Sunday, 22 September 2013

From the Archives (VII): the Unclassifiables

The Archives contain many sketches of animals with a Bauplan that seems to be at odds or even at ends with the 'canon' shapes of Furahan life forms. Some are actually upgraded to 'canon status', such as rusps. I picked two of them out  for today's post, a short one, as work is encroaching ever more successfully upon free time.

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

The Takkebeest
Anyway, this one was labelled 'takkebeest', and as 'tak' means branch and 'beest' means beast, it is a branchsitter (there's another meaning too, as 'takke' can also stand for 'irritating' or 'bad'). I rather like its general shape, destined to more or less confuse the viewer. You can see that it has toes that branch following the 'Devonian pattern', stemming from a rather fat body. The upper body is equipped with asymmetrical claws. Above that, well, its mouth is separated from its eyes by a long neck. And why not? Cats can hardly see what's right in front of them, and do quite well, so why can't a takkebeest rely on propriocepsis (that's feeling where your limbs are) to deliver morsels of food to the mouth? Come to think of it, humans can't see their mouths either.
   Later a development of the takkebeest was fully developed for a painting, so this particular Bauplan was elevated to official status. That makes it 'classifiable', but I have not yet thought of a name for the group ('Takketheria'?).

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk
The Meralgian Nutcracker
This one I labelled in English; as I realised that a book on Furaha would never be published in the -too small- Dutch market, at times I made notes in English. I think it only has four legs, so it is not a hexapod. Indeed, there is mention of it being related to the honeysucker, and that is four-legged as well. Its mouth carries impressive looking teeth, that must be designed to crush nuts. Having heavy equipment at the end of a long snout must have consequences as far as moving the head is concerned but the nutcracker looks rather solidly built, and must be able to carry this off.
  Nothing has been done with the design since, but it's cousin is there, showing that there are more body schemes on Furaha than you might have realised. Is that unrealistic? I doubt it: if you start counting the various invertebrate body schemes on Earth, you will find that there are many. on Earth, there are just not many large animals with different body plans; there are on Furaha...