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This paper is based on the assumption of a Planet X in the solar system. X is responsible for the survival of a few alien species (Z) and other plants. These novel creatures have distinct characteristics that enable them to survive the planet's harsh climatic conditions. Such characteristics include both individual organs and biological structures that are well suited to their functions. Furthermore, the research attempts to explain the inorganic aspects of X's surface, such as the terrain, and the part it plays in sustaining the existence of these alien beings.
X is the second closest to the sun and almost the size of planet Mars and much smaller than Earth. That being the case, it has a low mass and consequently experiences 70% lesser gravitational force compared to that of Earth (Ahrens 36). This means that the aliens are in most cases flying since they weigh much less in X. However, they have special organs that aid in increasing their weight when they want to land on its surface. Also, the planet is such that the nights are always longer than the days by a difference of two to three hours. This, as we shall see, plays a significant role in the survival of these aliens with regards to thermal response.
Further, the atmosphere is such that it has an extremely thin layer of gases that is insufficient to support both plant and animal life. X’s atmospheric pressure is nearly one hundred and twenty that of planet Earth (Ahrens 36). An ordinary human being cannot breathe while on the surface of this planet yet the aliens live and breathe comfortably through a very elaborate and unique system. The air composition is such that Carbon (IV) Oxide constitutes 90% of total air volume, Nitrogen 6%, Oxygen 3%, and 1% traces of water vapor. Surprisingly, the aliens can use mechanisms within their body structure that harness these aspects including the high levels of the CO2 composition to carry out vital live processes such as respiration.
Due to its proximity to the sun, X has very harsh climatic conditions which are relatively consistent all year round. The aliens live in the tropical regions which are about 170/2 degrees South or North of the equator. This is because the equatorial sun is too severe and can get to 25 C. Similarly, the polar regions have extremely low temperatures of about -170 C during the winters. The tropics are comparatively favorable for these alien creatures and has a relatively high temperature of 15 C during the day which falls to 9C during the long nights.
Despite the fact that X’s atmosphere has a negligible precipitation of about 1%, the terrain has pools of a particular liquid Y which equates to the water present on Earth. However, one may wonder why Y never evaporates yet it is exposed to extremely high temperatures. First, the liquid is green in color and has a higher density of about 1.8g/cm3 and constitutes 30% of the tropical region terrain. Studies show that the higher the density of Liquid Y, the lower its evaporation rate. In comparison, water which has a density of 1g/cm3 and covers 70% of the surface of the Earth (Becerra 3). Also, the general terrain is hilly with mountains as high as 1 kilometer above the ground. Besides the rugged landscape, the planet also has deep and long valleys which look like canyons. During the colder seasons, Liquid Y is seen to flow in streams and filling up the numerous ponds.
Regarding the wind and its movements, the area experiences rapid air movements especially, during daytime. The wind blows heavily and carries with it rocks and dust particles. The constant flow of air is very crucial for the survival of the aliens since they use it in thermal regulation and general locomotion. However, the solid particles pose a threat to them and in this regard, they have developed adaptive features.
Additionally, some organic plant live exists on the planet. One wonders how these alien plants survive it the unconducive environment. The primary flora existing within the region either grow adjacent to Liquid Y ponds or float on the surface of the fluid. Importantly, these plants only thrive within the valleys where the pools are located as this also shields them from the effects of intense sunlight. These plants are usually low lying and hardly grow above 2 feet above the surface.
The animal life is perhaps the most predominant as it forms a population of about fifty alien creatures surviving on planet X. This paper extensively focuses on these strange beings which have over the years developed numerous mechanisms, features, organs, and systems that enable them to live within the severe conditions. The alien animals, which are referred to as Z, have numerous characteristics which resonate with the physiology, anatomy, and behavior of human beings. Like the flora, Z are mostly found within the valleys and live in sheltered areas within the rocky terrain.
Functioning of Organs and Organ Systems
This paper looks at two organs and five organ systems (Reiss and Sue 384). These include:
Integumentary System and Organ R
In order to survive the harsh climatic, atmospheric, and terrain conditions, Alien Z has a complex external covering mechanism that is well adapted to its function and environment. The integumentary system of the alien is mainly composed of a well-structured Organ R which acts as the outer shell. In comparison, both the human skin and Organ R are similar in that they protect both the alien and human beings from harmful external conditions such as the intense sunlight and also create a barrier preventing damage from objects that come in close contact with such as dust particles or rocks (Reiss and Sue 385). Similarly, both coverings help in the synthesis of vital substances for the body when exposed to sunlight. Organ R creates a large surface area for the chemical reaction between the sunlight and atmospheric gases to generate Oxygen. The skin is also able to synthesize vitamin D when it comes to contact with the morning sun (Engelsen 485). Both coverings also help in response to stimuli. In the same way that the human skin regulates body temperatures through hairs and layer of fat beneath it, the Alien’s casing responds to high temperature by opening pores that allow wind to flow within its numerous layers and cool the organism. Further, when the temperatures are low, these openings close and, Z retains its internal temperatures. On the other hand, the human skin differs from Z’s external shell in that it has melanin which filters the sun’s harmful UV rays, has hairs on it, and can grow as well as regenerate. Though the human skin operates biologically, the external cover of Z is more of a skeletal structure that functions mechanically.
Respiratory system- use of energy- digestive
Planet X is mainly composed of Carbon (IV) Oxide which makes up 90% of the total atmospheric gas volume. This presents a challenge since the presence of Oxygen is scanty. Alien Z takes advantage of the intense Ultraviolet rays from the sun since the shallow atmosphere allows almost 75% of the total UV rays to penetrate through it and reach the surface of X. The outer covering of the alien is treated with numerous chemicals that can combine the UV rays from the sun and CO2 to produce Oxygen which is necessary for breathing (Engelsen 486). The surface also has some enzymes which hasten this process. This is known as the zapping process as illustrated below:
After that, the Oxygen gas generated is transported from the outer shell to the digestive system which is responsible for the generation of more energy. Unlike in human beings where these two systems operate independently, both the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems of Alien Z are intertwined in terms of their function. Also, though the human breathing system is composed of sophisticated organ systems of gaseous exchange such as the lungs, alveoli, trachea, and the nose, Z has a simple mechanism of generating Oxygen through the outer covering and incorporating it into the energy-generating system (Maxwell 218). Further, Z only relies on mechanical systems for transporting O2, unlike human beings who depend on the circulatory system to convey oxygen to nourish the various tissues and organs.
Digestive System and Organ P
Alien Z has a fairly simplified digestive system since it only feeds on two types of foods. These include Liquid Y and the floating plant which were described earlier in this paper. The alien has a mouth-like structure where it ingests these foods. Unlike in human beings where food is first broken down mechanically and combined with salivary enzymes, once the Alien Z up takes these substances, they are transported directly to Organ P (Reiss and Sue 391). Upon reaching this organ, the Liquid Y and the plant food materials are combined with the Oxygen generated by the respiratory system. This reaction is highly exothermic and produces varying amounts of heat and energy depending on the quantity needed and the activity of the Alien. For instance, if Z intends to engage in flying for a long distance, it first goes to the nearest pond and ingests large quantities of the floating plant and Liquid Y to generate the maximum amount of energy required in this task.
Further, Organ P is specially designed to adapt to the high amount of heat generated during this reaction. First, it has a hard internal coating which does not conduct heat to other parts of the organism. As well, the inner layer is resistant to corrosion by the highly chemically erosive waste product Q. Interestingly, the alien has both an external and internal cooling system of Organ P. For instance, when the organism approaches a pond of Liquid Y, it pours some of the fluid around the organ to cool it down externally. On the other hand, Organ P is directly connected to the external shell through tubes which bring in air currents to continually cool it.
Unlike the digestive system of Z which only uses two types of food substances, human beings take in a variety of foods which include water, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins (Gurinovic 2016). Also, Alien Z only requires food for the generation of energy since it neither grows or develops. On the other hand, humans are continually growing and developing and thus not only need energy foods but also, bodybuilding, and nutrient-providing diets (Gurinovic 2016). Besides, the digestive system of Z is a simple chemical reaction to generate energy which. On the contrary, food in human beings undergoes a complex series of chemical and biological reactions which take place in numerous organs such as the stomach, liver, pancreas among others. As a result, the required nutrients are absorbed into the circulatory system to nourish various body tissues.
The excretory system of Z is simplified as it only involves the egestion of waste product Q generated from digestion and smoke. Once used-up, wastes from Organ P exit the alien directly through two tubes. The first tube extracts smoke from the organism while the second duct directs the solid and liquid waste into a particular porch which is located outside of the alien. This porch is continually emptied as the flow of waste is almost continuous. Moreover, the egestion of smoke through a chimney-like structure is a constant process and, the rate of exhaustion increases with increased activity of Z. One observes varying amounts of smoke getting out of the alien from time to time. When Z falls asleep, the amount of smoke generated is almost insignificant since not much of the energy is used.
This constant flow of wastes eliminates the need for homeostatic processes which are present in human beings such as regulation of sugar levels by the pancreas, detoxification by the liver, and deamination by the kidney (Mader 1995). Another difference is that, the liquid urine and solid waste food are excreted separately through the urinary duct and the anus respectively. Further, these wastes are first stored in the urinary bladder and the colon before they are egested (Reiss and Sue 395).
Alien Z has an exoskeleton system of body support as opposed to human beings who have an endoskeleton structure (Mader 1995). The exoskeleton serves numerous functions including aiding in locomotion, resisting the gravitational force, and protection from the harsh environmental conditions. First, it serves as a defense mechanism by protecting alien Z against the furious winds which blow dust and rock particles with them as well as the high temperature during the day. Secondly, the exoskeleton is quite heavy so that the organism cannot be pulled up by the low gravity in planet X. Additionally, the skeleton helps the alien move from point A to B by either walking or flying depending on the distance.
In conclusion, this paper has explored an assumed planet X which has significantly harsh environmental conditions. Despite the extremely high temperatures, low gravity, generally rugged terrain, rapid wind movements, high composition of Carbon (IV) Oxide in the thin atmosphere, and lack of water, the planet supports some alien animal and plant life. Besides, the imagined alien Z has developed some special organ systems such as the digestive, excretory, respiratory, skeletal, and integumentary processes to enable it to adapt appropriately to these conditions. Further, the alien has some new organs P and R which are unique to those present in the human body. This paper also tries to draw the differences and similarities between alien Z and the humans to give a better insight of the characteristics of organic and inorganic beings.
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Reiss, Michael J., and Sue Dale Tunnicliffe. “Students' understandings of human organs and organ systems.” Research in Science Education 31.3, 2001. P. 383-399.
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