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.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Family of the Week: The Raccoon Cats

The family Ailurocyonidae was originally thought up by my partner in this project. He suggested they be an evolutionary branch-off from the raccoon family. However, I don't want to take anything away from him, but I wanted to make this a true offshoot from the Barofelids, specially designed for running and capturing prey, rather than the typical lying-in-wait mechanism. These cats sacrificed everything that makes a cat a cat. They do not have retractable claws like the felids and barofelids did. However, the claws remain razor-sharp as these animals run with the tips of their phalanges turned under, a process known as "knuckle-walking", and is more famous in apes and anteaters. This keeps the claws from touching the ground, and keeps them sharp for grasping and even tearing into their prey. They also have the large canines of other feline offshoots. They still kill their prey by biting down on the windpipe and suffocating the prey to death. The head is short and blunt, as in all cats. The eyes are large and generally dark in color. The sense of smell is about the same as it is in modern cats. The ears are small and round. The palms are hairy, it is the underside of the fingers that are naked and take the place of foot pads. The tail is of medium length and usually carried between the hind legs. They are slenderly-built, much like cheetahs. The head is disproportionately smaller than it is in other cats and the neck is short. The legs are very long, and seem delicate. However, they are specifically designed for their lifestyle. The largest species is about the size of a lion. The canines are long and straight, but not as long as they are in the Barofelids. With the exception of a species known as Sonorafelis heitus, which has canines about 5-6 inches long, far longer than any other member of this family. This little difference has moved me to place this animal in a separate sub-genus that I call Hoplofelis.

These animals take the place of the cheetahs in the early Metazoic. They are quite capable of fast sprints, and capture prey like therapeds, deer, antelope and coursing rats easily. They cannot run as fast as cheetahs though. The fastest any of these animals can run is about 50 mph. But they can keep up the pace far longer than a regular cheetah. These animals hunt more like dogs than like cats. They simply run after their prey in a lengthy sprint. Unlike the felids and barofelids, these animals can be active during the day as well as at night. Different individuals seem to have their own preference of hours of activity. They are still solitary hunters, which is why being built for speed is most important in this advancing age of mammals. But it has a handicap too. They are not as tough and powerful as the Barofelids. But they can easily capture prey that would normally be out of reach of the Barofelids.

The largest species in this family belong in the genus Parafelis. Particularly P. fulgur. The largest is the size of a male lion, and just as tough. Though unlike lions, these animals do not waste energy on animals they have no intention of eating. Their main prey consists of deer and therapeds, most especially the larger, plains-dwelling species like Chontronurus. Though some species, like Dolichotragus, are harder to capture, as they can hide out in trees. Most species of Ailurocyonids cannot climb trees very well. While the forepaws have very sharp claws, the hind feet have very poor claws and almost no grasping ability. The strange thing is the same genus that has the largest species in this family also has the smallest. The bush-cat, or Parafelis rhops, is about the size of a large house cat, and houses it's self in low-lying bushes. This animal feeds mostly on smaller mammals, birds and other small vertebrates. Because they are small, they are only active at night. These animals as well hunt by chasing after their prey, and killing with a quick bite on the throat. All species, large and small, must have water. Sometimes, those in drier regions, can extract some water from their prey.

The Ailurocyonids are the last step the felines take in the Metazoic before they finally die off from competition from larger and more powerful predators. In 30 million years AM, the Barofelids are long gone, and the Ailurocyonids are the very last felines on the scene. They are not the last predators however and about this time is when the World glances down the jaws of another group of large predators, the deinognathids. I have a scenario imprinted in my mind. Imagine a sunny, hot, summer day in southern South America, where a group of Tachypus racers are grazing on whatever plant and small animal life they can find. All of a sudden, the herd's lookout sounds an alarm. A large Parafelis is racing toward them. The Tachypus scatter quickly, trying to outrun the predator. But one is a little late in responding, and goes down in the Parafelis's jaws. The Parafelis eats and believes it is OK. About halfway into it's feeding, it feels some vibrations in the ground, and realizes it is not alone in this area. A huge Deinognathus has heard the ruckus and is approaching the Parafelis, hoping to do a little scavenging. The Parafelis rises to defend it's kill. It rolls out at the Deinognathus, growling and roaring in defiance, with it's teeth fully showing and claws slashing. The Deinognathus is more confused than angry or intimidated and backs away slowly. The Parafelis continues to come at the Deinognathus, slashing it's claws and roaring loudly. The Deinognathus roars back. In an attempt to further intimidate the larger predator, the Parafelis leaps up with it's claws out and slashing. The Deinognathus dodges the claws, opens it's jaws, and clamps down on the Parafelis. It then shakes the struggling cat violently until it is dead. The once great felines have finally met their match, and start to become out-competed for food and space. Eventually being taken over.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

On your cladogram it says they live up to 60 million years from now. Can that still be true?

Timgal said...

You'll have to ask Metalraptor. On my list, they only go up to 35 million years.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to ask him. It's just that I had an idea for a genus (two species) of Ailurocyonids that would survive up until then by becoming nocturnal hunters of roosting pteropods in trees.
The genus is called Nycterofelis, and the two species are Nycterofelis orientalis and Nycterofelis occidentalis.

Timgal said...

That sounds OK to me. I'll put them on the list. :)

Anonymous said...

When'll you have those changes up?

Timgal said...

Well, I'm still working toward that 5000 species goal on my checklist. I'd like to hit at least 4000 before I put the new copy of the checklist up.

De said...

Ouch!

Poor kitty got eaten lol

I hope the next family of the week is the Deinognathids :)

Timgal said...

Oh no. Sorry, I won't be getting to them for a while yet. I'm going in order of the checklist.