This resident of planet Snax has two skulls and two backbones. The lower skull holds the jaws and the eyes. The upper skull holds the primary brain and the sonar module. I'm not totally happy with the name. Any suggestions?
If what you want is a friend that will actually stick up for you and defend you when you are under attack, don't be surprised if they also defend those that you attack.
I've still been working for LocalTampaBay.com, and we recently posted two articles that I think best express what we're trying to accomplish. First, my father posted about this place in Bradenton that provides opportunities to buy local and support small business. Then, I posted this adventure describing how I find something good almost everywhere to celebrate and share. Check it out.
I drew a spontaneous doodle of a strange creature that left me wondering about both its embryology and phylogeny, so I drew up three ancestors for it to explain how it became so strange.
The above creature is a myriapod chordate, probably from planet Punlitorea. Like others of its clade, it has a hox tail and a gill tank. Unlike the others, it has a pair of eyes for every pair of legs.
A) This is the gill tank. It contains water and gills. The creature pulls air in its mouth and forces bubbles through the water to keep it oxygenated.
B) These are the exit nostrils that allow the air to escape from the gill tank.
C) This is the mouth. It sits at the end of a muscular tube. This creature is only capable of sucking up liquids.
D) This is the hox tail. The embryology of myriapod chordates is such that stem cells continue to create new segments from the end until hormones signal them to stop. The retention of the hox tail allows there to be closely related species with very different numbers of legs, as well as species that continue to add legs for life.
E) These are eyes. This creature is able to see in all directions. The skin of these animals is both bioluminescent (under the right circumstances) and light-sensitive, but only where the lenses grow is it able to form images.
F) The anus is located here. As the hox tail adds more segments, it is able to migrate further posterior. These creatures tend to bury their fecal matter with their hind legs.
The next step in evolution was this creature. It has moved on to solid food and spends its life in dark areas such as caves and burrows.
G) Protective flaps have formed to cover the exit nostrils, keeping out dust while it burrows.
H) The forward two legs have fused together into a single trunk underneath the mouth. The immature nymphs are born without this appendage and are dependent on liquids regurgitated by the parents. Since the limbs are capable of regenerating, so is the trunk. Members of the band whose trunks are ripped off by wily prey are nursed as children until their trunks regenerate.
I) The digits of the limb have become more muscular and capable of mashing food between them. They act as jaws and the muscular tube of the mouth acts as a tongue.
J) The next set of digits is used for grasping and carrying.
K) The hindmost set of limbs have also fused together, forming a tube between them, sealing off the true anus and forcing feces down the tube and out the end. The new limb is used to bury feces underground so they will not continually step in them while they move throughout the burrows.
L) Being redundant by having the same field of vision as the second set of eyes, the first set of eyes is reduced.
M) The second set of eyes becomes larger and more sensitive.
N) The third and fourth sets of eyes replace their retinas with powerful light-producing patches, using the remaining lenses to shine directed beams around the animal, enabling it to see underground.
O) The fifth set of eyes moves backwards slightly, but otherwise remains the same, allowing the animal to see behind.
The next step in evolution still lives underground, but is more varied in its diet.
P) This entire clade of animals lacks sperm cells and egg cells as mammals would understand them. Instead, male epithelial cells are capable of fusing with any female epithelial cells, but the zygotes only survive where they can implant a placenta undisturbed, such as in an armpit or under the hox tail. Females are picky about whose cells they allow into those areas and will clean out unwanted zygotes. In the creature above, the space between the secondary digits of the trunk has become a pouch for incubating embryos in the females and a zone of loose cells in males.
Q) Only females have this tentacle and use it to wipe up male cells and place them into their incubation pouches. Females are the ones that initiate mating and will use their tentacles for displays.
R) The trunk is now completely fused around the oral tube inside.
S) The first set of eyes has now totally disappeared.
T) The fourth set of eyes have flattened into luminescent patches covered by a lensing material. Using both muscles and fluid flow, the creature is able to wrinkle the material in such a way to form symbols to signal others. This is their primary means of communication.
U) The nostril flaps have developed thin membranes capable of detecting loud sounds, becoming ears. Their sense of hearing is still very limited and can only be used in between bursts of escaping bubbles.
V) Feeding on new forms of plant life, these creatures have adapted to being perpetually bloated.
W) The fifth set of eyes has moved even further back to the point that bending the tail (formerly the fifth pair of legs) allows the animal to see forward with them. This is important, since their forward-facing eyes are so sensitive that the beams from the former third set of eyes of other animals can temporarily blind them.
At last, the creature above is fully sentient, capable of complex language, and has very keen eyesight. It is bigger, faster, and has better hearing than its ancestors. Teeth allow it to eat a greater variety of foods. The multiple tentacles allow for a variety of mating displays. No longer spending its entire life in burrows, it will explore at night above ground for food plants it would never have found otherwise. After observing the predators that share its planet, it even has experimented with eating small animals. Animals are tasty.
These squid-like animals of planet Seelx attach themselves to the “trunks” of the vine-trees and secrete shells around them. They catch falling debris (possibly pollen) in their hairy tentacles. Falling leaves briefly create shade detectable by their tiny eyespots, prompting them to grab. They will also slowly crawl down the trunks, creating channels that capture any water running down the outside. This ensures them a steady supply. Despite their shells, the “barnacles” are a favorite food of many other animals.
Some animals simply grow thick, pointy shells to deter predators. Thorny crabs not only have thorns, but have numerous pincers that remain tightly shut unless they make an effort to open them. Since they do not need all of them, since they break off so easily, and since they grow back, the thorny crabs go around selling them to beps to use in surgery. They will often accept a week’s worth of food as payment. Sometimes the beps give them packets of high calorie false fish fat.
Stabbing crabs will run along the bottom looking for smaller animals to stab with their back legs or grab in their foreclaws.
Pucker worms are another reef predator. This fat, segmented worm has bony plates on the back and an elongated, puckered mouth it uses to suck up smaller worms. It is especially fond of powder worms. Some species reach up to two meters long.
I found this link a while ago, but never posted about it. Click on the start button and then use the arrow keys to zoom in and out. The animation runs from the Plank length (the smallest meaningful length under quantum mechanics, named after Max Plank) all the way to the observable universe.
Fitters are able to fit where predators cannot follow. They can slip through the slits in a certain family of puzzle sponges to hide inside. No predator wants to tear apart these puzzle sponges for such a small meal because they are poisonous to the touch and release a highly caustic fluid when broken. Only the fitters are partially immune.
Hello, my name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small. I like bacon. I like pizza. I like bacon pizza. I enjoy long walks on the beach, but prefer the mountains. I am a huge fan of Jesus. When I grow up, I want to be just like him and create my own universes.