Animula, latin for a piece of soul or life, is another sanctuary for life; a planet quite similar to earth, but due to evolution's randomness in establishing traits, is home to creatures awe-inspiringly different superficially, behaviourally and fundamentally to life on earth, down to their very cells. When humans, in in midst of a new foray into space by means of wormhole genesis, discovered this amazing life-filled planet, scientists had at last found conclusive evidence that life did indeed exist out of earth, and not just tiny extremeophilic life; life that was multicellular, sophisticated, intelligent, and all the more astonishing (and massive because of Animula's lower gravity).
Life on animula has went through a marvellous history of evolution and extinction, and on the way, has gave rise to millions of species, each different in their own way to their brethren on Animula and earth, and each of which is destined to its own eventual fate: evolution or extinction.
Early Life on AnimulaEdit
First formation of life and primitive Parenids (Prolezoic, 586–2810 myai)Edit
By the start of the Prolezoic, most of the water vapour from Sagitta has condensed into oceans, with the addition of asteroidal water sources. The conditions of incessant thunder, water, and chemicals would have formed basic RNA components, such as amino acids, which in turn could have reacted into RNA. Eventually, RNA could form within enclosed lipid bubbles, as the data from experiments under conditions of early earth showed that they probably would. The bubbles with the highest survival and replication chance got to pass on its genetic data, in a crude form of evolution. (this is in accordance with the theory that these chemicals could in fact form from those conditions, though it may not be true). This extensive period of time eventually gave rise to simplicells and complecells, the Animulan equivalents of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, in that order. There are three main differences: these cells have two nuclei, they had ducts that bring chemicals in and out, and a single Ribosynthesyzer instead of multiple Ribosomes. (I go into way more detail into this in the Anatomy and Biology of Exoanimals and Anatomy and Biology of Parenids).
The first Parvi, by far the most diverse microbial simplicells, were anaerobic creatures, inhaling Hydrogen Sulfide (a compound very poisonous for aerobic creatures) from the atmosphere. Early complecells preyed on these, engulfing them whole with their flexible lipid cell membrane. However, one group of complecell which would later give rise to the Ingenia, developed a method of photosynthesis using sunlight and CO2 to produce sugars, and exhaling oxygen; this oxygen was acutely toxic to anaerobic Parvi, and these anaerobic Parvi eventually retreated to deep sea ocean vents, leaving the open seas for other life-forms to take over; an ecosystem that the complecells were happy to take over, diversifying and creating intricate predator and prey relationships and webs.
Lower Animulian (pre-Molean) (2810–4000 myai)Edit
- Main article: Vitazoic Era (Animula)
The Animulian eon, analogous to the phanerozoic eon on earth, is the period that nearly all complex, multicellular life is compacted into. By this time, Animula is not the hellhole of molten metal and rock it once was; it is now a blue planet (not green, as the parenids here are predominantly blue coloured) with a radiation free and oxygen rich environment.
Multicellular Life (Ingena) and diversity explosion (Lower Primizoic, 2764–2850 myai)Edit
The first multicellular life forms, called Ingena, so characteristic of this eon were probably simple mats of photosynthetic complecells; the first Parenids and the first Ingena. These Parenids exploded in diversity, as they exploited a niche nigh unused before: utilizing sunlight to produce sugars, instead of obtaining it. Some parenids evolved the ability to grow on others to obtain a nutrition boost; and as they grew more and more specialized at exploiting other life forms, they evolved a complex liquid transfer system and simple mobility; these were the first Motoplants. But the Exoanimals were still to come.
The first Exoanimals(Upper Primizoic, 2850–2994 myai)Edit
During the Middle Vitazoic, one group of Motoplants had a speciality: when an adult Motoplant of this genus developed offspring the offspring had a distinct tail and a front end, and lived actively, swimming around and subsisting on free-floating planktonic Parenids, until it encounters a multicellular Parenid, at which it morphs back into an asymmetrical growth as an adult, being fixed permanently onto its host.
But soon, neonatal morphs of these Motoplants stayed in a motile form all their lives, feeding exclusively on planktonic Parenids and actively searching for food. Eventually a mutation in its genes turned off its ability to photosynthesize, but by that time these creatures were almost fully reliant on other life-forms, and losing the ability to photosynthesize only gave them evolutionary pressure to evolve to be even bigger and faster. These were the first Exoanimals.
Very quickly in terms of evolutionary time, Exoanimals began to diversify into a huge variety of life; the first dominant class of Exoanimals were simple free floating plankton filterers or ground-hugging Parenid grazers known as Inanians; but these soon gave way to Duritians: skeleton-lacking creatures with three to four pairs of limbs, Duritians were named (latin for hard skin) for a lattice of rigid outer skin, known as hardskin, which acted like a pseudo-exoskeleton, supporting the animal. During most of the Lower Vitazoic, Duritians ruled the seas, ranging from slow ground feeders with shell-like skin on their backs to body-undulating open sea predators.
The Inframoles evolve(Lower Vitazoic, 2994-3057 myai)Edit
At a time when hard-skinned Duritians ruled the life-filled world, a new group of Exoanimals were evolving; a group who would soon become the Inframoles (latin for under-structure), and rule the world of Animula.
Around 2995 myai, a strange, basal species of Duritian developed a row of segmented keratinous hardskin on its underside: flexible, but sturdy; the rest of the body would be covered in flexible skin. Eventually these hardskin segments would start to evolve curved spines that extended into the body and went around the circumference of the proto-inframole till about the halfway point of the body. This simple design, developed only in a tiny plankton feeder in a world of other Duritians, would soon be a feature of nearly every ruling group of Exoanimals since.
A further innovation in the body of these proto-inframoles would allow them to dominate the Duritians: the front pair of "ribs" would angle forwards and hinge on their joining segment, essentially forming the blueprint for the powerful jaws of Inframoles to come. This simple jaw was a huge advantage to these creatures, and these early Inframoles would slowly outcompete their Duritian competitors for the open ocean, forming the first major clade of successful Inframoles: the Opthalmians, who would continue to be the dominant marine group until present day.
Life goes on land (Upper Vitazoic, 3057-3180 myai)Edit
Despite the water's supportive, vertical environment, allowing its inhabitants to possess a minimal supportive skeleton, the Vitazoic oceans were extremely hostile. Fierce competition with other herbivores, along with deadly, massive predators, cluttered the ocean, putting pressure on all creatures to evolve to be bigger and faster in an evolutionary arms race (sounds interesting, so I might expand on this).
Parenids had long colonized the land, utilizing the lack of herbivores and sunlight not obscured by the water. They covered the ground in huge, twisted flat mats, whilst a few species started to develop hard bunches of cells to raise photosynthesizing cells above the ground. Soon, a few hardy legged Duritians started to spend longer and longer on land, gorging themselves on the Parenid growth.
The four great eras of land fauna (not a time period per se...)Edit
Earth has three such eras: the era of the non-mammalian synapsids (arguable), the era of the dinosaurs, and the era of the mammals. Likewise, Animula has four: the era of the Terraduritians, the era of the Primisaurs, the era of the Retroincendons, and the era of the Trimalans.
Era 1: The last era of the Terraduritians(Telluean, 3124–3220 myai)Edit
- Main article: Telluean Epoch (Animula)
Soon the first Inframoles crawled onto land as well, capitalizing on the even denser Parenid growth by this time, for Parenids had diversified: primitive mats still covered the ground, but above them towered huge shoots that held up massive umbrella-shaped structures, as well as tangled bushes of twisted Parenid shoots ending in photosynthesizing bulbs. Despite being overshadowed by the Terraduritians who already adapted to rule the land by the time the first Inframole pioneers came onto land, at 3207 myai, the Inframoles also adapted to their new environment.
All land-dwelling Inframoles are called Hexapedes, thanks to their possessing six limbs, or vestiges of six limbs; a feature which was consolidated in these first land-dwelling Inframoles. The first Hexapedes had been amphibious, and used their three pairs of limbs in a series of undulations to propel through water, unlike the flipperlike hind limbs of true Opthalmians; and these three fins adapted more and more for land-based roles, packing in on muscle and evolving thicker bones configured in a shock absorbing sturdy shape.
Around 3219 myai, the Marcean supervolcano started pumping millions of tons toxic volcanic ash into the atmosphere, blotting out the sun globally. Without the sun, Parenids started to wither en masse, leaving a ground littered with rotting remnants of the life forms. The dying out of Parenids starved all the herbivorous Inframoles, especially the larger ones which needed the most nourishment, and life further and further up the food web died, as each food below in the web disappeared, leading to its own extinction. This catastrophic event lead to the extinction of all Terraduritians larger than 0.5 kilograms. The inframoles, being smaller and more versatile, had a better time of it, and when the skies finally cleared, it was the inframoles who rebounded with the greatest haste and intensity, dominating Animula; whilst the Terraduritians would never reach their former glory, and would also diversify, though never reaching their former sizes or success in the food web.
Era 2: The time of the Primisaurs(Molean, 3220-3467 myai)Edit
- Main article: Molean Era (Animula)
The TM boundary event which wiped out the medium to large terraduritians was certainly horrible to the terraduritians on the recieving end, as well as on all other life on earth as well, but as ash finally cleared from the troposphere, it turned out that the TM boundary also wiped clean the slate of life on land in Animula, allowing a whole new class of animal to take over the niches that the terraduritians left behind. The class to inherit the land were the Primisaurs, primitive, slow, but hugely successful Hexapedes, covered in a chain-mail like lattice of hardskin.
By 3240 myai the land of Animula was teeming with life in huge forms, up to 5 metres long. One such ecosystem was the Marcean plains, just 20 million years ago the site of the volcanic eruption which nearly wiped out the terraduritians, now a habitat of immense diversity: within just one square mile, there can be hundreds of herd-travelling gregarious herbivorous Tondeos, mowing and decimating the thin Parenid mats loosely covering the ground.
These in turn are prey for the Tondeophagus, a massive, sprawling beast specialized on Tondeos, with long, extremely powerful jaws and slow but steady semi-erect limbs. The rest of the world was similarly covered in such slow sprawlers, collectively known as Primisaurs.
But all this was about to end. At around 3466 myai, a massive asteroid up to 10 km in diameter slammed into the lithosphere of Animula. As with the TM boundary event, a series of catastrophes that wiped out species further and further up the food chains killed off the Primisaurs, except for one small group: a group of herbivores which had the ability to rise onto their hind limbs to reach for plants. A group which would grow to dominate the earth for nearly 400 myai, as the Retroincendons.
Era 3: The reign of the Retroincendons(Mesoean, 3467-3820 myai)Edit
- Main article: Mesoean Era (Animula)
The cold-blooded Retroincendons, unlike nearly all other Hexapedes, only walk on their hind limbs, which are extremely powerful and have heavily derived connective vertebrae with very specialised shapes with long protrusions as attachments for strong muscles and ligaments. Their skin is segmented into flabs of extra thick calloused skin, which acts like an armor for the Retroincendon, protecting it from predators and competitors.
An extinction can be a creative force, allowing a few marginalized species to explode in diversity; such as when the permian extinction wiped out 95% of all species, allowing that remaining 5% to evolve into all the splendour of the dinosaurs and mammals today. Similarly, when the MM extinction asteroid slammed into the lithosphere, up to 85% of species died; allowing a few marginalized species, like the first Retroincendons, to conquer the land of Animula.
These creatures reach humungous sizes, such as the Turrimolus, a six metre tall colossus of a herbivore, roaming woodlands and tearing down giant umbreparenids, Parenids with thick strong stems that hold up an immense umbrella structure above, up to 10 metres in diameter. Retroincendons pushed the horizontal limits as well, reaching lengths of up to 15 metres in predators with low-lying, sausage-shaped bodies and very long, powerful jaws.
But soon they would go extinct. Long story short, at around 3818 myai, Animula had entered an unusually and extremely severe ice age, and the Retroincendons, cold blooded and hideless, couldn't cope. But a distant relative of them, with thick insulation and warm blood, could, and they would take over the land once the Retroincendons were gone. They were the Trimalans.
Era 4: The debut of the Trimalans(Neoanimalian, 3820-4000 myai AKA present day)Edit
- Main article: Neoanimalian Era (Animula)
Trimalans are unusual and distinguishable among Hexapedes in three ways: firstly, as their latin namesake suggests, they have three pairs of teeth and three "jaws": the top two jaws angle downwards towards the skull, which also has teeth and opens and closes with some force, acting like a third "jaw". Secondly, Trimalans retain a lattice of hardskin on their skin, but in Trimalans this lattice is much more tightly meshed and only loosely hang off the skin in thick or sparse layers like insulation. Thirdly, Trimalans exhibit ovovivipary, storing embryos in an enclosed elastic sac that branches off from deep in the esophagus, close to the stomachs, and delivered nutrients from the intestinal tubes; when an egg has been laid, it is engulfed and stored in the sac, whereupon the shell degenerates into a soft porous bag, until the embryo matures, upon which the mother regurgitates the embryo.
|Information||Taxonomy • Exoanimal Biology • Parenid Biology • History of Life|
|Primizoic Era||• Cascuinania||• Primiduritizoa|
|Vitazoic Era||• Primiinframolezoa|
|Neoanimalian Era||• Draconemaria (Class)|