Tumblr user Prokopetz responded to someone asking what of our traits would make human beings scary science fiction creatures.
You’ll never look at your friends and family the same way after reading this…
“Humans have a number of advantages even among Terrestrial life. Our endurance, shock resistance, and ability to recover from injury is absurdly high compared to almost any other animal. We often use the phrase healthy as a horse to connote heartiness – but compared to a human, a horse is as fragile as spun glass. Theres mounting evidence that our primitive ancestors would hunt large prey simply by following it at a walking pace, without sleep or rest, until it died of exhaustion; its called pursuit predation. Basically, were the Terminator.
(The only other animal that can sort of keep up with us? Dogs. Thats why we use them for hunting. And even then, its only sort of.)
Now extrapolate that to a galaxy in which most sapient life did not evolve from hyper-specialised pursuit predators:
Our strength and speed is nothing to write home about, but we dont need to overpower or outrun you. We just need to outlast you – and by any other species standards, we just plain dont get tired.
Where a simple broken leg will cause most species to go into shock and die, we can recover from virtually any injury thats not immediately fatal. Even traumatic dismemberment isnt necessarily a career-ending injury for a human.
We heal from injuries with extreme rapidity, recovering in weeks from wounds that would take others months or years to heal. The results arent pretty – humans have hyperactive scar tissue, among our other survival-oriented traits – but theyre highly functional.
Speaking of scarring, look at our medical science. We developed surgery centuries before developing even the most rudimentary anesthetics or life support. In extremis, humans have been known to perform surgery on themselves – and survive. Thanks to our extreme heartiness, we regard as routine medical procedures what most other species would regard as inventive forms of murder. We even perform radical surgery on ourselves for purely cosmetic reasons.
In essence, wed be Space Orcs.”