got some kind of qualities in common, because they're good for hunting prey. Generally, this involves them being superhumanly fast or stealthy, or just plain big. Plus, I think you'd be pretty hard pressed to find an equivalent for a Zoanthrope in nature. Have we discovered psychic animals yet?
Yes but they keep mind wiping us to stop us discoving their evil plots to take over the world!
The nids are basically natures chop shop, taking pieces and attributes from differing species so it might be easier to look at the question as what pieces of nids have parallels in nature.
The scything talons and general 6 limb ness are both quite insectoid characteristics and the Bombadier beetle is capable of projecting an acid like compound from its body which has parallels with bio-plasma and acid blood mutations in the nid list
The main problem I have with relating Tyranids to bugs is based on biology.
Now, I'm no undeniable expert, but I spent perhaps 7 years working in the marine life field in general, and a bit of that time as a dolphin trainer out in Hawaii. Redundant info for Tyranid forum readers.
In any event, Tyranids are definitively not insectoid from the get-go glance. The presence of veins and complete skeletal structures immediately indicates vertebrates with closed circulatory systems. Insects are invertebrates with open circulatory systems.
Even the concept of the hive mind being related to swarms / ant colonies is entirely inaccurate. Ants behave instinctively through an in-bred hive mind of sorts. Their actions and reactions occur with the colony as a whole in mind regardless of their proximity to any acting figurehead.
With Tyranids, on the other hand, they act as quite independent creatures with only the capacities of their own mental limits as soon as they are outside the controlling influence of the Hive Mind, and in fact it is a controlling influence. Whereas ants and other colonial insects operate independently but off a very rigid set of instincts that inherently cause group synergy, Tyranids either act on their own, or act at the direct whim of the Hive Mind itself. When in the colony, they aren't acting on instinct at all. They're acting as puppets.
Biologically, other than the major issue of circulatory system and vertebrate nature, many Tyranids behave like higher order crustaceans such as Stomatopods (the aforementioned Mantis Shrimp ... shrimp is a bad word to use for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that they aren't shrimp at all, and are a distinct branch of crustacea most closely related to lobsters). Stomatopods have highly developed senses, strengths, and are relatively durable. Their predatory behavior and aggressive posturing closely matches Tyranids, as well as several biomorphs such as scything talons . Furthermore, they are at the pinnacle of evolution in every sense of the word, with advantages such as the only macroscopic animal known to actively utilize wheeled locomotion, extreme intelligence relative to their peers, including proven abilities to discover weak points in aquarium glass for the breaking and solving mazes, the most complex visual system in the world, one of the fastest strike speeds known, ability to see many more colors and spectrums than anything else, etc.
These advancements in a lot of ways feel like Tyranids to me, but it is right to say that Tyranids are a cut above the rest in the fluff sense.
Honestly, the best comparisons for Tyranids would really have to be dinosaurs, or reptiles, but with a twist. There is NOTHING to indicate *most* of them as more intelligent than the thunder lizards ever were, and while under the impulse of the Hive Mind it doesn't really matter how intelligent they are. Individuals like genestealers and raveners are possessed of an alien cunning, but not intelligence per se, and so are very easy to compare to pack hunting, cunning/ingelligent predators such as Deinonychus (not the overblown and misrepresented raptors of Jurassic Park, which were simply tiny less capable versions of Deinonychus). One could compare Fexes and Tyrants to the larger predators. In addition, extensive and growing evidence supporting that at least some dinosaurs were warm-blooded would back up the agility and overall heightened activity levels of the 'Nids. Furthermore, many dinos possessed a wide variety of adaptations analogous to Tyranid close combat morphs, ranging from retractable slashing claws to bony spurs and plates for protection.
In the end, though, let's not forget that 'Nids possess advanced biotechnology, firing weapons with invertebrate living ammunition, incredible psychic abilities and communication, etc. etc.
Just my initial $.02
In short, I think that GW honestly had insect swarms in mind when they created the 'Nids as they currently are, with a central queen popping out babies and hive mentality centered around a queen, etc. They just don't know jack diddly piss about biology is all, and so it came out all assbackwards.
Nids & Guard
GMail = MVBrandt
Tyranids do also use many microscopic lifeforms to do thier bidding or simply take thier place in the hive. It is interesting to note that bacteria have been known to survive in space without any protection. http://www.space.com/scienceastronom...ce_000121.html
I believe that with the creation of the nids it goes back to be a mix/match of the most adventageous traits of all animals. While they have a reptilian appearance and are most sertainly vertibrates it alos seems that they host sizeble portion of exoskeleon like insects. They are most likely not warm or cold blooded but a higher evolved form of circulatory system. The same goes with their social structure, while they obiously TRIED to base nit off social insects they just had to make it 40first millemiumish by making it higher evolved with instead of benefical social instinct and pheremone control, they use galactic spanning network of psychic signals forming into one greater benefical social "Mind".
2500pts Emperors Children
1000pts Dark Eldar Cabal of Agony Eternal
As Bradt stated, rather cooly since i rather like discovering stuff like that, it's a mix and match. Didn't know about the crustaceans angle as i'm more of a student of bugs and viruses myself, but they do look have have fished about in various nature books to come up with nids and adapted where necessary. I still think of their structure as a more ideal and advanced insect colony, but instead of the occasionally unreliable system of strict insects and pheromonal controls of a more standard colony, the Hive Mind suppresses that and uses it's psychic prescence to drive them in perfect unison.
That said independants like Stealers do tend to display a somewhat independant cunning you'd come to expect from solitary hunters like dinosaurs, combined with what is for me the rather insect like quality of laying it's eggs in a host creature (i'm thinking mainly of the many families of wasp that act in such a way) only sneaker because the rest of the preys society can't find out out the implantation.
Firstly, Tyranids are a superorganism.. It's all very well to describe them as insect-like, but then, look at the hive ships (after all, all the other tyranids might just be considered subfunctions of the hive ship, like the cells in our own bodies.) Hiveships look like some kind of Nautilus on bad steroids..
I don't think GW set out to make them insect-like.. They have more than 4 limbs and partial exoskeleton, which inclines us to think like that, but then, they also physically have a lot in common with reptiles and dinosaurs, especially the carnifex.
At the end of the day, most tyranids are weapons.. Some can't even eat or reproduce. It's not worth comparing them with any kind of earth life, in my opinion, because they have more in common with cells working together in a living body.
I actually don't believe GW had to give them the kind of biological advancements they have to make them fit with the 40k world.
One of the common things that bothers me is when people refer the Tyranids to Starship Troopers.
They are, in fact, not AT ALL similar in appearance or structure to the "bugs" of SST ... in fact, the "bugs" of SST are quite insectoid in their design structure in all ways - invertebrate, exoskeletal, open circulatory systems, etc.
Tyranids do NOT have exoskeletons, to those who are referring to it. Having bony or chitinous plates developed for protection outside your body is not by definition an exoskeleton ... there are many mammals with bony spurs and plates developed and they are not exoskeletal. Tyranids possess a clear if on occasion poorly-covered skeletal structure ... you can see the barely-internal ribs on most Tyranid forms, with skin stretched over.
So, my short summary is that if GW intended to make them insect-like, they failed utterly in a technical sense, but obviously succeeded in perception in that many people view them as insectlike regardless of the lack of any similarities beyond aesthetics.
Nids & Guard
GMail = MVBrandt
I always thought that the Tyranids looked half like bugs half like lizards. If anything they have more in common with the Zerg from Starcraft - OH wait. Blizzard did copy all of Starcraft from Warhammer 40K. Nvm then ^^
imo the Zerg are much more insect like.