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, July 26, 2010
Notice The Ticker Moving?
Also among the animals I've added this past week, a large, bear-like descendant of the marmot, a giant bushbaby (actually the size of a medium dog), "mouse-wallabies" which are very small kangaroos that live in underground burrows, and a few more species of bats, named for some new Facebook friends I got over the past month or so. I will be putting up the new checklist when the new site is posted. Would anyone like to contribute to the new site? I'd really appreciate your help. I need to raise $650 to complete the construction of the new site. If everyone could just give one or two dollars a piece, it'd help out a lot! Or whatever amount you'd like to give is most helpful. If you'd like to contribute to this fund, please click the picture link above to donate. The finished site will be worth it, believe me! And those who contribute, I'll see that you get either free or discounted membership!
I've been thinking over the membership portion of the site, it's going to be fun! I'll have videos of these animals in action, video games, members can even rate and comment on each of the animals posted. Oh yes! Remember to check out this week's Family of the Week! It's the true shrews.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Family of the Week: The True Shrews
The species of Miasorex are the most unique of true shrews. Instead of being the tiny, scampering, small-eyed animals we are familiar with today, they are large--generally about 10 inches in length, with large, almond-shaped eyes, large, diamond-shaped ears, and are bipedal. There are 6 listed species of Miasorex, and all are the same in basic form. Instead of running, like regular shrews do, these animals hop like miniature kangaroos. Their tail, which is longer than the head and body, is used for balance, and aids somewhat in launching the animal off the ground. The babies, instead of clinging to the back of the mother, cling to the thick fur on the belly with their long, sharp claws, and hold on tight.
The smallest species in this family are in the genus Suncus. Even today, this genus contains some of the smallest living mammals on Earth. The species S. etruscus, is less than an inch long. These animals are still around during the early part of the Metazoic. These are among the species that must constantly eat to stay alive, so these animals are constantly on the move, day and night, and takes only short naps. Like all shrews, these animals feed on insects.
Most species feed on insects, particularly the smaller species. But the largest, Melesuncus, feeds on other mammals and birds. This shrew is equipped with sharp claws and large teeth, and quite an aggressive demeanor. They live in burrows that they dig themselves, and are mostly active during the day. They use their weapons and power to overpower their prey. Unlike smaller shrews, these animals do not need to feed every few hours. Another genus in this family, Nectogale, feeds on aquatic insects and minnows. In this species, the hind feet are paddle-shaped, and the tail is flat sideways. They spend a lot of their time in the water hunting, and are very good divers and swimmers. The feet are used for paddling, the tail is simply streamlined for water resistance.
Shrews are basically preyed upon by everything from bats to small deinognathids. Shrews tend to defend themselves by staying undercover. Some, like Miasorex, can escape by hopping fast. Melesuncus is a fighter, and uses it's claws and teeth as formiddible weapons.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Gulf Spill Alters The Food Chain
Here's the link!
Scientists say Gulf spill altering food web
By MATTHEW BROWN and RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writers Matthew Brown And Ramit Plushnick-masti, Associated Press Writers – Wed Jul 14, 9:04 am ET
NEW ORLEANS – Scientists are reporting early signs that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is altering the marine food web by killing or tainting some creatures and spurring the growth of others more suited to a fouled environment.
Near the spill site, researchers have documented a massive die-off of pyrosomes — cucumber-shaped, gelatinous organisms fed on by endangered sea turtles.
Along the coast, droplets of oil are being found inside the shells of young crabs that are a mainstay in the diet of fish, turtles and shorebirds.
And at the base of the food web, tiny organisms that consume oil and gas are proliferating.
If such impacts continue, the scientists warn of a grim reshuffling of sealife that could over time cascade through the ecosystem and imperil the region's multibillion-dollar fishing industry.
Federal wildlife officials say the impacts are not irreversible, and no tainted seafood has yet been found. But Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who chairs a House committee investigating the spill, warned Tuesday that the problem is just unfolding and toxic oil could be entering seafood stocks as predators eat contaminated marine life.
"You change the base of the food web, it's going to ripple through the entire food web," said marine scientist Rob Condon, who found oil-loving bacteria off the Alabama coastline, more than 90 miles from BP's collapsed Deepwater Horizon drill rig. "Ultimately it's going to impact fishing and introduce a lot of contaminants into the food web."
The food web is the fundamental fabric of life in the Gulf. Once referred to as the food chain, the updated term reflects the cyclical nature of a process in which even the largest predator becomes a food source as it dies and decomposes.
What has emerged from research done to date are snapshots of disruption across a swath of the northern Gulf of Mexico. It stretches from the 5,000-feet deep waters at the spill site to the continental shelf off Alabama and the shallow coastal marshes of Louisiana.
Much of the spill — estimated at up to 182 million gallons of oil and around 12 billion cubic feet of natural gas — was broken into small droplets by chemical dispersants at the site of the leaking well head. That reduced the direct impact to the shoreline and kept much of the oil and natural gas suspended in the water.
But immature crabs born offshore are suspected to be bringing that oil — tucked into their shells — into coastal estuaries from Pensacola, Fla., to Galveston, Texas. Oil being carried by small organisms for long distances means the spill's effects could be wider than previously suspected, said Tulane professor Caz Taylor.
Chemical oceanographer John Kessler from Texas A&M University and geochemist David Valentine from the University of California-Santa Barbara recently spent about two weeks sampling the waters in a six-mile radius around the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon rig. More than 3,000 feet below the surface, they found natural gas levels have reached about 100,000 times normal, Kessler said.
Already those concentrations are pushing down oxygen levels as the gas gets broken down by bacteria, Kessler and Valentine said. When oxygen levels drop low enough, the breakdown of oil and gas grinds to a halt and most life can't be sustained.
The researchers also found dead pyrosomes covering the Gulf's surface in and around the spill site. "There were thousands of these guys dead on the surface, just a mass eradication of them," Kessler said.
Scientists said they believe the pyrosomes — six inches to a foot in length — have been killed by the toxins in the oil because there have no other explanation, though they plan further testing.
The researchers say the dead creatures probably are floating to the surface rather than sinking because they have absorbed gas bubbles as they filtered water for food.
The death of pyrosomes could set off a ripple effect. One species that could be directly affected by what is happening to the pyrosomes would be sea turtles, said Laurence Madin, a research director at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Cape Cod, Mass. Some larger fish, such as tuna, may also feed on pyrosomes.
"If the pyrosomes are dying because they've got hydrocarbons in their tissues and then they're getting eaten by turtles, it's going to get into the turtles," said Madin. It was uncertain whether that would kill or sicken the turtles.
The BP spill also is altering the food web by providing vast food for bacteria that consume oil and gas, allowing them to flourish.
At the same time, the surface slick is blocking sunlight needed to sustain plant-like phytoplankton, which under normal circumstances would be at the base of the food web.
Phytoplankton are food for small bait fish such as menhaden, and a decline in those fish could reduce tuna, red snapper and other populations important to the Gulf's fishing industries, said Condon, a researcher with Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Seafood safety tests on hundreds of fish, shrimp and other marine life that could make it into the food supply so far have turned up negative for dangerous oil contamination.
Assuming the BP gusher is stopped and the cleanup successful, government and fishing industry scientists said the Gulf still could rebound to a healthy condition.
Ron Luken, chief scientist for Omega Protein, a Houston-based company that harvests menhaden to extract fish oil, says most adult fish could avoid the spill by swimming to areas untainted by crude. Young fish and other small creatures already in those clean waters could later repopulate the impacted areas.
"I don't think anybody has documented wholesale changes," said Steve Murawski, chief scientist for the National Marine Fisheries Service. "If that actually occurs, that has a potentially great ramification for life at the higher end of the food web."
Monday, July 12, 2010
Family of the Week: The Deinognathids
The most interesting species is Murognathus. It is a small, deer-like deinognathid that lives in the jungle underbrush and feeds on carrion. This animal is interesting in that it has elongated incisors, like a rodent's incisors. Like all deinognathids though, there are 4 sets of incisors, but in Murognathus, they are longer in proportion than in any other species. The reason for this is to be able to pick larger bones clean, and even gnaw through to get at the marrow. They are basically exactly like miniature hyenas, with different dental forumulas. Their small size enables them to squeeze through the larger scavengers and hardly be noticed.
Deinognathus contains some of the largest species, and the largest predatory land mammals ever. These are giants with big heads, bipedal stance, a long, thick tail, the head is like that of a camel, and tiny, round ears. The teeth are long and designed for crushing, with good reason. The common prey of this animal is the southern gigantelope (Megalodorcas antarctica), and the vertebrae of this animal is very thick and tough. Once a predator can crush the vertebrae, the gigantelope goes down. Deinognathus is designed to do this. Though the gigantelope is their more common prey item, Deinognathus will feed on anything from coatis and lemurs to large anacolls. Deinognathus is also a scavenger as well. At the kills of other large animals, they use their size to muscle in on the smaller scavengers. The diet of Deinognathus is about half-and-half. That is half is pre-killed and half is killed by Deinognathus it's self. D. robustus, the largest species, inhabits rather dry areas, and has special adaptations to deal with the frequent dust storms that come up. They have nostrils that can shut tight to keep out sand. They have long eyelashes to also keep sand out of the eyes. They also have thick fur tufts in the ears to keep sand out. The smallest species of Deinognathus is D. minutus, and it lives in the jungle. It stands about as tall as an average human. These animals are much more active hunters than the larger species, therefore it feeds more often on animals it kills it's self. These animals are oftentimes social, and hunt in packs.
A good representative of the deer-like species are Ictocamelus and Tamanoa. There are 3 species of Ictocamelus and one species of Tamanoa. Tamanoa is the most widespread species, occuring throughout all of Eurasia in a variety of habitats. They even live as far south as Australia and northern Africa. Deer-like deinognathids normally feed only on what they kill themselves. They hunt by chasing their prey to exhaustion and killing it when it is down and weakened by the chase. Often the prey is consumed while it is still alive. Deer-like species often hunt in packs for this reason. A single individual would not be able to bring down large prey, as they have no claws or hands, and little more than teeth and sheer power to hold down their victims. Like dogs, Ictocamelus and Tamanoa can run for several hours without tiring. The body form of these animals is like that of a deer or antelope, only more slenderly built, with a long, thick tail, and thick fur.
The smallest deinognathids of all are the pervadines. These are semi-aquatic beach-combers. These animals take the place of sandpipers during the Metazoic. They have long noses, with the nostrils being placed closer to the head, large eyes, and the hands are designed to probe into the sand. The legs are long and slender, and these animals can move quite fast along the sand. The index finger is the longest fingers, and may be twice as long as the otherwise longest fingers. The size of these deinognathids ranges from about the size of a sparrow to the size of a chicken. Though I have placed these animals in the same sub-family as Reginictis, which is an aquatic animal, they are in their own tribe Pervadini, and it is this adaptation of the fingers that sets them apart. There are 5 different genera of Pervadines, all have the same features in the hands. They use their elongated fingers to probe into the sand, feel for potential food items, like clams and sand eels, and then reach into the hole with their elongated snout to dig them out.
Though Deinognathids are the top predators in their range, they are not always without threats. Particularly the young are most vulnerable. Other deinognathids are the main predators. Larger species often feed on the smaller species, and sometimes the young of the larger species. Sometimes, they even practice cannibalism among other members of their own species. The pervadines are often prey for large predatory sea bats like Acerictus and the larger Glaromyscus species. Small deinognathids may also fall prey to dogs, snakes and mongooses.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Family of the Week: The Raccoons And Relatives
The coatis in the Metazoic are not only equipped with a highly developed sense of smell, but with flexible fingers and long, sharp claws. The flexibility of the fingers allows these animals to grasp fat grubs, fruits and other food items and draw them up to the mouth to be consumed. The long, sharp claws is used to dig, or pry open rotten logs or as traps to capture small rodents and other small animals and hold them tight so they cannot struggle free. The two genera of coati types are Bidenictis and Nasuunguis. Bidenictis is smaller and the males are equipped with tusks that protrude out the mouth. These are for show rather than for eating. Nasuunguis is also called the "hog-nosed coati", and does indeed have a long, flat, pig-like nose. The area around the nose is hard, rather like a callous, that aids in sniffing and digging at the same time. Coatis are omnivores, the majority of the food they consume is animal matter. Fruit, berries and nuts make up about 20% of their diet.
This family is a highly varied family. There are species that are almost humanoid-like in appearance (Procyon sapiens). Some are bear-like in appearance (Onychocyon). Some are cat-like in appearance (Neoprocyon). Some are fox-like (Alepousa). Some are carnivores (Neoprocyon and Alepousa). Some are herbivores (Calamophagus).
The most fascinating species is Procyon sapiens. The genus Procyon has been separated into 2 sub-genera. P. sapiens is the sole species in the sub-genus Metacyon, while all other species are in the sub-genus Procyon. P. sapiens differs by being bigger, and has actually learned to use tools to handle prey. They are actually more social than other raccoons, living in some of the largest groups of any carnivores. The hands are capable of grasping almost as good as those of the primates. The sense of smell is less developed than in other raccoon species. The communication is even more complex than in any other carnivore species. This particular species has more than 100 different vocalizations, each call used for different tasks. There are distinct calls to identify family members, to let others know their social rank, to assign separate tasks to which ever group members, and even for spotting predators. In fact, each predator may have a distinct identifying call.
The only herbivorous species is Calamophagus, known as the Metazoic pandas. They are also the only Old World members of the raccoon family. There are 5 species of panda. They are strictly vegetarian, and only feed on bamboo. Either they will feed on the stems, or tender shoots and leaves. They have hands and feet much like a monkey's, and are able to climb the stalks to get up to the fresh leaves and feed. The tail is usually long, and flexible, but not really prehensile.
Raccoons and relatives are not without predators. Deinognathids are among the worst. Young Deinognathus species are common predators of the coatis and raccoons. Tamanoa is known to actively feed on Calamophagus in the orient. Dogs, Barofelids, Ailurocyonids, snakes, predatory bats, and raptors are also predators of various procyonids. These animals are not pushovers though. They have sharp teeth, and can bite hard. The claws can also turn into formiddible weapons. These combined with a very quick temper make these animals very tough adversaries.