Sunday, 20 October 2013

Salsa Invertebraxa : Free pdf available!

In July 2012 I wrote a post on a book I liked very much: Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops. The book is about insects on a quest. Yes, that sounds odd, and it is an odd book, as well as a brilliant one! For a closer look got the publishers website:

Click to enlarge

The good news is that it is now available for free as a pdf file. The resolution is fairly low, but it is free. There may be a digital version for Kindle and other devices in the future. I will keep you informed when there is news of that.  Here is a direct link to the pdf file.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Archives VIII

There still is no time to write anything extensive. I have plans for chapters on 'exobotany', having read enough about plants on earth to begin thinking about which aspects where evolution might take things in another direction. But those kind of posts require quite a bit of time, so they will have to wait a bit longer.  Instead, another quick visit to the Archives of the Institute of Furahan Biology, those cavernous halls filled with sketches of animals that mostly never saw the light of a fictional sky...

As the analogy is beginning to show signs of severe stress, let's have a look at some sketches instead.

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

The Scuttle
A scuttle, or at least that is what I wrote alongside it. It is definitely un unclassifiable life form, without apparent link to extant Furahan Clades. It's certainly not a Fish, and it does not seen to be a hexamere at all. There are four fins, it would seem, although the aft ones differ so much from the front ones that it is doubtful they share the same basic anatomy. Then there are two vertical fins that also de not seem to share structural similarities with the other fins. The head certainly is odd, with six eyes in two rows, and a mouth flanged by two, well, flanges.  Their purpose is not immediately obvious, and there do not seem to be recognisable jaws. The animal as a whole seems to be a fairly fast swimmer, but otherwise it is had to tell what it eats or what is does.

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

Caecus panopticus
This one, in contrast, is easily recognisable as a tetrapterate, a four-winged avian of hexamere stock. Having four wings poses interesting problems for an avian on the found or sitting on a branch, as this one is doing. In later avian developments I worked out a different folding pattern, one that differs more from the Earth bird pattern shown here. The later design still allowed the front wings to be folded on the outside of the larger hind wings, though. This particular animal cannot be taken too seriously, with its oversized head and beak. Still, take a look at a marabou or a toucan, and you will find that earth birds have also produced forms that, if not true, would be ridiculous.

That holds for this 'Caecus panopticus' as well. The genus' name was derived from a superficial resemblance of the eyes with dark glasses, seen from the side. The animal is not blind however, as its name suggests, but had quite good eyesight, in common with all Furahan avians. 

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk
Here it is again, now with a tentative colouring underlying the sketch. The colours do not make it look any more serious, but it is not meant to be that anyway. Speculative Biology can do with a bit of humour, I think.