The temperate woodland-dwellers, Homo virgultis frabricatus, (also known as temperate forest-dwellers, woodland-dwellers or ground-dwellers) is a qudrupedal, Australopithecus-like human from 500 years (the 25th Century), engineered from Andlas, that takes niches left behind in temperate environments, from Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future. Their limbs are ideal for climbing trees.

A human engineered to survive and flourish in a temperate forest without the backup of civilization would need to be omnivorous. Forests are less abundant than tropical jungle. To reach the full range of foodstuffs available, the temperate woodland-dweller has to be extremely nimble, and be able to live both at ground level in the undergrowth and high in the treetops. Arms and legs are of similar length and long, but agile, climbing fingers increase its range. A covering of fine hair keeps the woodland-dweller warm in the temperate conditions.

This is the one that is going to cause the problems, Carahudru the Hitek sees that. It has few adaptations, but looks little like its ancestral Andla. It is covered by a fine furry pelt, so that it need never manufacture clothing. The arms are longer, the fingers are more delicate, and the teeth are stronger. What is more the feet are prehensile, with the big toe developed into a thumb to help the creature to climb trees. Deprived of the support of the big toe, it can no longer stand upright, and its position at rest is a four-footed crouch. It is like a nonhuman animal, but there is no avoiding that. The traditional human frame is totally unsuited for anything but a cultured civilization, so if mankind must live from the fruits of nature without resorting to culture and civilization it is going to have to abandon any traditional view of beauty and elegance. It is going to have to return to the beast.

They also engineered it with low intelligence. If it is to be surrounded by food, the argument went, then it will only need enough intelligence to allow it to find it. An intelligent creature may cause trouble, may feel resentment at being experimented upon, envy at not being able to live in the cities, rebellion against those that engineered it. What is more it may try to better itself, and build its own civilization (and civilization does not now seem to mean a long-lasting and successful species).

In the back of Carahudru's mind is a lurking misgiving. Throughout evolutionary time, the unspecialized creatures proved to be the most adaptable. The new world that is being engineered now is supposed to be balanced, with an engineered creature installed in each environment. If one in particular evolves to encroach on another's environment, what will the long-term result be? It may even be that intelligence will re-evolve by itself.

That is for the future, though. Carahudru throws open the door and his creature steps gingerly out into the bracken and brambles of the deciduous woodland. Immediately it feels at home. Into the thicket it runs, having totally forgotten Carahudru in the flying vessel. Carahudru catches a last glimpse of the sunlight casting a dappled pattern on its back before it disappears into the warm greenery.

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