Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
Rhamphothrix - Future Feline by Viergacht Rhamphothrix - Future Feline by Viergacht
This is based on ThomasTapir's Felicetacean skull: Felicetacean by thomastapir


Rhamphothrix campbelli (Campbell's hairy beak)


A person from this time would be hard-pressed to see anything similar to the cat purring in their lap, but the Thrix is indeed a feline, one of the most derived members of the felicetaceans.

It seems odd that aquatic creatures would thrive in the widespread droughts that characterized the mass extinctions at the end of the Anthropocene. However, the jaguarondi (Puma yagouaroundi) exploited its swimming abilities to lurk in the rare watering holes, springing out on prey animals that were obliged to drink there, and over time developed into the large, sleek, otter-like "lake lions" or "river cats" (Gyrinopuma spp.). 

 The Thrix retains the basic form of a river cat, but has adapted to the chilly, turbulent waters of the high northern mountain creeks. Although they can swim, with their paddle shaped tails, Thrix usually clamber over and cling to rocks at the bottom with their powerful clawed limbs. They are capable of holding their breath an extraordinarily long time.

Thrix typically prey on crawling-hand crabs and creek leeches, using their distinctive long chin armed with stiff vibrissae to prod into the rocks and mud, detecting the slightest movements. In their noisy, silty environment, sight and hearing do very little so the Thrix has reduced ears that are barely more than slits on the side of the head, and small, weak eyes that are mostly used to detect the shadows of predators looming overhead. The large bony pads jutting from the front of the eyes protect them from the claws and teeth of their prey.

Thrix descend from the Guldurgu swamp sabre cats, which shed their coats for a thick, leathery skin and evolved a large flange on their chin which acted as a sheath for sabre teeth, similar to the extinct marsupial Thylacosmilus. Thrix no longer have sabres, and in fact hardly have any teeth at all, instead using a hard, turtle-like ridge on their gums to crush prey. It's thought that the loss of teeth is genetically correlated with the loss of a pelt. The Thrix does have several denticles on the jaw which serve in place of teeth, however.

A Thrix's stout, solidly-built body is coated in a thick layer of blubber-like fat, which keeps it warm and serves as a back-up food store. Both sexes have humps of fat on the back, which also protect the spine from their main predator, the snaggle-beaked fishing eagle. Males sport a particularly large hump shaped a bit like a shark's fin, which not only makes it visually and by disturbance of currents from a female but advertises its fitness and suitability as a mate – a male with a big, firmly-filled hump is clearly a better hunter.

Each Thrix patrols a territory that consists of s stretch of creek, of which it learns every nook and cranny over its fifteen to twenty year lifespan, and which it defends vigorously from intruders. Generally females live in the higher elevations, and males in the lower. When a female comes into heat, her pheromones wash downstream and attract a swarm of males who travel up to court her, fighting each other along the way. Breeding usually occurs during the early spring, when water levels are at their highest and the creeks are fast and cold due to the ice melt.

Gravid females create natal pool by digging a hole off to the side of the main creek and letting it fill with groundwater. These pools are warmer and stagnant, perfect for kittens learning to swim. She then digs a burrow far above the waterline. After a three-month gestation, females give birth to a litter of anywhere from one to seven kittens, with four being a typical litter size. The kittens have a coat of thick, wooly fur which is not waterproof, and stay in the den for their first four weeks. As their fur sheds out, the kittens begin swimming in the natal pool, and by high summer, three months later, are weaned and ready to swim off on their own.




Pristichampsus also did a version - interesting to see how they're the same and how they differ: Thomastapir's Felicetacean by Pristichampsus
Add a Comment:
 
:iconcartoonben:
CartoonBen Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Magnifying Glass You know what's funny? Before I realized that it's long nose had a bone in it's anatomy, I thought the creature looked more like a shrew with mole spades. As of right now, I even noticed that it has a tail that's similar to tadpoles (or the larval stage of frogs), salamanders, and/or newts.
Reply
:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2017  Professional General Artist
Yep, those were definitely things I referenced - good eye!
Reply
:iconcartoonben:
CartoonBen Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Thank you very much. ;) (Wink)
Reply
:iconjflaxman:
jflaxman Featured By Owner May 4, 2017
This is the most original future feline I've seen!
Reply
:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner May 4, 2017  Professional General Artist
All credit to Thomas for the idea!
Reply
:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
I love the fact that it looks absolutely nothing like what we today would consider a "cat". 

I like the detail you put into its behavior and ecology. I wonder if the pools the females dig could serve as a micro-environment like how pits dug by alligators in the Everglades create sanctuaries for fish during the dry season and also serve as platforms for cypress and other plants to grow on.
Reply
:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thanks! I definitely had that in mind when I wrote it.
Reply
:iconzgerken:
Zgerken Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2016
An interesting idea you have here!
Reply
:iconsalpfish1:
salpfish1 Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Cool design!:) (Smile) 
Reply
:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner May 22, 2016
This is incredible, man...I don't even know where to begin.  You took something so essentially simple and extrapolated it far beyond what I could have imagined.  There is an entire fantastical alt-mammalian lineage implicit in the description here, on par with The Snouters at the very least.  I can see all kinds of crazy variants spinning off just this one single creature alone...The pale, hairless, wrinkly skin, the flippery mole-like claws, and the shrew-ish "nose" with its tactile sensors put me in mind of a subterranean or stygofaunal organism, while the sculling tail and mesoplodontid-style "tusks" inspire visions of a massive marine leviathan.  There are so many directions you could go with this.

I don't even know what else to say...I'll probably have more coherent feedback once I've had time to digest it.  Gorgeous work.
Reply
:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner May 23, 2016  Professional General Artist
I'm so glad you like it!
Reply
:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the plug, dude :)

This one is great though, you handled the jaws way differently than I did, bravo!
Reply
:iconrandomflyingpigeons:
randomflyingpigeons Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
I like that you are creating concepts of what could evolve after we fuck everything up. This is really cool to see. 
Reply
:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Verry unique! :icontrilobitecannibal: feat this pls
Reply
:icontrilobitecannibal:
TrilobiteCannibal Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
on it
Reply
:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner May 22, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nice
Reply
:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
sweet!
Reply
:iconmadmosquito:
MadMosquito Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Are the ears in front of the eyes? That's a novel idea.
Reply
:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional General Artist
Oops, that's meant to be flesh over jutting bone, but now that you mention it they do look like ears.
Reply
:iconmadmosquito:
MadMosquito Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Isn't it curious though that ears usually end up behind eyes?
Reply
:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional General Artist
Welp, they evolved from gill arches so it would take something weird to put them in front of the eyes :)
Reply
:iconmadmosquito:
MadMosquito Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Gills in the nasal cavity, perhaps? ;)
Reply
:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner May 22, 2016  Professional General Artist
Maybe! Or like, a flap of skin that could be poofed out and used to extract oxygen from water, like hoe turtles can breathe thru their butts.
Reply
:iconagmantheag:
AGmantheAG Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
I want this to be in a cute cats video.
Reply
:iconetherinea:
Etherinea Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
It's...cute?
Reply
:iconkaprosuchusdragon:
KaprosuchusDragon Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
kill it with fire!!!
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×




Details

Submitted on
May 21, 2016
Image Size
597 KB
Resolution
1295×820
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
3,890
Favourites
184 (who?)
Comments
26
Downloads
23