Welcome to my Metazoic site! This site discusses the existence of the creatures to come along after humans will be extinct. I first became interested in a world after man when I acquired my first copy of Dougal Dixon's After Man: A Zoology of the Future in 1992. However, I unwittingly created creatures that did not exist from the time I was about 8 years old. But it was after I obtained a copy of that book (now a collector's item) that I decided to take these same creatures I created as a child and make them more realistic in an evolutionary sense. Though it may be hard for a lot of us to grasp, humans will soon become extinct. One of the biggest factors of how this will happen is the current overpopulation rate. Which is why I don't contribute to the population. I created this world with little more than mammals fulfilling all ecological niches with the help of some friends. I even gave the era of the age after man a name, I called it the Metazoic, derived from the words for "After-era" (Meta, meaning after, and zoic meaning era). We are now in the Cenozoic era. To view all the animals I have created since I began this project, you can go to the "Meet the Mammals" section of this site. To discuss your own ideas about what you think will happen in the future world, and share your ideas with others, please feel free to leave a comment.
One more thing, some of you may find this site quite offensive, and you have a right to your own opinion. But please respect my right to have an opinion too. I'm not saying there is no GOD, I believe it was HIM who got the ball rolling. But I believe after that, evolution took over. There is so much more evidence of evolution than there is of creation. Even that going on right under our noses. Other than that, enjoy yourself and visit our many links.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Family of the Week: The Oreippids

These animals, I call them "hill-rats", are not really rats, but descendants of chinchillas of today. Like modern chinchillas, they are sprinters. Most species have evolved longer legs for running. As the common name I gave them implies, these are creatures of the mountainous areas of North and South America. The coat is thick to block out chilling winds, the ears are small and round in most species, and well-furred. The feet are like those of camels, soft-padded and the toes are highly flexible. The tail is long and provides the animals with superior balance. Most species are small, the size of rats to the size of jackrabbits. But one species, Oreippus, is the size of a horse. The smallest species, Acanthopsis, is the only species whose coat is spiked with sharp spines in between their thick fur.

In Acanthopsis, the spines range up to an inch long, and the tail is tipped with sharp spines. This keeps the tail out of the mouths of predators so the animal can get away. They have long, pointed ears like a rabbit. The muzzle is long and pointed and the eyes are large. The body is basically very rat-like. They roost in small underground crevices. They are solitary animals, only becoming social during the breeding season. Like all species in this family they are vegetarians. But they tend to get all the water they need from their food, so they never drink.

The species of Ornatophrys are among the most colorful of rodents. These long-legged, rabbit-sized animals have naked eye rings that during the breeding season, develop into long, colorful wattles used by the males to attract females and seduce them into mating. The females lack the wattles, but still have the naked eye rings. These wattles vary in color by species, and range from red, purple, blue to green and yellow. The tail is well-furred and carried over the back when in motion. They run like miniature horses, and are very agile animals over their rocky homes. They are social too, living in small pods of no more than 10 individuals that travel and feed together. The group contains a dominant male and female, and usually lower-ranking females and young. One of the lower-ranking females often acts as a sentinnel, and the rest of the group relies on her to warn them of oncoming predators.

Oreippus is the largest species, and lives in the largest herds. There is no real order in herds of Oreippus, but the older animals take the lead in the herd. Herds of Oreippus are as large as 100 animals. Ephalteria is the second largest member of the family, about the size of a jackrabbit, and travels in herds like horses. It is the North American version of Oreippus. The herds are not as large though. Instead of taking long leaps like jackrabbits do, Ephalteria is a sprinter, like a horse or antelope. All species are grazers, and feed on grasses, lichens and seeds.

Though these animals can defend themselves very well by biting or kicking, or even dropping their tails, they have a lot of predators in their range. Besides the mongooses and deinognathids, they also fear predatory bats and hawks, snakes, predatory lizards, lemurs, weasels and foxes. Though most species rarely go near water, when they do, they can also be taken by crocodiles. If one of the smaller animals is grabbed by the tail by a predator, they have the amazing ability to shed their tail, much like a modern chinchilla. However, unlike with chinchillas, these animals can actually grow their tail back. Though the bones that regenerate may be smaller and more slender than the original tail bones, and the flesh that regenerates is usually dark gray in color instead of pink like the original. This is the animal's best defense, particularly for the smaller species. The larger Oreippus uses it's powerful hind feet as weapons of defense, as they cannot shed their tails as easily as the smaller species.

I personally have not yet worked on this family, but there is a place for it on my site, under the large grazers. Why I have it in that group I don't know!! LOL! Most of the species would be what I consider small.

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