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, January 26, 2009

Family of the Week: The Scaly Hares

The family Sogariidae are not really hares at all, but relatives of the pangolins. In the face, many of them do resemble modern hares though. The ears are long and mobile, they walk on their hind limbs, they still have scales, but the amount is reduced from those of today's pangolins. The scales only cover certain portions of the body. The rest of the body is covered with thick fur. Walking bipedally allowed these animals to move a little bit faster than their modern day relatives. But the scales on the body still offers some protection. The scales also serve another purpose for these animals in the Metazoic. The scales became colorful mating decorations. The males are brightly colored to attract the females to them during their mating season. The tail is long and used for balancing the animal as it rears up on it's hind legs. Most of these animals are rather large and live in couples. The feet are equipped with rather sharp claws that can slice open an attacking predator. They eat almost anything. They will feed on plant matter, insects and other invertebrates, small mammals and bird's eggs and on carrion. They have no teeth so they swallow most of their prey whole, and allow their gizzard to digest the food into powder. The prey is killed and crushed in the mouth using sharp, bony plates that evolved in the mouth in place of teeth. At the front of the mouth, a sharp, hooked, beak-like formation made of bone grasps the prey and brings it into the mouth, it also helps crush the prey to death. Their lifestyle is much like what we see in modern bears. All species are diurnal, with very good eyesight. Though the sense of smell is not much better than ours.

The largest of these animals is Lepiteles, with an average height of 10 feet tall when standing on it's hind legs. They can be very vicious adversaries for oncoming attackers. The ears are also among the largest in the family. But it is their claws that makes these animals formidable. The body is covered with scales, except for the belly, all the way to the end of the tail, and the head. The eyes are large and the eyesight is very good. This is one of several species in this family that will seek out and eat carrion. In consequence the sense of smell is better in this species than in any other member of this family. They use their size and claws to take over and chase away smaller scavengers. The hind feet have only 3 toes on each foot. But all toes are tipped with sharp, curved claws. They are not fast runners.

The smallest species in the family are in Pholidiculus, most of these species are actually very rabbit-like. These animals also have some of the most colorful scales in the family. They were the first species to reach the New World from Asia. Like their relatives in the Old World, these animals walk bipedally. But unlike their Old World relatives, these animals often walk on all fours as well. The sides of the animal is covered with scales, but the back, the belly, the head and neck and the tail have no scales. The largest species in Pholidiculus stands about 5 feet tall on it's hind legs. The diet of this species is comprised of mostly invertebrates. Though they are mostly plains dwellers, some species have adapted to life in the dense forests.

I have been considering separating this family into 2 sub-families. The Sogariinae with the New World species, and the Lepitelinae with the Old World species. But I haven't worked on much of the differences yet. Though thanks to one of my posters on this blog I considered making these animals more bipedal than the hare-like animals I originally came up with. Though again the face and ears are still rather hare-like.

These animals, due to them being such formidable adversaries, have few predators. In the Metazoic, all but the boldest of predators will not confront these animals. The scaly hares have sharp, curved claws on all feet, and can use either their front or back feet claws for protection. The hind feet are generally used if a predator manages to flip the animal over, as well as the forelimbs. Though the forelimbs are also used in the initial meeting with an attacking predator. The scales add extra armor to their bodies. The scales are made of much the same material as our fingernails and are very tough and impenetrable. Though that does not stop some predators that can very well place a killing bite. The deinognathids, mongooses, some predatory lemurs, snakes, hunting pteropods, and some predatory squirrels are capable of taking these animals on. Though for most animals it is rare to be able to bring these animals down.


Metalraptor said...

No offense, but I really don't see pangolins, who are near-toothless specialized ant-eaters, becoming a diverse group so easily (anteaters...maybe, since you mentioned Formiciarctos is also a kleptoparasite). Instead, pehaps a tenrec species developed armored scales, which allowed them to grow large because they then had no predators, and shift their diet to include a wider range of foods. It would also fit in with the theme of "African Invasion" that went on in the Metazoic, where a wave of trelebrates, carnivorous "rats" (dormice), chevrotains, next-gen antelope, bushbabies, and predatory mongooses and civets all spread out of Africa.

Timgal said...

The only problem is that except for the otter shrews, tenrecs are mostly confined to Madagascar.

Metalraptor said...

Well, you have double-grazers making their way out of Lemuria. Perhaps the tenrecs, after developing a larger form that could swim better, could cross the strait. I mean armadillos are very good swimmers (not the best comparison I know, but still). And they could possibly cross when the strait was still narrow, like how caviomorph rodents and primates got to South America while the gap between the two was still relativetly small. And of course, tenrecs are excellent candidates for sweepstakes migration (stranded on floating rafts of vegetation).

Timgal said...

Well, that's true too. More likely as well. Pangolins though are already in Asia. All they would have to do when Asia collides with the US is walk on over.

Metalraptor said...

But that still doesn't explain how they arbitrarily became omnivores. I can see a toothless insectivore becoming somewhat of a scavenger or a predator, but its is rather hard to develop a system that allows one to digest plants, especially tough plants like roots and tubers instead of easy-to-digest fruit. (I'm assuming this because you said that scaly hares live like bears).

Insectivores that keep their teeth are also a better candidate for evolving into herbivores. I mean the first condylarth is sometimes thought to be a herbivore.

Here's a suggestion for a true pangolin that evolved in tandem with the scaly hares...

Pseudoleporursus - While at first glance this species appears to be a scaly hare, it is actually a descendant of the pangolins. Unlike scaly hares, who have a more varied diet, Pseudoleporursus lives more like its southern xenarthran counterpart Formiciarctos, living on ants, clams, and scavenging carrion.

"Pangolins though are already in Asia. All they would have to do when Asia collides with the US is walk on over."

Lemurs are only confined to Madagascar and Africa, elephant shrews are all African, etc.

Timgal said...

"Lemurs are only confined to Madagascar and Africa, elephant shrews are all African, etc."

Africa will be colliding with Europe though, and allow these animals to migrate once they get larger, or even before. The lemurs in my site are all mostly descended from bushbabies which will also have a chance to migrate. The only exceptions are the propithecines and the pseudosims and they are confined to Madagascar. :)

Metalraptor said...

So why couldn't the tenrecs evolve like this and spread out, since the double-grazers did. It seems like a large tenrec could easily swim between Lemuria and Africa. Unusually, armored animals seem to be actually good swimmers, like the armadillos and nodosaurs

Timgal said...

By that time, I would think Madagascar would be so far from the mainland, tenrecs might not think it's worth the swim. And the pangolins are already there. Could tenrecs out-compete pangolins?

Metalraptor said...

Definitely. While tenrecs may not beat pangolins in the specialized colonial insect-eating game, and pangolins will still be around in the future (they have been since the Eocene), tenrecs could beat them in just about any non-insectovorous niches. Tenrecs have a huge sagital cres (which anchors jaw muscles) and some wicked teeth. In fact, they almost appear to be a miniature version of an Andrewsarchus or entelodont skull, both deadly carnivores. And armored animals are surprisingly good swimmers, nodosaurs have been found in the middle of the Niobrara seaway (and it couldn't have been bloat and float, since the species is not known from the continental side of the seaway), and armadillos have been seen swimming across the Rio Grande. As for pangolins, I can see them taking the ant-eating niches across all of the world, except in Central and South America, where anteaters are still dominant.