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, February 22, 2011

Family of the Week: The Parasitic Shrews

This is a highly unusual family of mammals. They very closely resemble the true shrews that are around today. However, their lifestyle is very different from what we know of modern shrews. They are small animals, equipped with sharp teeth, and claws that are longer and more curved than they are in modern shrews. The eyes are somewhat larger. The ears in most species are small and round, as they are in modern shrews. The body is rather elongate, and the legs are short. The tail in most species is mouselike, covered in mostly very fine hair. They are diurnal animals and found mostly in bushy areas, where they have access to bower rat nests. The reason being is because these shrews are parasites of bower rats. Much like today's cuckoo birds, these shrews slip into the nests of bower rats and eat the newborn baby rats, and replace them with their own babies, to be raised unwittingly by the parent rats. The saliva of these shrews is specially designed to mimic the scent of the baby rodents as she cleans the babies up from their birthing sac, so they would in no way be detected as foreign babies to the parents. The shrews usually have about 4-5 babies in a birthing season. The mother shrew will sneak into the birthing cavern of a bower rat nest while the parents are away, have her babies, then eat 4 or 5 of the baby rats (depending entirely on how many babies she births), and move on, never to see her own babies again. These shrews are also designed to have their entire brood in a matter of seconds, rather than minutes or hours. This way, the entire parasitic process takes no more than a minute. Plenty of time for her to complete before she is detected by the bower rats.

Each particular species of these shrews uses a specific variety of bower rat as their host, depending on their range. Their birthing season coincides with that of the bower rat family, as does hours of activity. Aside from eating bower rat pups, these shrews are insectivorous. Despite the fact that these shrews do eat the baby rats, they do not feed on the adults. And only the females feed on the babies. Males are purely insect eaters. Favorite foods include earthworms, spiders, insects, grubs, scorpions, and centipedes. Night time is spent in an underground burrow. Outside of the breeding season, these shrews are strictly solitary animals. They are rather elusive animals that crawl along in the forest underbrush.

Because of their small size, these animals have numerous predators. Snakes, predatory bats and birds, mongooses, weasels, dogs, Deinognathids, and even larger shrews like some of the species of feather-footed shrews, will take these animals. They are sometimes even victimized by angry bower rat parents, who would kill them onsite, but not necessarily eat them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Family of the Week: The Metazoic Tenrecs

The Metazoic family of tenrecs is basically an offshoot of today's tenrec family. Only I have renamed it Centetidae. The modern family of tenrecs goes to 20 million years in the Metazoic, and then this family takes over. They are basically small, and only a few have spines, like hedgehogs. All species have tails, but the length varies from one species to another. The feet are like those of modern tenrecs and are equipped with claws that are sharp and curved. One species even has retractable claws, which they use for climbing trees. These animals are insectivores, but prey up to the size of small rodents can be taken. Most species are diurnal, but there are some that retains their ancient nocturnal habits. Habitat varies by species. Some live in burrows, some even live in caves. Some are tree dwellers, and some inhabit watery areas. They are equipped with sharp teeth, which in some cases can be used for defense. But most of the time, they are simply quick movers in the underbrush. Some species have larger eyes than others in proportion to their body size. The ears are small and round, and in most cases lies very close to their heads. All tenrecs are solitary animals except during the breeding season. Unlike today, no species of tenrec in the Metazoic is found outside of Madagascar.

The largest, and perhaps the most remarkable species, are in the genus Scelestus. These animals are very much unlike other tenrecs. They have some of the largest species in the family, being quite bigger than an average house cat. These tenrecs have no spines, although they do have some whisker-like hairs on the back. The tail is long, but not prehensile. The ears are triangular-shaped and very mobile, unlike other tenrecs in this age. The eyes are large and round, and face foreward, more like modern primates. The claws are retractable, like a cat's claws, and are used in climbing trees. Unlike other tenrecs, these animals spend almost all their lives in trees, rather than on the ground. Their purpose? To find grubs and other tree-dwelling insects. Formerly, their role was played by the Aye-aye, of which none survives the great extinction event that separates the age of man from the Metazoic. Their tail acts as a balancing rod as these animals scamper quickly through the branches. These animals have a mixed diet of insects, small animals, eggs, and fruits. Though any plant matter is simply a supplement to their diet, their daily intake consists mostly of insects and grubs.

Another amazing metazoic tenrec is Aletogale. This is a small tenrec, about the size of a rat, with a long, flat tail and webbed feet. They are fully aquatic. They have large eyes that enables them to see in murky water, the fingers on the front flippers are long, and tipped with sharp claws. This enables them to grasp prey such as shrimp. The ears are almost non-existent externally. The fur is soft and designed to trap air pockets. The nostrils are capable of opening and closing as the animal rises and descends. They are excellent swimmers, and capable of chasing small fish underwater. Also a part of their diet is aquatic insects, crabs and mollusks. Especially favored is a species of Metazoic aquatic worm that fastens it's self to rocks on the river floor, and feeds on microscopic creatures by way of tentacles that they spread out of their heads. These are a delicasy for these tenrecs. These animals spend very little time out of the water, except when feeding. The time they do spend out of the water, they are very cautious and alert, and usually prefer to hide in the underbrush. At night, these animals retire to an underground burrow, of which the enterance is accessed underwater.

The smallest species of tenrec in the Metazoic is Nebulatus, which is the size of a small mouse. They are also cave dwellers. Almost all their lives is spent in caves. They have sharp, curved claws for climbing the cave walls after insects and arachnids. The rear legs are slightly longer than the forelegs for leaping. The eyes are rather small, but the eyesight is still rather good. Not best though. They rely more on hearing and their sense of smell in finding prey. All in all, this is a rather mouselike tenrec. They have no spines or any other protection other than the darkness of their home. They almost never leave the caves.

Another remarkable tenrec in the Metazoic is Armatura. This tenrec has no spines, no harsh fur or irritating hairs, instead, they have armor. Not too different than what is seen in armadillos. But the armor is not visible externally, as it is under a layer of flesh and fur. These animals do not roll into a ball when threatened like armadillos do. But the armor they do have is designed to handle the pressure of all but the largest predator in their range. This is a rather large tenrec, slightly smaller than a house cat. They are not quick runners like most other tenrecs are, and they do not swim very well, nor climb trees. They rely almost entirely on their armor plates for protection. At night, they do retreat to underground burrows. Their eyes are larger than those of modern tenrecs, in proportion to their body size. The tail is long, and largely unarmored. Though it is scaly like the tail of a rat, and hairless.

The diet of most tenrecs consist mostly of insects. They need not eat every few hours like shrews, and find their prey either by digging in the ground, or pulling bark from fallen trees, or even searching in piles of dung laid down by larger animals for beetles. Tenrecs however are not without their own breed of enemies. Mongooses are probably their worst threats of all, as are predatory bats and birds. Snakes will also take their toll, and crocodiles will also feed on them. Ground dwelling tenrecs often live side-by-side with some ground dwelling lemurs. Centetes is a medium-sized, rabbit-like tenrec, that often shares underground burrows with the ground-dwelling, burrowing Indriid lemur, Geopropithecus. The tenrec relies on the more alert lemur, whose hearing is better than that of the tenrec's, for protection against predators. When alarmed, the lemur has a distinctive sneezing-type call that all inhabitants of their burrow quickly respond to, lemur and tenrec alike.