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Mr.Robbo
TheReturnOfTheKing
Avetzan1
• 10/8/2014

Diaspora

As Diaspora is an ongoing story with no general plan, there's excellent opportunity to give advice and suggestions. Also, any questions or discussion can take place here, as there doesn't seem to be any 'comments' feature on story pages.

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Mr.Robbo
TheReturnOfTheKing
Avetzan1
1
• 11/13/2014

Considering the worms are only exposed during the few minutes it takes to squirm from the chest to the navel, and they will be covered by the pycnofibres, it would be a huge challenge for any predator to grab one. After finding a Khoikapek at the start of its pregnancy, they would have to wait for days for a worm to emerge (which I assume they spot under the pycnofibres using some sort of super-accurate ultrasound echolocation). After grabbing the worm and prying it from the pycnofibres (a task slightly easier than getting gum or blu-tack out of your hair), their reward is a few grams of worm meat, which doesn't seem worth the effort.

I don't quite get how washing the fluid off a Khoikapek's chest would kill them. The fluid only appears temporarily during mating in order to exchange genetic material. Considering Khoikapek evolved in a swamp/river delta environment, it may make sense to give the fluid hydrophobic (and sulphuric acid-repellant) qualities.

Marsupials are only found in Australia and the Americas because they only really appeared in Australia and South America. When you look at how competition proceeded, the picture is much less clear than 'placentals good' and 'marsupials bad'... 

North America and South America were unconnected when marsupials first evolved in South America. When the two continents became connected, some groups of marsupials (as well as some placentals) went extinct due to competition. However, other marsupials, notably opossums, thrived and spread right up to Canada. As for Australia, it was originally thought that marsupials were so successful because there were few placetal species to compete with them whilst they gained a foothold; evidence from the Murgon fossil site now shows that placental species were already around when the marsupials were still evolving, and marsupials just out-competed them.

This seems like a good time for a speech from our Chauvinistic Speaker...

"In some places on Tobano, you can find species that fully contain their children within their bodies, usually in fluid. Once the child is at a sufficient level of development, they emerge from the parent's body in a curious process called 'birth'. Don't worry, the parent usually survives the process. Some have suggested that these 'placental' species could, but for evolutionary chance, come to dominate Tobano. I find this highly unlikely.

"The placental reproductive system leaves both the parent and the child highly vulnerable. This is beacuse, storing the child inside their bodies, rather than just carrying it in a pouch, the parents are left considerably less able than when not bearing a child, especially since they must support all of its bodily functions at the same time. After birth, the child itself is vulnerable, as it has only just developed enough to survive outside it's parent's body - easy, helpless prey for any predators. Once Khoikapek abandon their children, they already have experience from 'visits' to the outside world, and are soon ready for Actualisation - unlike placental children, which must be reared by he parents for a while before they can become independent.

"Some placental species on Tobano compensate by giving birth to dozens of offspring in their lifetime, but even when it comes to this, we marsupials are superior. The placental reproductive system allows for just one stage of development to take place at a time, usually followed by a recovery phase for the parent. We marsupials can be rearing children at the same time as developing others in our pouches and growing more worms for future offspring! And with a fraction of the fluid and nutrient requirements of the placental system!"

"There's a reason why marsupials are one of the most successful Bakoyda groups - indeed, groups, period - in the world and placentals are more or less extinct everywhere but Muopa."

My advocacy of such divergent evolution is based on places on Earth such as Socotra Island. Socotra has been separated from the rest of the world for about 36 million years. In that time, extraordinary plants and animals have evolved there dissimilar from anything else on Earth. If Earth life in an exotic environment can evolve like that in a few million years, imagine how extraterrestrial life in a completely alien environment would evolve when it has no evolutionary connection to life on Earth at all!

0
• 11/14/2014

Mr.Robbo wrote: Considering the worms are only exposed during the few minutes it takes to squirm from the chest to the navel, and they will be covered by the pycnofibres, it would be a huge challenge for any predator to grab one. After finding a Khoikapek at the start of its pregnancy, they would have to wait for days for a worm to emerge (which I assume they spot under the pycnofibres using some sort of super-accurate ultrasound echolocation). After grabbing the worm and prying it from the pycnofibres (a task slightly easier than getting gum or blu-tack out of your hair), their reward is a few grams of worm meat, which doesn't seem worth the effort.

I don't quite get how washing the fluid off a Khoikapek's chest would kill them. The fluid only appears temporarily during mating in order to exchange genetic material. Considering Khoikapek evolved in a swamp/river delta environment, it may make sense to give the fluid hydrophobic (and sulphuric acid-repellant) qualities.

Marsupials are only found in Australia and the Americas because they only really appeared in Australia and South America. When you look at how competition proceeded, the picture is much less clear than 'placentals good' and 'marsupials bad'... 

North America and South America were unconnected when marsupials first evolved in South America. When the two continents became connected, some groups of marsupials (as well as some placentals) went extinct due to competition. However, other marsupials, notably opossums, thrived and spread right up to Canada. As for Australia, it was originally thought that marsupials were so successful because there were few placetal species to compete with them whilst they gained a foothold; evidence from the Murgon fossil site now shows that placental species were already around when the marsupials were still evolving, and marsupials just out-competed them.

This seems like a good time for a speech from our Chauvinistic Speaker...

"In some places on Tobano, you can find species that fully contain their children within their bodies, usually in fluid. Once the child is at a sufficient level of development, they emerge from the parent's body in a curious process called 'birth'. Don't worry, the parent usually survives the process. Some have suggested that these 'placental' species could, but for evolutionary chance, come to dominate Tobano. I find this highly unlikely.

"The placental reproductive system leaves both the parent and the child highly vulnerable. This is beacuse, storing the child inside their bodies, rather than just carrying it in a pouch, the parents are left considerably less able than when not bearing a child, especially since they must support all of its bodily functions at the same time. After birth, the child itself is vulnerable, as it has only just developed enough to survive outside it's parent's body - easy, helpless prey for any predators. Once Khoikapek abandon their children, they already have experience from 'visits' to the outside world, and are soon ready for Actualisation - unlike placental children, which must be reared by he parents for a while before they can become independent.

"Some placental species on Tobano compensate by giving birth to dozens of offspring in their lifetime, but even when it comes to this, we marsupials are superior. The placental reproductive system allows for just one stage of development to take place at a time, usually followed by a recovery phase for the parent. We marsupials can be rearing children at the same time as developing others in our pouches and growing more worms for future offspring! And with a fraction of the fluid and nutrient requirements of the placental system!"

"There's a reason why marsupials are one of the most successful Bakoyda groups - indeed, groups, period - in the world and placentals are more or less extinct everywhere but Muopa."

My advocacy of such divergent evolution is based on places on Earth such as Socotra Island. Socotra has been separated from the rest of the world for about 36 million years. In that time, extraordinary plants and animals have evolved there dissimilar from anything else on Earth. If Earth life in an exotic environment can evolve like that in a few million years, imagine how extraterrestrial life in a completely alien environment would evolve when it has no evolutionary connection to life on Earth at all!

…so what you're saying is, you really do have an answer for everything XD

I get your point, and in all honesty, I never really realized just how chauvinistic we are.

1
• 11/15/2014

On the other hand, maybe its the Khoikapek who are the chauvinistic ones? I guess we'll never find out until someone goes and does a survey of thousands of extraterrestrial ecosystems across the galaxy (then compares them to see what adaptations are the most 'normal').

We can probably work out a few givens from evolution on Earth already, at least for an Earthlike environment. For example, both eyes and wings have independently evolved several times over, so - at least in an environment similar to Earth - we can expect most extraterrestrials to have eyes.

0
• 11/15/2014

Odds are a lot of them will have brains in some form, or at least some kind of central processing centre which controls the rest. Of course, there are creatures on Earth which lack brains, so it may not be a given, but I imagine it'll be a fairly common trait.

I'm also guessing the predator-prey relationship will remain pretty much a constant in the universe. It's a damn good system which helps drive evolution and distribute energy evenly. That being said, it would be a lot of fun to try creating a world without predators and prey.

What other Earthly biological traits do you think will be relatively constant in the universe?

0
• 11/16/2014

I can see the brain as being a common adaptation among large species in an Earthlike environment, but not necessarily a given. For example, there are millions of species on Earth which have evolved 'ganglionic' nervous systems, made up of a number of distributed 'ganglions' rather than a single centralised brain. This is okay for small creatres, but would be a problem for larger animals due to the communication delay between the ganglions. However, if there was a world where signals in the nervous system were sent via, for example, light, rather than (much slower) electrical impulses, ganglionic nervous systems may be as common as brains are on Earth.

The Khoikapek have partially ganglionic nervous systems, as alluded to in Chapter 3, "The little blob on the top of the throat is the optic ganglion, which processes information from the eyes and sends it to the brain down in the chest" - the idea being that the Khoikapek don't have the advantage of having their brains right next to their sensory organs ("I mean, putting the brain in the head. Really?! Couldn't it just get chopped off, or hit a tree branch when you're running, or something? You might as well have your brain in your hand, for goodness sake!" - Speaker), so they evolved an extra little brain in there to make up for it.

I don't think the predator-prey relationship is an evolutionary adaptation, as if an ecosystem would 'decide' to have predators and prey to maximise it's evolutionary potential. However, as long as an ecosystem is made up of individual organisms (which, almost by definition, it is), there will be competion.

You have actually stumbled on one my plans for Diasopra, which as a grand finale will involve the discovery of a planet on which there is no competition between organisms. On that, I will say no more....

0
• 11/16/2014

Yeah, having the brain and most of the sensory organs in one location, which happens to be attached to the body via a weak spot, is really quite stupid. When I created the Zi'vani, I'd planned to give them brains closer to the centre of their body-mass so that said brains are protected from damage and near to the heart(s), allowing blood to be pumped through them more easily. This would also make it possible for animals to grow quite tall, since the hearts wouldn't need to pump as much blood in order to reach the increasingly distant brain.

Is there a biological equivalent of optical fibres that would make it possible to send light signals through the body, similarly to how I believe telephones work?

Interesting idea for the finale, and as for my stumbling onto it… well, great minds think alike :)

1
• 11/17/2014

Telephone networks don't necessarily use fibre optics. There is a system called optogenetics in which neurons are genetically engineered to respond to light stimulation, and since we already know organisms can produce their own light, it doesn't seem so far fetched to develop a nervous system that uses light to send signals between neurons.

0
• 11/17/2014

This. Is an idea.

Which I will soooo be using :D

0
• 12/6/2014

At the moment, I'm reminded of the start of Interstellar, Christopher Nolan's latest movie.

Do not go gently into that good night. Rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light.

0
• 12/6/2014

I guess the difference is that Tobano isn't 'dying' or something. Also, I haven't watched Interstellar yet, so no spoilers please!

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