Recent genetic mapping of the DNA various cell from the Kharaa have finally proven that they are technically not bacteria descendants but archaea methanogen-thermophile hybrids. They have several similarities to bacterial but are multicellular and have all but two traits which are requirements of archaea used to differentiate them from bacteria:
Kingdom Euyarchaeota – Crenarchaeota is probably more accurate but since they have traits of methanogens they have to go in this kingdom
Phylum Methanothermophilia – are both methanogens and thermophiles
Group Myxoarchaea -- named after the bacterial group with a similar prefix because Kharaa also form elaborate colonies (obviously an understatement), and also because they too secrete a slimy substratum mucus on which the cells glide (usually this stops on maturity for most things in the collective)
Genus Amoebamycetes --amoeba cells, mycelium forming
Species Velociacutus -- "vicious fast"Huh? I'm lost. What would the binomial nomenclature be for the Kharaa then?
Their scientific name is Amoebamycetes velociacutus
.Any other catagorizations Kharaa fall under?
You bet! As the most versitale lifeform ever discovered Kharaa share many existing biological catagories with other organisms. Here are a few more things Kharaa collectives can be classified as:zoomycetes
– things which are both fungi and animalmethanogens
– produce chemoautotropic energy by using carbon dioxide to oxidize hydrogen gas to produce methane. Kharaa have since adapted the ability to combust this methane with oxygen which produces water and carbon dioxide to be recycled. This energy is temporarily stored in sugars and energize-able proteins (much like adenosinetriphosphate
) opportunistic omnivores
– Kharaa units and the hyphae of the mycelium will eat anything this can; Kharaa units are active eaters as they need to supplement their energy and nutrition requirements (the aerial network doesn't provide enough energy). While they seem to be mostly carnivorous, they will actually also scavenge dead food or eat plants. If it is organic, Kharaa can eat it. Antibiotics used on the Kharaa may be effective only on first application. After adaptation most poisons are quite nutritious to Kharaa. (Why the poison laced bullets proved an engineering disaster)decomposers
– the hyphae of the myceliums actively seek out food sources. We don't think of the mycelium as of being active like the visible strucutres but it also grows very rapidly. Dead soldier bodies are rarely recovered, especially if the dead are in an infested areasentient colony
– Kharaa are united by one intelligence which is horribly misunderstood. Technically all members of the Kharaa are one collective being know as the hivemind. The hivemind is very intelligent and has one primary objective: to ensure the colonies live, which means survival first. As long as you do not present a threat to the Kharaa, they will ignore you. Any threats are dealt with quickly, the hivemind may ponder strategies but the response is ASAP and brutal. And the Kharaa are amazingly strong at fighting for survival.parasites
– the hyphae attack cells using haustoria, but their true parasite qualities show when the Kharaa adapted away to parasitize direct current electricity. Resource nozzles in most facilities have a nice DC electical connection, this is arguably the final adaptation that allowed the Kharaa to match evenly with human military technology. What's in resource nozzle "steam" anyways?
A lot of things but to keep it simple: hydrogen gas (50%), water (19%), and nanites (which carry various metals, 31%).
The Kharaa find the nanites to be a nice little snack but pretty much useless. These nanites are not designed for immune functions and are merely microscopic construction vehicles used to carry metals and build materials.
The water is just there to keep the hydrogen from exploding. People often forget: most of the energy in the resource nozzle is provided by the electricity, not the steam. Is it true that just one living haploid cell from any tissue can grow a new colony?
This is not a myth, it is true! Now initially that cell (often a spore) will need favorable conditions: food source, something around 30 degrees Celsius, and plenty of water. But even one cell can learn to adapt to a food source and then being mitosis. Initially the group of cells forms a callus, a mass of undifferentiated cells. But this callus begins to differentiate when it is about 4 mL. This can indeed grow into a new colony as it did in Project Origin.What are the Kharaa haploids (N)?
aerial energy network cells (AENCs)
other "ground" tissuesWhat are the Kharaa diploids (2N)?
all "independent units," the known are the following:
lerksWhat are some common traits of the "independent units"?
All are motile (except for hive)
All have bilateral symmetry
All have a digestive system (hive is only one with out a complete system)
All are quadrapeds (four limbs)
All have eyes
All have some sort of sound sensory organ
All can smell (and are very sensitive and accurate)
All have epithelial, connective, muscular, and nervous tissues
All have an endoskeleton, some have exoskeleton parts (onos skull for example)
All are "sexless"; they have no genders but lerks undergoes meiosis to produce male and female endospores when, when combined with the spores from a different lerk, is the only known mean of sexual reproduction on the Kharaa (if we are assuming there are no other diploid lifeforms, then lerks are the only ones)
All have lungs and oxygen dependent, although it is rumored they have demonstrated the ability to stay underwater well, much like otters or whales.
All opportunistic feeders (hive gets most of its food though AENC and mycelium veins)
All have jointed appendagesHow does self-regeneration work?
It's basically just insanely rapid mitosis and all Kharaa cells are capable of it. The hive is able to "heal spray" other things that are in range. There's not a whole lot to it. Most diploid units have sacrifice the rapidity for motility when they are created but can choose one of three genes activated by something known as the "defense chamber" and one of the genes is to evolve a way to regain this rapid mitosis. But there is a trade off. Some say it's much like continued rapid growth.How does carpace work?
It's an increase in lignin, chitin, and collagen in epithelial skin cells forming a very tough armor. In some case this includes making small carbon nanotube matrices. It's is one of the three defense chamber genes a unit can choose to activate. Again, not a whole lot to it. It's a subdermal change that effects the epithelial cells.How does redemption work?
The third gene choice available when activated by a defense chamber is the "redemption" which allow the hivemind to keep track of your health and teleport you back to a hive. To be honest, no one has observed how this works but it requires a complete colony to work. This is yet another one of the mysteries surrounding the almighty collective hivemind. The only thing we know for sure is that the hivemind has shown amazing superpsychic-like powers several times before. Summoning storms, unexplained shifts in gravity or electric fields that crash ships, teleportation, etc. We also know the highly intelligent fades know how redemption works. Finally unraveling the mystery of redemption could be huge in developing effective counters to the Kharaa. (The other really useful one would be the cloaking effect) One popular theory states that the chamber or redemption or something else triggers the hivemind to destroy the organism's body and respawn it at the hive. So while the conciousness is transfered by the collective the body the creature that is left behind is not the one that is made. Opponents of this theory argue that there is no way a unit as massive as an onos could be disassembled or reassembled that quickly.How does metabolize work?
Fades are the only known motile unit which can heal itself without the defense chamber gene activated and regeneration restored. A fade can rapidly digest and metabolize food it has eaten to fuel quick tissue repairs in pulsing waves. The fade appears to look like it is puking when metabolize and makes a funny humming noise (which is actually the fade doing a big inhale similar to how a skulk does right before exploding in Xenocide; see How Xenocide Works) The fade adapted this technique independently, yet another testament to their underestimated intelligence. There metabolism is dependent on their "attack" symbiote. Which while most Kharaa have the tube like organs as part of their anatomy, the fade is the only one where the symbiote is a completely independent organism. Thus fades are technically two organisms in a symbiotic relationship. (soem argue that the symbiote is actually more of a parasite)Why do the diploid units need oxygen?
Adapting form the human threat's model, the Kharaa made its units dependent on oxygen for combusting foods and recycling the methane waste to get more energy, vital water, and recycle the carbon dioxide to be reused by the methanogen tissues.Where does the hydrogen oxidization occur?
Mostly in a type of chamber called an alien resource tower for lack of a better term. It is a specific adaptation to the human environment. It oxidizes the gas.Can hives and the "resource towers" live underwater?
Unlike the motile Kharaa units, RTs can live well underwater by absorbing dissolved oxygen in the water though their permeable skin. The oxygen in the water is sufficient as long as it is not too deep.
Hives also absorb nitrogen, oxygen, and other nutrients though their mucus coated permeable skin but do have lungs and so must not be immersed in water above it's tentacle mouth.