Serious exobiology:How Hivers could have evolved
Hivers are fiction but they could exist in fact.
Care for young
One aspect of Hivers that humans find hard to accept is the way young larvae are treated as vermin while Hivers care for older larvae. Hivers will rarely be related to a young larva they encounter. They would not help spread their genes by caring for it. Furthermore most larvae under a year old are unfit and die. Hivers would not gain from investing care in an unfit, young larva. Caring for an older larva which has proved its fitness by surviving without help for a year is a better strategy. Therefore Hivers evolved the willingness to care for older larvae but not newly dropped larvae.
Harder to explain is why Hivers look after older larvae. The Hivers in a nest are not related to the larvae they take in or to each other. Young Hivers stay in their first nest for least 15 years. We must assume that during this time they repay the care they get. Apprentice Hivers must work sufficiently hard to repay all the care and education they get. Their work must help adult Hivers in their community to be healthier and drop more larvae. Otherwise adult Hivers would not have evolved the willingness to care for them.
Cooperation among Hivers
As stated above Hivers in a nest are not related. They are however reproductive partners. They shake hands whenever they meet. Hivers that have belonged to a nest for a reasonable length of time will carry genetic material from many/most/all other Hivers of that nest in their reproductive pouches. If Hivers help unrelated adults in their nest to be healthy and strong they help these adults to drop larvae which are sometimes related to the helper.
Sex among Hivers
Humans find the Hiver practise of shaking hands and exchanging genetic information whenever they meet hard to explain. As explained above it strengthens social bonds and encourages cooperation. There is one difficulty. Most Terran animals and Humans prefer to mate with healthy fit partners. That way they mix their genes with the genes of healthy fit individuals. Hivers mate indiscriminately. Possibly the benefits of encouraging all Hivers to cooperate with them outweigh the disadvantages of sometimes mating with unfit individuals.
Hivers may not reproduce every time they have sex
Human females have evolved a strategy whereby they are more likely to conceive when they enjoy sex with a fit, attractive partner. Hivers may have evolved a similar mechanism to prevent reproductive material from unfit partners entering their reproductive pouches. They may prevent this some or all of the time. Accepting genetic material from unfit partners only rarely may be benecicial as it improves genetic diversity. Unfit Hivers would not know that their genetic material had been rejected and would cooperate with rejecting Hivers as if nothing had happened. Such a mechanism may not even involve conscious volition. The rejecting Hiver may not know about the rejection either. Once Hivers could ensure that only/preferentially genetic material from fit individuals was received there would be no barrier to indiscriminate sex.
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