This question crept into my head last week and it will not go away. To save my (waning) sanity, I’ll pass it on to better minds:
Humans are omnivores. Back in Anthropology 101 I was told that our ancestors might have developed tools to aid in getting more calorie-rich meat. Tool making, and the need for a steady food supply, provided the impetus for agriculture. Agriculture led to the World as We Know It ™. (Sorry, no cites. Just my gross ignorance and some memories from a class I took over a decade ago.)
If this model were true, would an intelligent alien species have to be omnivorous as well? Also, what could drive a carnivorous species to tool making and agriculture?
Well let’s see, there are two distinct questions here: 1) Would an intelligent alien species have to be omnivorous as well?
Maybe - if they are planet centered I would say yes, meaning if they are like us and have not developed the technology to escape into worm holes and travel the universe…I’d say sure, they would be omniverous. However, if their planet was dying fast, and they were going to be in space for long periods of time I would tend to think they would not be omniverious, but would have developed some sort of protein enhanced space food.
2) what could drive a carnivorous species to tool making and agriculture?
IIRC, we humans started off as vegetarian-esque beings. Eating some protein in the form of insects and perhaps scavenging some meat…but were widely gathering from the forest floor for a few millennia. Nomadic peoples following the food wherever it was (seasons et al). Then with the advent of tools which of course came from the Obelisk - we began eating more and more meat which came with it a more stationary existence. The need to move with seasons or with food supply lessoned, and early humans began to use the parts of the carcases (sp?) for other tools and warmth from skins. Then came to agriculture, rudamentary at first then more complex…
Anthropology majors and folks will be along shortly to poke fun at the ex-psychology instructor’s infinitesimal knowledge of the subject. I’m not Richard Leaky ya know!