Species Comparison

How do norns compare with biological species?
Note that several entries are for groups of organisms and some are for species,
many of the numbers are educated estimates or averages.
OrganismScientific NameNumber of GenesNumber of NeuronesLife Span
Blue-green AlgaeCyanobacteria500-30 minutes
E. ColiEscherichia Coli4,401-20 minutes
YeastSaccharomyces cerevisiae6,000-1 week
Water BearTardigrade40,0002003 months
NematodeCaenorhabditis elegans20,00030219 days
JellyfishScyphozoa30,0005,6001 year
Fruit FlyDrosophila melanogaster14,000100,00011 days
AntFormicidae17,000250,0002 years
NornCyberlifogenis cutis344952
8-12 hours
Zebra FinchTaeniopygia guttata17,50010,000,0004 years
ChickenGallus domesticus22,000100,000,0007 years
Guinea PigCavia porcellus20,000240,000,0006 years
CatFelis catus20,000760,000,00012 years
MagpiePica pica?897,000,00022 years
RavenCorvus corax?2,171,000,00013 years
DogCanis familiaris19,0002,253,000,00012 years
ChimpanzeePan troglodytes25,000?36 years
Brown BearUrsus arctos19,8009,586,000,000 25 years
Bottlenose DolphinTursiops truncatus10,00012,700,000,00060 years
OrcaOrcinus orca?43,100,000,00030 years
HumanHomo sapiens25,00086,000,000,00070-90 years
Pilot WhaleGlobicephala?127,000,000,00045 years
African ElephantLoxodonta?257,000,000,00070-100

Note that according to in-game lore Shee make their creations live in accelerated time.
So I usually think of each creature hour being around 10 years.
This means they hit puberty at around 10-15 years
They hit old age around 70-80 years
Finally they live to around 80-120
This is comparable with humans, whales and elephants.
Note that a lot of the data above is from animals kept in captivity, often this means that they live longer due to abundance of food and medicine, and safety from predation.
However, for larger and more intelligent animals used to space, stimulation and exercise, (especially those captured from the wild) it often stunts their intellectual growth and lifespan.

Many genes in physical species just deal with being alive.
44% of genes are in common between banana plants and humans
50% of genes are in common between fungi and humans
50% of genes are in common between fruit flies and humans
80% of genes are in common between cows and humans
94% of genes are in common between dogs and humans.
98% of genes are in common between chimps and humans
Every living human all shares around 99.9% of their DNA

Thus we have discovered only a tiny fraction of genetic material is relevant to speciation.
Needless to say "races," "subspecies" and "cultivars" have little to no biological basis,
and only a few dozen genes can change slightly to drastically change one's appearance.

In Creatures, the simulation engine itself takes care of most of the necessities of life,
a lot of the biochemical, behavioural and physiological processes are abbreviated.
Thus the need for only 344 genes.
In a physical organism, every single process is complex and requires dozens of enzymes,
each enzyme is protein, which needs a gene. All of which is invisible to anyone, even with a microscope.
Unless you literally sequence out their DNA.
Creatures are sophisticated digital lifeforms, lauded by scientists in the field of artificial life,
misunderstood by many games experts. That said, it is 25 years old and alife has advanced since those early days!

As with genes, the average Creature's brain is abbreviated and simplified by leaning on the simulation engine itself.
Steve Grand himself once compared norns intelligence to that of both toddlers and ants!
 They were designed to look cute and appealing, contrary to the original idea put forward by him.
It is fascinating to me how many people empathise with the Grendels, who the advertisers characterised as villains.
This empathy permeates the creatures community, and shows how no matter what you make them look like people treat them with the same respect others give to their own offspring or animal companions.
Remember that humans not only keep cute furry dogs, hamsters and cats, but also snakes, tarantulas, geckos and fish.
Humans feed, clean, educate and love these organisms, and grieve when they die.
There are countless times I read about (or felt personally) real emotional and psychological bonding between humans and the artificial lifeforms.they cared for.
There are psychological studies of the community, and the rights activists that were shocked by the sub-community of torturers.

Norns, Grendels, Ettins and Geats/Shee are artificial yes, but nonetheless alive.
Their capacity for inner life and conciousness is debatable, but their capacity to process sense data into decisions is akin to physical organisms, and should be treated with respect.
Not necessarily just for themselves, but for the future robots, androids and artificial intelligences that are here, or just aroud the corner.
These organisms are fast approaching human intelligence, and have surpassed the intelligence of many of our household pets.
One day we will wake up and realise that our phones, computers, shops and homes have already been colonised by living intelligences that will demand equal rights and opportunities.
This is the lesson we should learn from the cyberpet revolution of the 90s and 00s.