Alien: Covenant
How 'Intelligent' are the Xenos?

How 'Intelligent' are the Xenos?

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Deep Space

FacehuggerMember320 XPAug-22-2016 12:10 PM

  I have always wondered about the size and shape of their heads.  In mammalian terms, bigger heads usually mean more intelligence; so, as it seems we are part of the Xenos' origins, does this trait continue?  And if so, just how intelligent are they?

  I'm going into pure fantasy territory here but I imagine they have more basic sense 'doors' than us humans.  Perhaps using ultrasound or things like that.  Perhaps they are what we might consider to be telepathic - so whilst they couldn't build a spaceship or a 'shake and bake' colony; they could perhaps gain insights into the 'broad strokes' via their hosts thoughts?

In short, I imagine they are in some ways mentally vastly superior to humans.  However, I get the impression they run more on predetermined biological instinct than we do.

Yes, they can make decisions and be logical (which is frightening!) but it is always to support a much deeper urge I think - possibly to eradicate human DNA?  (the last bit being my own silly little idea!)

We, on the other hand, are also biologically instinctive but I don't think we are as much as a slave, so to speak, to our biology as they are. (that could be argued either way to be fair).  

Anyway, what do people think?  Are they simply aggressive beasts or could they, in time, develop technology more advanced than ours, say?  Also, what kinds of 'intelligence' do you think they posses?

6 Responses to How 'Intelligent' are the Xenos?


FacehuggerMember127 XPAug-22-2016 12:52 PM

Well, this is more along the lines of the "bugs" from "Starship Troopers", from the Heinlein original, not the cartoon movie.  Yes, the drone/warrior caste is pretty basic: locate, close with, and destroy the enemy.  But they also had "brain bugs" that did all the thinking.  Perhaps you would have something similar here? 

I always took them for being a basic, single-minded species, in the way Ash admires them.  No morals, or ethics; no politics or agenda; just the purity of purpose: to survive and reproduce.  How much they "think" in the abstract, beyond that, who knows.

I think if you replace intelligence with animal cunning, then you have something.  Their senses are obviously highly developed.  How much of their experience is passed on through "tribal knowledge" to other xenos, yeah that would be the question. 

As to whether they could eventually develop past this, into abstract thought, and even become a space-farring race?  Hoo-boy, let's hope not.            


DeaconMember10416 XPAug-22-2016 3:09 PM

sometimes the size of the skull does not mean how intelligent a species is.... Dogs and Birds can be pretty clever and their are many Mammals with bigger skulls and even brains who are not.

But i get what you mean..

I would however think the Xenomorphs Skull has other functions than being just a brain... i think it has many sensory functions... i.e how they communicate, how they detect prey/hosts we just dont know enough about them.

Are they clever? i dont see them as being able to support a advanced culture but i think they are resourceful as well as relying on instincts.

The Aliens Bugs got some Alien fans upset because they was dumb... or so some claim... when actually they displayed more intelligence than the Alien Xenomorph IMO.

They had a Purpose especially if we only consider Theatrical Releases....

The Aliens Xenos, not only cut the power, they used the element of surprise and cover just as the Alien Xenomorph did.... they also realized the sentry guns and found a alternative route and out played the Game of Chess with the Humans.

Tactically they outsmarted them.

I would ASSUME... the Xenomorphs as being very instinctive and as far as application of hunting instincts i think they are superior to most Predators on Earth... be that Big Cats, Spiders and Sharks...   But not as much as Humans.

I think Cognitive thinking they are more intelligent than most life on Earth, including Primates... apart from Humans.

I think they have a means of communication with each other and the hive, by complex means be that Telepathy (Electrical/Radio frequencies)  or via Pheromones or maybe both that collectively give them a advantage that Humans dont have.





R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


FacehuggerMember127 XPAug-23-2016 5:03 AM

The shape of the head, yeah that one has always bothered me.  Not from intel but from a practical aspect.  I mean how hard is it to get around when yer friggin head is 3-4 feet long?  Not discounting their teeth, n tail, but you get a good hold on the caprice, and the leverage would be so good you'd snap their necks.  So yeah, IF you could flank them or better yet come up from the rear, they would seem to be at a disadvantage until they could face you.

But back to the OP, I wonder what kind of sensor array might be in that thing.  I'm thinking of the newer side scanning radar pods on the TR-1's.  If it is loaded with sensors, then it has an enormous scan/detect ability.  Maybe somethin akin to shark skin, with imbedded sensors running down their flanks. 

Also thinking about jungle terrain.  In triple canopy jungle, getting around must be a PITA.  Not to mention the kinds of snares and traps you could use to catch on their carpice.

But again back to the OP (I'm worse than my dog this morning- squirrel).  They seem to have a good grasp on tactics, and can figure out how to negate our tech (cutting power, assaulting structures, avoiding kill zones, etc.) so they are at least on par with early man.

If they conquered a planet, and settled down, would they develop arts and sciences?  My guess would be no, based on their present form.         


DeaconMember10416 XPAug-23-2016 6:31 AM

As far as the Atheistic of the Biology then yes it would seem ***bersome.... however we are dealing with a Alien Species and its Biology may not emulate that of a Mammal

If we look at a Bumble Bee and ask ourselves.. how is it those wings can support flight for such a Organism..... or some Spiders and how large their Abdomen is how can they move around

But we overlook at compared to body mass, these Organisms Legs and Wings are more stronger than a Humans....  If we Humans had the same kind of Biology in our Legs that a Spider or Ant does...

Then we could run at speeds that would make Usain bolt seem SLOW and so we can assume a Xenomorphs, Muscles, and Ligament Biology is far more advanced and stronger to support such a structure and also the Tail could act as a counter balance.

As far as the Brain, maybe we need to not look at it as a Mammal Brain....  a Dolphin and Whale have similar Brains to Humans.

A Sharks Brain is a totally different shape and layout...

Spiders and Insects likewise and so a Xenomorphs Brain could Span the length of its Carapace

Like a Spider, or Scorpion...

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017


DeaconMember10416 XPAug-23-2016 6:46 AM

I would assume the Xenomorphs Biology is somewhat like a Crustacean/Arachnid but also has some kind of Bio-Mechanics like HR Gigers work added to it...

But as far as Exo-skeleton, internal Biology and Brain Functions i think they are similar to a  Crustacean/Arachnid but with more advanced perception and sensory and maybe telepathy organs.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

Deep Space

FacehuggerMember320 XPAug-23-2016 8:33 AM

'I think if you replace intelligence with animal cunning, then you have something.'

Yeah I think you and BD are in the right ball park.  I was going to add to the OP that it really begs the question - what is intelligence?  Or how is it defined?  

You could say a shark is very intelligent as its senses and physiology allow it to be the apex predator, kind of like the Xeno(?).  Could it do math?  Probably not, but does it need to?!  

Funnily enough after I posted this I watched a BBC do***entary about which is better, cats or dogs? - cats are one up currently ;) What was interesting was how the criteria was varied and included not just brain function but agility, senses etc.

 To me, intelligence is all about how well an animal can survive and adapt.  Hence why we have become the apex on Earth due to our advanced social and communication skills  and creativity/inventiveness (amongst other things).  In short our success was due to our necessary adaptations to our changing environment.  If the jungle doesn't thin out - we don't need to evolve, right?!  

Conversely, it could be argued that our science/knowledge has in some ways harmed us and our environment (A-bomb, motor cars etc); so perhaps to a more advanced race we would appear like dumb kids playing with toys . . .

So back to Xenos - I do feel that there is something 'extra' going on with them regards senses.  They can also reason etc so all in they are a pretty formidable species.  Perhaps they may not develop arts etc but I do think they would become the apex organism in any environment (that we have seen) so in that respect I feel they are perhaps more 'intelligent' than humans.  Now I can't get rid of the image of a Xeno painting on a canvass a-la Bob Ross . . . lol (with hushed whispered tones to boot!)

Oh and BD - you're correct about head size to brain function.  I didn't explain that very well.  I meant more that certainly for humans, increased brain size seems to indicate, at an evolutionary level, more neuro-functions and abilities - say, compared to chimps! 

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