Friday, October 27, 2006

Novarchosaurians for Greenland

Those that have been following my blog know I've been pondering what to do with Greenland since the world is acookin and Greenland might, well, become truly green again. I have been making some noises about parts of Greenland to use as a seed ecology for the ultimate resulting giant island. It's a giant gedankenexperiment and a fun one at that. If I ever got rich, perhaps it would really be doable. For now...let's play a little.

Something to note is that until the the crust rebounds from all that ice being on it, Greenland will cease to be an archpelago. This makes it a little difficult for some critters to cross around, especially with the sea level rise, but then island would ultimatley rise above the waves as a very large one like it appears now. Plus or minus a bit.

So, the question is, what would I want there? Critter wise? Obviously, nothing can live there without the tinkering that I desire, but...we'll do that and go from there. After all, even with the climate change, these poor critters are going to be living oh-so-far from Kansas, so to speak.

Very importantly, what sort of environment am I going to try to construct? As in what sort of ecosystems are we talking about? There are three that I am aiming for right now. The first is a coniferous forest with a heavy handed dose of ferns and fern trees. I'd like to toss a few fruit and nut trees of sorts in there too, but we'll see. The second is the marshy ecosystem that has an awful lot of derived bamboo and lilypads. The third is a grassland with a fair amount of ferns and some self surviving variants of our cereal crops mixed with more traditional grasses.

Well, I am a bit of a fan of our archosaur rivals. There's something majestic about the long legged bipdeal strides of the long gone dinosaurs. Unfortunately, they're gone. Permanently. And there's not much we can do about that. However, we could 'help' them get a leg up on the next ecological shift around. Call me a traitor to the synapsids, but the thought of a rodent derived world ecology is dull, overused, and annoying. The primary problem is that I want these guys to be flightless. That means we either do away with the wings or turn them 'back' into arms. I think for the herbivores, we'll do away with the wings to be like the kiwi (bird, not fruit, ya twits). For the carnivores...MWAHAHAHA. So what are the base stock for these novarchosaurians, you wonder?

The herbivores are first. I have been watching some Canadian Geese that we have near our apartment. They've stopped migrating! It's a common problem all over the SF Bay Area. However, when Avrora was chasing them on one of our walks in the evening, it seemed to me that these guys would be very impressive as moa/sauropod surrogates. If you scaled them up. so, some wingless, downy-during-the-winter gobsmacking sized geese are our tree top browsers. Their legs have been upgraded to being a wee bit elephantine - have to be with a neck that reaches up 30 feet. There are five smaller forms that range from std goose size all the way up to the 20 foot high tree browsers (the biggest is the monster sized goose at 45 feet high, so there are a total of 6 species). All are wingless and get fluffy during the winter. The bas stock was either Canadian Geese or Hawaiian Goose.

Our next novarchosaurian herbivore actually comes from the NorAm Bobwhite Quail. This one gets scaled up quite a bit and turned wingless as well. The largest ones are the size of dog, call it 50 lbs. There are five species that differ in size and food. One of which is the size of the original bobwhite.; second, 5 lbs; third, 10 lbs; fourth, 25 lbs; and the last at 50 lbs. All slightly different niches.

The third novarchosaurian herbivore is derived from a SoAm bird, the mysterious Hoatzin. We'll upscale these ones to be our primary novarchosaurian grassland grazers. They already have a unique gut that is very reminiscent of a cow's. The largest that we will aim for is a about 200 lbs. This is basically our 'cow' or perhaps our 'deer'. sorta. The stinkcow, I suppose. lol. I hate to de-winging them though. They crawed already, as juveniles at least, and it'd be nifty to have a herbivore able to fight back against the novarchaurian carnivores. We'll go for five sizes: 2 lbs, 20 lbs, 50 lbs, 100 lbs, and 200 lbs.

The last herbivore to be introduced here from novarchosauria is a modified emu. No wings at all. Adapt them a bit to the cold. We'll make three sizes, one smaller and one larger.

That brings us to our carnivores that comprise greenland's novarchosauria. I have been a big fan of the terror birds for some time. I find them fascinating and, honestly, a little saddened that we missed 'just' seeing them. They were competitors with the Indians here soooo...they got wiped out prior to the European civ arriving here. They were nature's second, Cenozoic attempt at a theropod. We have three different base stocks to derive our novarchosaurian predators.

The first base stock we'll adapt is the Secretary Bird of Africa. We'll adapt the wings to have 'hands' - two fingered ones and lose the flight capability. They are already 4ft 3 in tall. We'll scale them up to two, three, and four times that in height. Something has to be able to hunt the giant greenland geese. We'll make sure they get a downy coat when the winter comes as well.

The second base stock we will use is the closest relative to the terror bird that still lives: the Red-Legged Seriema. It and the Black-legged Seriema are both rather nifty critters from SoAm. They have a clawed toe that can be brought up much like the dinosaurian raptors of old, but its too small to be used as a weapon. Let's fix it! We also want to give them their own clawed hands, and replace their wings with arms. Currently they stand at 3 ft tall. That's fine for the small form, but let's make them bigger too: 6 ft and 9 ft are fine.

The last novarchosaurian carnirvore we'll mess with is derived from a NorAm bird, the roadrunner. They'll get the same upgrades as the secretary bird and the seriema derivatives with the exceptions of there being no kick claw like the genengineered seriema has. The biggest deriv is four feet high and an even better runner than its nonmodified cousins. There are a total of four sizes, that are on the foot marks: 1 ft, 2 ft, 3 ft, and 4 ft.

That will wrap up our novarchosaurian additions for now. I might add some more herbivores - we only have 16 - but 11 carnivores are enough. Dont' worry there are other carnivores and some rather different herbivores to come. The other critters that I have a huge soft spot for are the primates, especially the lemurs. One such critter to be is the lemuroo.

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