Good Post Mate.
When we look throughout our own galaxy (I won't enter into other galaxies here as they are too distant), it's pretty much made up of the same stuff
- just different ratios. We have suns, planets, nebula, gravitational forces, radiation, ice - etc etc, etc. As far as we know, it's all governed by
the same periodic table. The same 'stuff' essentially. Everything repeats itself.
When we look at genetics, animals that have eyes positioned more to the sides of their heads are generally herbivore. They need a wider scope of
vision to graze and keep an eye on the periphery for carnivores (or predators).
Animals that have eye's positioned to the front are generally predators. They aren't too worried about being preyed upon themselves. They're only
concern is keeping their 'eyes on the prize'. They are motivated by a singular goal.
Omnivores have proliferated on planet Earth because they are adaptable thus allowing them to grow in quantities where-by they don't need to be
especially strong as an individual. Their power resides in their numbers. Omnivores also tend to have eyes in positioned to the front of the head.
They also have incisors, canines and molars to tackle their varied diets, (which incidentally, leads to their success as a species over long periods
and through tough times). Climate Change anyone?
OK - so far, the odds suggest they could be omnivore with eye's placed closer to the front of the face or marginally to the side. They will also
likely have 3 types of teeth in order for them to spread and utilize many food sources within the varied environments on their planets.
What else do we need?
Nothing of value besides manure for fertilization is produced by our 4 legged friends. They cannot manipulate objects to the degree that bipedal
creatures can. I can't see them manipulating optical fibers or creating the complex machinery needed to produce technologies such as nanotech etc.
Hooves and pincers must therefore be out of the question too (for obvious reasons).
Also, as one member already stated, most of their neurons are dedicated to 4+ legged locomotion.
What we need are a balance of arms and legs. Arms to fight, defend, to build and create, and digits (fingers and opposable thumbs at least) to
manipulate small, technical objects with the required finesse... or to build machines that do that for them. Legs for acceptable locomotion.
I wont go on any longer as I don't want this to turn into a novel so lets look at what we have so far.
I see the basic model being:
A bipedal omnivore, with eyes to the front of the head (or close to) and 3 types of teeth, arms and legs with opposable thumbs for locomotion and
manipulation/creation. Probably soft skinned as they had the numbers for safety instead of something like an exoskeleton.
That's my 2 cents worth. The only variance I can foresee is size and skin color as on Earth due to different terrains, climates and diet.
This is theoretical to a degree but it also carries much water. And is provable beyond conjecture with what we know of science and successful
InfraRedman Out! Peace!
[edit on 4/3/08 by InfaRedMan]