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The observation of natural animal behaviour is called Ethology, Behaviourism being the study of experimental and training responses. Understanding animal behaviour in NMS relies on using both approaches.

Temperament

At least 17 temperaments have been encountered amongst animals in NMS so far:

Active

  • Haudmenten Ineokaisi flies above planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy in small, jittery groups.

Ambulatory

  • Iviare Charius on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy kept its distance while moving very quickly.

Amenable

Cautious

  • Spriabae Aglosethl on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy fled an encounter, but when trapped on a slope, it could be fed.

Defensive

  • Erwicagia Aglosethl on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy moved very quickly and always kept its distance.

Distinctive

  • Eosittosae Rucogole on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy flies incessantly and erratically.

Fearful

Hibernator

  • Anaiamniae Sleigeorg on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy drifts around the skies with such graceful majesty.

Hunter

  • Ducirogii Deninosto on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy: evil, chittering, bitey beasts.

Migratory

  • Obviarec Rucogole on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy flies incessantly and erratically.

Passive

  • Rifervarua Charius on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy will often walk right past; when fed it can be very tame indeed.

Stalking

  • Zunumulchica Aablar on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy is big, tough, doesn't think twice, and first hits you hard from behind.

Submissive

  • Fecurcis Ifiartr, on planet Ritach Igeuphr, in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy generally kept its distance and went about its business calmy.

Unconcerned

  • Uasutae Ewicaof on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy goes about its business even at close range.

Unpredictable

Vicious

  • Eproenoscoe Rosiagib on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy: like it says on the packet - small but won't stop till one of you dies.

Volatile

  • Ikhoasera Deninosto on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy: in your face, confrontational, nasty.

Locomotion

Coralloidsdef in NMS are fixed but may sway with fluid currents. Animalsdef move in various ways including using their legs (walking and running), wings (flying), bellies (slithering), bases (hopping), and tails and fins (swimming).

Legs

Tetrapeds run with a familiar gait (as shown by Spriabae Aglosethl on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy):

Hexapeds appear to duplicate the action of their rear legs with their middle legs when running (as shown by Iviare Charius on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy):

Gait

Animals of different sizes tend to walk with different gaits - the larger being more lumbering than the smaller. In addition, younger animals may well frolic - a comparison which is apparent in this video of young and old Rifervarua Charius on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy:

Gaits young & old 2016 08 25 11 38 18 00 00 33 7700:08

Gaits young & old 2016 08 25 11 38 18 00 00 33 77

Reproduction

The little we are aware of so far regarding animal reproduction in NMS, relates to gender classifications.

Gender

A range of genders are encountered amongst binomial animals in NMS, which often offers more than one gender for a single species. The terms are generally so unfamiliar in the context of gender on Earth, that at this point, only speculation is possible (see a different take[1] on Reddit):

Alpha

On Earth, the Alpha individual (or pair) is (are) the dominant member(s) of an animal social group; they may even grow in size or change colour in response to their position. They dominate through aggression, or developing a network of allies[2].
Within the meaning of the word 'gender' in NMS, it is possible that Alpha gendered animals will physically dominate other members of their species. Certainly, on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy, the Alpha gendered Erwicagia Aglosethl is 8% heavier and 4% taller than the Radical of their species.

Asymmetric

On Earth, an evolutionary process called sexual selection can cause significant differences (or asymmetries) between sexes, both at the morphological level (called dimorphism, e.g. colouring or size), and at the behavioural level (often related to parental investment, e.g. fighting for mates)[3]. There is also research suggesting that bilaterally asymmetric features in certain individuals can affect sexual selection[4].
Assuming a similar logic in NMS, if there is no dimorphism, we might see behavioural differences between genders of the same species, or that this gender has features which vary between its left and right sides.

Asymptotic

Jauoniza Peltre Asymptotic 2016-08-31 18-04-12 00-01-35-37

Asymptotic Jauoniza Peltre on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy in small, jittery groups.

Imagine a binary gender world - just males and females for example. By asking, you could very quickly establish the population's male/female gender ratio. Now introduce a hidden third gender, trans, whose members would not tell you their gender (but you mistakenly assumed it was either male or female). No matter how many people you asked, you could never reach the same certainty of male to female ratios as before, although your estimate would perpetually get marginally better as you asked more and more people. This 'never quite getting there' estimate is an asymptote. An asymptotic gender will not be either one of a binary, and will frustrate any attempts to squeeze everybody into one or other of society's typically binary categories.
In NMS, maybe this would be a creature which never quite arrived at a typical sex (which is ironic given that NMS appears to give all binomial terrestrial animals a binary gender pairing).

Exotic

Eosittosae Rucogole 2016-08-26 20-13-30 00-03-09-57

The Exotic Eosittosae Rucogole on planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid

Arguing that gender development in humans on Earth is the result of additive biological variables related to temperaments and responses to objects of non-specific arousal ('exotics'), Professor Daryl Bem has developed a specific theory called EBE (Exotic Becomes Erotic)[5].
Who knows how this might affect reproduction in NMS species sporting this gender?

Female

Rifervarua Charius Female 2016-08-25 12-15-10 01-05-20-53

The Female Rifervarua Charius on planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid

On Earth, females provide an ovum (egg), usually for male sperm to fertilise, which then develops into a new individual.
Presumably something similar is expected in NMS.

Indeterminate

Fecurcis Ifiartr Indeterminate 2016-08-28 16-26-56 00-00-40-87

The Indeterminate Fecurcis Ifiartr on planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid

On Earth, such a gender label refers either to one of a number of medical conditions usually identified around the time of birth in which there are ambiguous genitalia[6], or to a sociological phenomenon (sometimes referred to as the Third gender[7]) in which individuals don't identify with a genital sex or sexual preference.
In NMS, it is unlikely to refer to sociology, if we assume that complex societies are limited to humans and aliens.

Male

Obviarec Rucogole 2016-08-26 20-13-30 00-03-16-63

The Male Obviarec Rucogole on planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid

On Earth, males provide sperm to fertilise a female's ovum.
Presumably something similar is expected in NMS.

None

Ducirogii Deninosto None 2016-08-31 18-04-12 00-01-41-90

None-gendered Ducirogii Deninosto on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy

On Earth, a panoply of different animal reproductive systems exist, some of which (mainly connected to parthenogenesis - a kind of natural cloning) could form a model for a gender which did nothing in terms of direct genetic transfer, yet was still involved in making reproduction possible for another fertile individual. Humans also use a related term - asexuality[8] - to describe living without feeling sexual attraction.
In NMS, any morphological or behavioural difference could plausibly be connected to this gender.

Non-uniform

Roland fauna 6

Non-uniform biped Iffeytre Adhuchi  on planet Roland in the Charlemagne system of the Euclid

On Earth, an Australian campaign entitled Gender is not uniform tries to tackle school related problems with gender diversity, not least through campaigning about clothing policies.
Presumably in NMS, species members with this gender may adopt any colour scheme they wish to.

Orthogonal

Uasutae Ewicaof Orthogonal 2016-08-24 19-17-55 01-38-58-40

The Orthogonal Uasutae Ewicaof on planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid

Science Fiction writer, Greg Egan, has written a series of novels in a series he calls Orthogonal. Jolene Tan describes it as, "a fascinating depiction of liberatory sexual politics front and centre"[9]. In the context of gender, orthogonal issues are those which operate potentially at right angles to each other, yet get aggregated in normative Western Earth discourse to form single gender labels (e.g. chromosomes, hormones, genitals, and muscle mass are all assumed to allign with the gender labels 'man' or 'woman', yet this is not necessarily true in reality)[10].
In NMS, one can only guess that an orthogonally gendered animal might adopt whatever role appears appropriate in the light of its partner's preferences.

Prime

Ducirogii Deninosto Prime 2016-08-31 18-04-12 00-02-00-33

Prime-gendered Ducirogii Deninosto on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy

Whilst it would be tempting to assume that this gender is associated with the word 'first', its gender connection is actually to a psychological concept called 'priming'. What we know on Earth is that human socialisation tends towards stereotyping (e.g. in the UK, the colour pink is closely associated with femininity). Given that we also tend to make snap judgements, our gender expectations of others may well be affected in microseconds (before we can review them with rationally) by things such as colour, hairstyle, make-up, build and facial features.
Perhaps in NMS, a Prime gendered animal always fits a stereotype, or alternatively, perhaps it cannot be sterotyped.

Radical

Radical 2016-08-15 14-40-57 3-16-06-47

The Radical Spriabae Aglosethl on planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid

On Earth, the word 'radical' in the context of gender leads inexorably towards the gates of feminism. Radical feminism, "calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts."[11]
In NMS, we might therefore find radically gendered animals chafing against any dominant behaviour of alternately gendered members of their species.

Rational

Crypsis 2016-08-15 14-40-57 3-14-45-40

The Rational Uasutae Ewicaof on planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid

The question of whether rationality is related to gender is a minefield on Earth; never-the-less, it appears to be the only significant strand by which they are connected.
Whatever the biological sex of the animal in NMS, it is easy to imagine that a Rational gendered individual will tend to be less flighty than it non-Rational gendered species members.

Symmetric

(See Asymmetric for a possible explanation.)
However, any dimorphism or bilateral asymmetry ought not to have reproductive relevance, and we ought not to see behavioural differences between genders of the same species.
For example, in Iviare Charius on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy, the morphological differences between the Symmetric and Indeterminate genders ought not to be reproductively relevant:

Unknown

Ikhoasera Deninosto Unknown 2016-08-31 18-04-12 00-04-45-47

Unknown-gendered Ikhoasera Deninosto on planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy

On Earth, the connection between 'unknown' and gender is most often encountered day to day, even minute to minute, in the context of word choices[12] when using pronouns to refer to individuals of unknown gender.
Assuming such linguistic nuances are not encountered by (non-alien) animals in NMS, the alternative Earth meaning of ambiguous genitalia may be closest; presumably in species with this gender, it is not at all obvious, and either much careful negotiation is required before mating, or mating is unassociated with sexual selection.

Vectorised

Roland fauna 8

Vectorised biped Oeginteae Egwale  on planet Roland in the Charlemagne system of the Euclid Galaxy

Use of neural networks on Earth to map large corpuses of text (called the corpus 'vector space') reveal not only that certain words which tend to associate tend also to be gender biased, but that this bias is perpetuated, or even amplified, in some search algorithms[13]. (E.g. if men are associated with computer programming, men might then be ranked higher in applications for computer programming jobs). However, vector space is mathematical, so mathematical transformations can be programmed to 'hard de-bias' ('vectorise'?) inappropriate types of gender linkage (like man:doctor) while retaining appropriate ones (like daughter:son).
Presumably in NMS, this gender has been de-linked from stereotypes in some way?

Gender pairings

The following table gives examples of known gender pairings (refer numbers to names below).
Alpha 1
Asymptotic 6
Asymmetric
Exotic 10
Female 12 5
Indeterminate 7 2 9
Male 11
None 8
Non-uniform
Orthogonal 4
Prime
Radical 3
Rational
Symmetric
Unknown
Vectorised
  1. Erwicagia Aglosethl - Planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  2. Iviare Charius - Planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  3. Spriabae Aglosethl - Planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  4. Uasutae Ewicaof - Planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  5. Rifervarua Charius - Planet Ritach Igeuphr - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  6. Jauoniza Peltre - Planet Nacantionazz-Libin - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  7. Eproenoscoe Rosiagib - Planet Nacantionazz-Libin - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  8. Ducirogii Deninosto - Planet Nacantionazz-Libin - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  9. Ikhoasera Deninosto - Planet Nacantionazz-Libin - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  10. Itiariatus Peltre - Planet Nacantionazz-Libin - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  11. Pusistannera Teypardus - Planet Nacantionazz-Libin - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid
  12. Zunumulchica Aablar - Planet Nacantionazz-Libin - System Bamatokinos-Acce - Galaxy Euclid

Domestication

Certain animals, if approached closely enough, may be fed; a message appears suggesting the preferred treat. (Known feeds include Carbon, Iron and Heridium.) Once this is done, the animal's behaviour may change, a 'smiley' appears above it, and it may perform some additional service to the character.

In one example (see gallery below), Erwicagia Aglosethl (Alpha) on planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy, was fed Iron (1) and over the following six minutes, defecated three redly gaseous (2) crystals - Titanium (3), Chrysonite (4), and Nickel (5) - before becoming disenamoured (6) and flying off. In another example, Uasutae Ewicaof (on the same planet) drew attention to several resource bearing flowers.

In a third example, the Radical gender of Rifervarua Charius (also on planet Ritach Igeuphr) appeared to submissively invite a good scratch by lying down perfectly still:
Rifervarua Charius Fed rest 2016 08 24 19 17 55 03 10 42 3300:06

Rifervarua Charius Fed rest 2016 08 24 19 17 55 03 10 42 33

Emergent Patterns

When a mixture of algorithms interact in a complex system (such as No man's Sky), it is quite plausible to imagine that unplanned patterns will emerge. In this section, possible emergent behaviour is explored.

Flocking

We were aware of the existence of behavioural algorithms in the design stage, which would tend to cause different species of animals to congregate or disperse:

Amongst the high flying, limb-winged animals of planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy, we tend to find Obviarec Rucogole flying around in groups of three (sometimes combining but not often), whilst Eosittosae Rucogole tends to fly around in much larger groups (up to 19 at one time). Both species also intermingle at times, but neither is widespread, suggesting they either favour each other's company, or similar terrain (although neither has been seen roosting).

The flying-fish, Anaiamniae Sleigeorg of planet Nacantionazz-Libin in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy, prefers to fly around in pairs, sometimes pairing again.

Amongst terrestrial (including very low skim-flying) animals, many animals forage or hunt alone, sometimes with an infant in tow. A number of species form herds however, including the mixed gender, mixed age, passively tempered, grazing Rifervarua Charius of planet Ritach Igeuphr in the Bamatokinos-Acce system of the Euclid galaxy:

Single species herd 2016-08-28 14-41-37 00-14-07-47

An 11-strong, single-species herd comprising two adult Females (yellow squares), three infant Females (yellow circles), five adult Radicals (blue squares), and one infant Radical (blue circle), all foraging in the vicinity of the planets only carnivore - a whip plant (red star).

References

  1. Some genders of fauna and what they (probably) mean
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_(ethology)
  3. http://people.auc.ca/foote/BIOL3006.pdf
  4. http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/9/6/546.full.pdf
  5. Bem's Exotic Becomes Erotic Theory
  6. http://patient.info/doctor/ambiguous-genitalia
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_gender
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asexuality
  9. Bending space-time, gender and minds
  10. Beyond the Binary: Thinking about Sex and Gender
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism
  12. Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?
  13. How Vector Space Mathematics Reveals the Hidden Sexism in Language

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