Gurlanins originally appeared in Karen Traviss’s increasingly famous Republic Commando novels, set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They are the only native sentient species of the planet Quilura. They are best known for their neat little feature: shapeshifting. Their natural form resembles a large, black canine, but they can morph into not only other living beings, but even inorganic substances. If they choose to, they can become invisible to infrared and thermal sensors, and can mask their Force signatures. How do they manage this? I have an idea.

As you know if you’ve read the books, Gurlanins can communicate telepathically from different sides of the galaxy. Their minds are somehow linked. When they morph into nonliving objects, they have no organs to keep them alive, but if my theory is correct, then they can use the fact that their minds are linked, and keep each other’s minds alive when their bodies are unable to support them. You can think of individual Gurlanins as cells, and the species as a whole as a multicellular being. Any one cell would die on its own, but relying on each other, they can all stay alive.

It sounds unlikely, but I can’t think of a better explanation. What do you think?