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, April 13, 2010

Family of the Week: The Carnivorous Rats

Well, this week's family of the week is the family Caromuridae. That is, the predatory rats. Metalraptor suggested that instead of having regular rats as the ancestoral form of this family, that perhaps dormice would be a better fit. I used to raise dormice (back when they were a legally kept species) and I couldn't agree more. One of the things I was told when I bought my first breeding couple was to feed them crickets every now and then. So I did. You would not believe the ferocity these animals displayed when attacking those crickets!! It was astronomical!! Imagine that species evolved into a super predator of tomorrow. At least of it's time. The most notable feature of this family are the incisors, which have retained their rodent-like characteristics, but with the added feature of growing into canine-like points. The shape of the points depends largely on what kind of prey they consume. For instance, Vulpemys preys on small, soft-bodied animals, so their incisors have small, slightly backward-curved points. Caromus is a scavenger so its incisors have inward-growing, circular-shaped points for picking the bones of large animals clean. Monarchomys preys on large animals like antelope, and kills them by clamping the windpipe shut, so their incisors have long, straight, sharp points on the edges.

Some of the smaller species in this family live alone or in couples, while some of the larger species hunt in groups, like wolves. But this is not always the norm. Some large species are very accomplished lone hunters. The feet of most species somewhat resembles both a rat and a dog. They are diurnal animals for the most part, but a few species still haunt the night. They are built for running, chasing their prey down until it is exhausted. The tail is long in most species, usually as long as the body and fully-furred. The claws of most species are not retractable, with the exceptions of Monarchomys and Ailurotheria. Then there is the sub-family Thalassomurinae. Though it is classified as a part of the Caromurids, they have several differences. The legs have been reduced almost to flippers. This is where I changed some of Dixon's ideas about the sea-going predator rats. I decided to make the body form more otter-like than like what he presented in After Man. I thought the idea of Thalassomus's disproportionately long flippers was a little extreme. Scinderidens though, I changed little more than making it more otter-like. Though I kept the walrus-like tusks. But the body of my version is not wrinkly, but rather more like that of a fur seal. All species have rather large, foreward-facing eyes, and small, rounded ears. The eyesight and hearing is how these animals sense the presence of prey.

When it comes to extreme incisors in this family, Scinderidens tops them all. They have evolved much like the incisors of other species in this family, but the points on the edges have grown extremely long, much like that of a walrus. These "tusks" can be as long as 2 feet. The animal uses them to crush the shells of oysters and clams, so they can extract the meat from the shell. They also use them to display and look menacing to rivals during the breeding season. Rarely do they use them, unless a rival attempts to steal a female from a dominant male. Their closest kin, Thalassomus, lacks the long "tusks", but the body form is much the same as seen in Scinderidens.

The most ferocious member of this family is Monarchomys. This animal hunts in small packs. Though it is rather slenderly built, it is by no means a weak hunter. In fact, a single 150-pound Monarchomys can hold down a 400-pound rabbuck easily, just long enough to suffocate it to death. They also tend to want to carry this large prey back to their den to be consumed. The den is usually just a large, shady tree, or sometimes the enlarged burrow of another animal that they use to house their young. Monarchomys are active hunters that only feeds on what they kill themselves. Seldom, if ever, scavenging off of other animals. In this species, the claws are retractable, like a cat's. And they are razor sharp. But mostly used as help in subduing large, struggling prey. The claws do not actually kill the prey themselves.

Another very interesting species in this family is Sarcophagomys. This is the only species to land on the island of Madagascar before it drifts further out into the Indian Ocean. This animal is about the size of a modern cougar. The feet are specialized for grasping branches, much like those of modern primates. This is because most of this animal's hunting is done in the trees. They feed on lemurs. All four feet have grasping ability, so they can easily chase their prey through the trees. Even some of the best leapers among lemurs, the sifakas, cannot escape this predator very easily. This predator has a long tail, like a balancing pole, they use to steady them, and the hind legs are longer than the forelegs, which give them better springing ability. This enables them to persue lemurs wherever they happen to go. And for it's size, Sarcophagomys is incredibly lightweight. Though from nose to tail tip, the animal is about 7 feet long, they weigh less than 80 pounds.

Though the predatory rats are among the top predators of their day, they sometimes face some of their own evil threats. Crocodiles may be able to take them down, as well as the larger and bulkier predatory squirrels. Also dogs may prey on these animals. Though Sarcophagomys is isolated, and lasts longer as a species than most other members of this family, the family dies off completely when they have to compete with such rising families as the Deinognathids.

As for the new site, I completed 2 families so far. Please be patient. Since it is just me working on these, I will have to go at a pace that allows me time to also do other things I need to in the days. The latest family is the Choerocaballidae. Go check it out and have fun!! There will also be some more gradual changes made. I am contemplating a better Metazoica banner than the one I have now. I'm thinking of turning it into a little movie-style banner, with animals from the site racing across the word "Metazoica" in their own way. I've been discussing that with my web-designer. Also, remember to donate! It will be much appreciated. :)

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