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TrollMans's avatar

Diyu Fauna Compilation

So for those who don't know, from 2014 to 2018, I managed a speculative evolution project known as Diyu (named after the equivalent of Hell in Chinese Mythology) on the spec evo forum (and a small number of artworks for it were also posted here). The premise was that there was a gigantic cave system underneath Northern China which had been isolated from the outside world since Early Cambrian times, and for over five-hundred million years, a subterranean biosphere had developed within from Chengjiang Biota and had only been accidentally uncovered in modern times.

It sort of ended because the spec evo forum forcibly swapped hosting services and everyone migrated to a new forum built from scratch, and I lost a lot of general motivation for projects at the time as well so it slowly trickled to a sudden stop, with a lot of content unfinished. Now, I find a lot of it somewhat below my standards for spec design and some aspects questionable from an aesthetic standpoint, so if I ever decide to revisit this project I'd probably do a full reboot instead of a straight continuation (that's a very big if I should emphasize).

Anyway, I collected as many of the old Diyu fauna artworks as I could find (not including flora or extinct species) and put them all together into one image here. There are a few which are missing and three of which never ended up being posted in the project at all, but this is the majority of them (yes, it does bother me a little that I didn't keep a consistent size for the illustrations, but not much I can do about it now). For more information on individual species, just click on the link and browse through the convenient table of contents (there are also many supplementary illustrations there too).
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© 2020 - 2021 TrollMans
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a question about diyu. First, why wasn't the sicklesides their own class? next, if umohs are related to vetulicolians, dartfishes are related to myllokunmingiis, then what are sicklesides related to? Also, are the mouth, cloaca, and anus of the trolls all inside one siphon?

GermanoMan101's avatar

Diyu is the best speculative evolution ever. I like how the world was like underground.

izu3000's avatar

I wish Gamefreak would hire you to make some decent Pokemon designs ...

MrOrnithosaur180's avatar

Is that the Emperor Walk-topus in the top left corner?

TheSirenLord's avatar

I always liked this project though i always found it odd that trilobites seemed to be on the decline.

What was your reasoning for this decision because I always viewed them as the beetles of the seas

ComplicatedStarman's avatar

Honestly, this was way cooler than all the stuff about kaijus and Skull Island, IMO.

SonicCaleritas's avatar
I liked diyu alot so its nice to hear about it atleast
AGV120395's avatar

I love the walktopuses, they're adorable

Tet54's avatar
Diyu wasn’t super realistic, but I loved the vibe and the creature design! If you did reboot it, I’d be very interested to see what would change

I loved diyu, it was personally my favorit work of yours apart of folly of man, if you were ever to reboot it you could count me in as its no.1 fan, i still love the rest of your work tho, i hope to see more content of yours soon

Is that the Elder Crab I spy?! I was always hoping you’d make an official entry for the beast but I’m at least glad to now know what it looks like. Shame that the spec evo forums were taken over by Tapatalk. Thanks for posting all the lovely beasties of Diyu in one place, even the ones you didn’t end up making entries for.

TrollMans's avatar

No, there's no Elder Crab in this image, since I never drew more than a few basic sketches for it nor ever made a digital coloured illustration of it.

Really, huh I guess I was mistaken. Here I thought that it was either the blue arthropod under the gold dragon worm or the red arthropod above the lampredator. Oh well, I guess it will stay a mystery then. If you ever decide to revisit Diyu I hope you bring it back. Keep on making amazing stuff otherwise!

RaksharAlpha's avatar

Love all of these weird and wondrous troglobites. Thanks for composing all of the creatures in one picture

Crynosur's avatar
I remember reading that, that was very enjoyable:D
Adam-the-axolotl's avatar
Awesome I love diyu, it’s one of my favorite spec projects ever!
HazardousMan1's avatar

Oh cool, a potential reboot of Diyu. Will you do the same with your other projects like Isla del Mundo Perdido and R'lyeh?

TrollMans's avatar

A reboot of Diyu, if it ever happens, will not be any time soon at all. Same with Perdido, but even less so.

The R'lyeh reboot is slow, but currently ongoing (this being the first part of it); I'm focusing on my kaiju project as the current priority so R'lyeh's getting put on a back-burner for the time, but there will be intermittent updates once every blue moon.

WWCB's avatar

I think you can still copy and paste your own images from the website.

Will consider moving all your stuff to that new website

Or will you make your own on

TrollMans's avatar

Umm... I'm not sure where I implied I couldn't access my old images... I still have the majority of them anyway so your method is sort of unnecessary.

And no, there are no plans to move anything to the new site or to move any of it to a google site.


Oh my god I love all these funky motherfuckers.

PersephoneEosopoulou's avatar

I don't see the Umoths from the even deeper level of Diyu, I do see the army Trilobite though.

DinoDragoZilla17's avatar

Looking good! Shame that this project got axed due to the forums getting changed.

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