Post by The_Wayward_Admiral on Oct 20, 2015 14:47:31 GMT
I think spiders as we know them (which, minus the lungs, is how this conversation is going about them) are a little too specialized as lone rangers to be a social arthropod. I think that certainly the sedentary option for the spider would not lend itself to social tendencies: they simply could not acquire enough sustenance to sustain a colony of monstrous murder beasts that way (barring a city-sized web). The active thing could work, but if there were even as few as twenty in colony, I would think they'd go through local resources quickly and face a migratory life, lest they go extinct from rapid depletion. It's possible (as most things are), but if they were social, the size of each individual would be under constraint. Unless I'm misunderstanding what's going on, I'm operating under the assumption of a colony of Shelob sized critters.
The reason why early arthropods grew so large was to prevent oxygen toxicity. The larger they are, the more difficult it is to poison them. I believe it has a lot to do with insectoid methods of gas distribution as opposed to mammalian or reptilian (thinking of especially dinosaur-esque eras). As I understand, spiders specifically may absorb gases directly through their skin so they especially would have had to grow in high-oxygen content environments to avoid their deaths.
Relating back to our own respiratory systems, we have less volume as opposed to these hypothetical large spiders and so are more likely to die given this situation, thus why they shouldn't have anything similar to ours if they would hope to continue surviving.
Post by The_Wayward_Admiral on Oct 24, 2015 1:45:47 GMT
Another issue for our intrepid arthropods: the square cube law. Since the spider is not a perfect cube/sphere, its surface area will increase more rapidly than its volume, which for proper endoskeletal animals is not a problem, but will be a serious issue for those exoskeleton plebeians. You see, exoskeletons are heavy, and if the volume does not increase enough, its innards face crushing death at the hands of its external weight past a certain size (I could break out the math, but my calculus can be sketchy...). It would either be stuck no larger than say, a human, or it would have to have roughly spherical body segments, and cubish extremities. Hooray geometry: saving us from monstrous creepy crawlies since Euclid.
Post by The_Wayward_Admiral on Oct 25, 2015 23:08:59 GMT
Okay, so aerogels are apparently insanely intensive to make, which eliminates my first thought on the subject. Perhaps they could be a lighter-than-air being that emits a halo of super cooled vapour instead?
I had an idea for a ghost a while back but it's not really feasible at all. But we could probably build off of it? Basically it was a serpentine organism with two hydrogen sacs located along its spine that inflated allowing it to float. The hydrogen sacs, when inflated, give it a hunched over appearance.
But seeing as how those hydrogen sacs would need to be massive to lift a human sized organism... Yeah I kinda gave up on that idea.
Post by The_Wayward_Admiral on Oct 26, 2015 2:34:51 GMT
Hydrogen is but one option. I forgot what it was, but I read a snippet of a science fiction novel in PopSci (i'll get back with the book when I figure it out, I want to give credit where credit is due) and the author had an interesting idea: Zeppelins with vacuums instead of gas. It's the least dense thing possible and it's not combustible. It can be achieved by having a sandwich of highly rigid cell walls growing off each other, not allowing gas into a pocket that gets created as they move outward and die.