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.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Family of the Week: The Big Cats

Let me start this post by sending my apologies to my friends on here for not responding to your posts last week. I have been so busy, I'm in the process of building my own cages for birds and herps, simply because I want to see if I can. So far, they've come out pretty darn good!! Anyway...

In today's world, though I don't whole-heartedly agree with it, all cat-like animals have been placed in a single family. In the Metazoic, they've been separated, though still closely related. Small cats are placed in the family Felidae; running cats (the Metazoic equivolent to today's cheetahs) are placed in the Ailurocyonidae; and the so-called "big cats" are placed in the family Barofelidae. Most of these species inhabit the New World. They consist of big, bulky animals. During the early part of the Metazoic, small felines dominated the predatory world of the underbrush. Felis brevicaudatus was the largest and most fearsome of the cats then. During the early part of the Metazoic, these animals extended their range, finding the land bridge connecting the Old World with the New World. This land was basically lacking at this time of large, mammalian predators. Thus the evolution of the Barofelids was born. They started off small, like the felines, and eventually grew bigger as time went on. They kept the fierce behavior of their tiny predecessors. Some species have canine teeth that are so long, they protrude out the mouth. The ears are tiny and rounded for the most part. The eyes are somewhat large and glaring. Most species have a mane on the neck. The claws are still retractable. The tail is short and usually is carried curled up over the back. The muzzle is short, but the mouth opens very wide, wider in proportion to it's size than any other carnivore in the Metazoic. The head is wide and broad. They are lone hunters, and are active mostly at dusk, or at night.

They still hunt in the traditional feline way. They get as close to the ground as they can and slink through the grass. They lie in wait for their prey to approach them. Prey is killed mostly by the predator cutting off the wind pipe and suffocating the prey to death. They feed on anything they can capture, mostly therapeds, deer, large rodents, other small mammals, and some of the flightless birds. Sometimes they may take bats that have landed on the ground, but it is rare. Sometimes, fish are taken, but this too is a rare act. The largest species in this family is Barofelis ursinus. Their typical prey is mountain-dwelling therapeds like Oreogale. They cannot chase these animals through the hills, they often wait and pounce on them when they venture too close. Or they may sneak up on them as they are resting in their caverns at night. Unlike modern felines, Barofelids are so big, they cannot really climb trees. Their razor-sharp claws are strong, but not strong enough to support their bulk in trees. So they are not very adept climbers. This particular species weighs about 1000 pounds. The smallest of the Barofelids weighs about 800 pounds. This species would be Barofelis leo. It is often hunted by the larger B. ursinus. Even though it is the smallest in the family, it can still hunt rather large prey. Like all Barofelids, it too is nocturnal and solitary.

The most interesting species in the family is B. megalodonta, which is sort of a sabre-toothed variety. Though their canine teeth are not as large as those of the ancient Smilodon, they still protrude from the mouth. They are kept sharp by specialized grooves built in on each side of the lower jaw. I've been considering placing this particular species in at least a separate sub-genus: Coelofelis, simply because of this structural difference. This particular species rips out the jugular of it's prey in a very sloppy, vicious way. They too feed mostly on deer and therapeds, though any smaller animal may become prey for this cat. Because this cat weighs about 850-900 pounds, they rely on an abundance of large prey in their range. Particularly deer of the genus Jubacervix, which is one of the largest and bulkiest deer around in the early Metazoic, and Oreogale, which is a small, but very abundant theraped in the Metazoic.

Barofelids as adults, have no real natural enemies in the early Metazoic. The cubs may be taken by some predators like foxes, predatory bats, snakes, and even other Barofelids. Often the larger preys on the smaller among species. This is not unusual. Sometimes even adult Barofelids can be taken by things like crocodiles, but this act is rare, as these animals rarely go to such watery areas except to drink, which they need to do quite often. Though some of the moisture they receive can be from their prey, particularly the water stored in animal fat.

6 comments:

El Squibbonator said...

Congratulations on another excellent family of the week! I'd really like the guys on the SE forum who thought you'd never put in cats to see THIS!
But I'm confused. In your cladogram, you say that the Ailurocyonids are descended from raccoons and live up to 60 million years from now. Why is that?

PS: You can still keep them as a 60-million-years family, though-- they're just cooler that way.

Timgal said...

Well thank you Squibbonator. I'm glad you like it. :)

The cladogram was made by the same person who originally thought up the ailurocyonids. He had them descend from raccoons. I thought for the Metazoic, it would be a better idea to have them derive from cats because after discussing the subject of cats in the Metazoic with my partner, I didn't really want them to just end with the Barofelids, but take one more turn before completely dying off. Those that believed I would never have cats in the Metazoic can now come see this post and the last one, and next week's which will be the Ailurocyonids. They'd be happy to know that now. Though there is no doubt in my mind, it'll only make JohnFaa even more jealous of my partner because he was not able to talk me into adding cats to my world. But hey! It's his bit. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ironically, some species of raccoon cousins are referred to as cats. Case in point the "ringtail cat" of the American Southwest.

Timgal said...

That's true. They even look like cats.

De said...

Are these the cats that are outcompeted by the Deinognathids and such?

Timgal said...

Not these guys, the ones that will be outcompeted by the Deinognathids will be the Ailurocyonids. They are slightly smaller and more delicate than the Barofelids.