Speculative Evolution Forums

For those of you who still occasionally pass by this blog, I’d like to inform you to I do plan to revive this site but it may be a few weeks. But until then, I suggest that you join the Speculative Evolution Forums for plenty of discussion on the topic I have highlighted here.



The Post-Evolution of Man

The mantelope of future Asian plains.What lies in man’s horizon? What is to become of the most advanced species on earth? Clearly, human beings are amazingly intelligent among animals with their great civilizations and continuously evolving technology. It is odd to think that we may evolve, that maybe we are not the end of the line. Personally, I have a conservative view on the issue, believing that man is a dead-end or at least near the tip of the branch. My opinion is that the human morphology doesn’t allow for much manipulation by normal means and that evolution has little effect on us since we no longer adapt, but make things adapt to us. It would require nuclear war, genetic annihilation, worldwide infertility, a super-plague, or an alien invasion to reduce us back to a species that nature can manage. With nuclear war and plague, I believe that humans would become simpler beings, not the high-tech superbeings often depicted in science fiction. Few would retain language or even tool-use; perhaps the last clasp of humanity will be a simple civilization born of a nuclear holocaust using oral stories to explain the bones of humans they find in the ground, the lost Gods and great creators. To be honest, not a big fan of post-humans as a concept but to illustrate, :).

New Flying Wildlife – Part 2

Now, to examine our fishy and “slimy” friends. The obvious first choice from the fish lot is the flying fish. The flying fishes are gliding planktonivores who exit the water to escape predation, one of the major advantages of flight (the other usually being the ability to catch flying or gliding prey). Both the pectoral and pelvic fins are used in “flight” which allows for great surface area for the air to work on and also reduces the need for huge muscles as seen in some of the other fishes to use the gliding behavior. Glides can reach 60 km/h and last for 30 to 50 meters in distance. Flying fish predators might also develop gliding and flight as a means of catching the newly flying Exocoetids (flying fishes are members of Exocoetidae). Two issues with flying fish becoming true fliers: their pelvic muscles may be inadequate and their current plankton diet would hold them back, requiring a change in food.

Unusual this may sound, I think sharks have the possibilities to becoming either gliding or flying predators. From my knowledge,  some of the larger sharks, specifically the great white shark, will “leap” out of the water with thrust in order to capture prey such as seals. I believe that smaller sharps would have the capability to take after this example and maintain short flights out of the water in order to catch fish prey (perhaps flying fish?).

Freshwater hatchetfish have the unusual tendency to fly. These are technically the only fish to use powered flight which makes them good candidates for what is referred to as true flight. This ability is granted by the hatchetfish’s large sternal region and large pectoral fins. Flight has both of the major advantages for the hatchetfish: it allows an escape from aquatic predators and allows for the hatchetfish to catch flying insects. For the Arthropod Era project, I have an idea for descendants of hatchetfish that are slightly larger and have improved the flight behavior by a large extent. To help extend flights, it has air sacs that act like both lungs and “flotation devices”.

I promised to write about flying amphibians but after some thought I don’t think that flight would develop in amphibians, not even the gliding frogs. My main issue is that amphibians require moisture and only in damp, humid areas would this requirement be met.  In a “revisit” to a Carboniferous-type time, the likelihood for flying amphibians would rise. I imagine “pterosaur” or “bat” frogs existing, nothing like birds or insects for sure.

New Flying Wildlife – Part 1

JeholopterusNow, it isn’t too hard to predict what sorts of creatures might take to the sea and evolve into orders of great marine animals. Much harder is to imagine what sorts of creatures might take flight, spreading their wings for greater evolutionary horizons. You would think that the gliding animals would be first to take the steps towards true flight. But with there being established flying animals in ecosystems, it would take an extinction for the gliding animals to take over. Evolution has ignored this before, though. Even with the magnificent pterosaurs ruling the skies, some small maniraptoran dinosaurs developed the first feathers and started to use them for short flight. Those maniraptors were to achieve something great: the origin of birds, among the most diverse group of vertebrate animals around today. Again, evolution would produce flying creatures when some sort of small shrew-like insectivore began to glide to catch prey. Over time its gliding membrane would become a wing, and we now have bats, the sadly infamous creatures of the dark (bats have been so poorly stereotyped as bloodthirsty mangy nocturnal predators). Now, do I think with birds and bats that some of the current gliding creatures might fly? Not likely. These two groups fill so many niches, so perfectly that I cannot see how any new flying order might evolve with them still being extant. So, what if in some strange extinction all birds and bats went extinct?

Humboldt squid

I shall begin this series with the possibility of flying squids: The squids of Onmastrephidae, the so-called flying squids, are known to proprell themselves from the water using their funnels. This means, basically, that they use jet-propelled flight as a means of locomotion. Thus, if they were to ever master this technique, they would be “jet squids”. Plus, I think the fins have the chance to become muscular and achieve some capability of flapping in order to maintain this strange form of flight. Modern flying squids can glide distances of 50 meters, about the same maximum distance as flying fish. This is a pretty amazing feat if you think about it. Now, interestingly, this group also includes the Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas). Not to get off topic, but this is a wonderful species of squid with great evolutionary potential. It is an aggressive predator known to attack divers and fisherman and can weigh up to 100 pounds. It is also the only known invertebrate to hunt cooperatively, something that could lead to specialization in larger prey later on in the evolutionary continuum of this monster of a cephalopod. I will likely touch back on the subject of the Humboldt later on. In Part 2 of this series, I will discuss flying fish, butterflyfish, hatchetfish, and flying frogs. In Part 3, I will discuss gliding reptiles and mammals.

Whale Evolution (video)

Looking at the evolution of the past often helps to predict the evolution of the future. In this case, the evolution of whales may hint at the future evolution of other marine species.

Analysis of Boars and Dixon’s Turmi


Boars are opportunistic feeders found across Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. They have been reintroduced into the Britain and have developed feral populations in the Americas, New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand. They are easy to adapt to a variety of habitats and are known to be pests in many regions. But, they have also been domesticated to produce what we know as pigs. Part of their introduction to not-native regions is the ease at which domestic pigs will revert to a feral state.

The simple fact that pigs and boars are so adaptable is proof that with a megafaunal extinction they will succeed greatly. In some cases, they will remain with the simple swine model: an omnivorous artiodactyl with a long snout, tusks, and a relatively short mane of hair down the head and neck. This is the case with the Future is Wild‘s aptly named Scrofa, a long snouted suid adapted for foraging in the flat, bare Mediterranean region.


In many other cases, suids will become larger. A common hypothesis is that they will replace the elephants (the Nozdrokh from the Neocene and the Zarander from After Man), becoming large and bulky with prehensile proboscises and long sharp tusks for display and mating rituals. My own project places their origin in southeast Asia, spreading out to Mongolia, the Arctic, and Europe. Also is the common idea for “tapir” pigs. Instead of becoming huge, they become only slightly larger and develop a semi-prehensile proboscis like the tapirs of modern South America and southeast Asia. Just the same, they could become more like hippos and rhinos. Large semi-aquatic grazing pigs and rhino-like browsing pigs are certainly not strange and over-the-top ideas. Within a few million years of a major extinction, boar size will grow immensely, sometimes exponentially. Stranger ideas include giraffasuids (long-necked pigs that are less likely than other ideas mentioned above) and horned pigs (which actually are not far off from what has happened in history).


Although I believe Dougal Dixon did a relatively good job on the Zarander (Procerosus elephanasus) from his book After Man, I think it may a severe mistake with the “Turmi”. This odd-looking swine has a diet based solely on ants and termites and a snout that totally breaks the conventional pig mold. A) Ants and termites would not provide a good enough food source for a pig-sized animal. These hoofed mammals would have to be continuously eating to maintain a healthy weight. B) Logically, at least I would think, the tusks would face downward or forward to scrape dirt and leaf litter in search of food. Plus, the nostrils would be located at the end of the snout in order to better locate prey (aardvarks, anteaters, and echidnas all follow this model). C) These Turmi have huge “claws” above their hooves, which in my opinion are practically impossible to make. Otherwise, the Turmi are accurate as far as Suidae standards.

Sad Yet So True