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B5b - Roussa

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Roussas are solitary nocturnal wanderers known for their unnerving appearance and silent observational behavior. They generally project a noise baffle around their bodies, which when combined by their dark coat and behavior can make nighttime sightings especially unexpected. It is singularly unnerving to realize that a dark patch of the woods you've been casually observing while taking a nightly leak against a tree is actually a creature observing you right back. Particularly curious by nature, the common roussa in fact was discovered by a startled scouting party when it ignited their lamp in the middle of the night, inside their tent.

Creature info:

T1-3: Taildraggers belong to a type of roussa called colobi, distinctive for their facial ruff. Though encountered in the deep temperate woods encompassing the normal habitat of roussa, they are also found both in tropical jungles and high above the treeline. Their massive heavy tails drag onthe ground, wiping out their tracks, but also becoming tangled with vegetation and detritus, leaving behind a distintive swath.
T4-5: The siamangs are unique among the roussa for their piercing sound-generating organs. Adorned with a sheath-like cranial vibratory membrane, they can generate noise that not only is able to cancel out the typical roussa sound baffle, but has on several occasions hospitalized explorers with burst eardrums. They sound they produce is a droning "yuuu." Strangely, they are often seen in the company of other hominid creatures known as nazco stonefaces, perhaps serving some mututalistic function.
T6-10: Typical agile bipedal runners, these horned roussa use their facial horns as ramming weapons. T6 has a highly developed nasal cavity and an excellent sense of smell, making it hard to sneak up on. It also has an annoying habit of vomiting acid. T9 has a similar armored facial opening, ringed with teeth.
T12: This massive roussa can take on truly startling proportions and is often found covered with leaves, moss, and even gevetation growing in its fur. It has never been observed to move.
T13: An interesting creature for its habits alone, this short-legged quadruped digs in the earth to burrow but also constructs nests high in conifer trees. It uses pronounced thumb-toe nails to dig as well as to aid in climbing. Deep gouges in the bark of trees it inhabits suggest that it the nails could serve as apt defensive weapons.
T14: The unusual and disturbing torso-dragger crawls across the forest floor, pulling its limp serpentine body behind it with only the effort of its two main arms. These creatures are highly unsettling to witness both in coming and in going. The reason behind this behavior is unknown.
T15: A quadrupedal runner, this odd roussa can fling itself enf over end, attaing high speeds and making unexpexted leaps and other manouvers.
T24-34: Bipedal runners that all have some varuation of a false head composed entirely of a fur tuft. T26 even has a false face on its false head!
T35-36: These roussa have elongated feet and are toe-walkers. Both have hangong cloaks made out of locks of hair. T36 is able to flare out this cloak to startle predators, perhaps, making it appear much larger.
T37-38: Bloody feet are highly aggressive roussa with armored legs and streaming tails. These fast and agile runners can deliver powerful kicks and are quite dangerous, exhibiting no fear of exploration parties.
T39: A roussa with a lightweight train of hair that wafts behind it in the air. It has been observed in both semi-bipedal and quadrupedal modes of locomotion.

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A little Manifesto about Muir - I keep meaning to put down all of my ideas about this concept in one place, so here is as good a location as any:

Muir is an alternate earth that at some point in its history was infected with an alien ecosystemic seed organism. This 'ecosystorganism' has wiped out nearly all native animal life leaving vegetation nearly unaffected, for reasons unknown. The seed organism is possibly semi-parasitic, working with native life within certain boundaries.

The seed organism itself is megametamorphic, basically an entire evolutionary tree coalesced in one animal. The basal concept behind these creatures was that they ingest material through a type of organ-based matter transmission called ' Psychogastronimics,' or ' PG.' The primary metamorph, an unnamed worm called A1a1, has an organ called the psychogastronome. Various creatures, as they develop, evolve various strategic adaptations based on this. Some develope an 'antipsychogastronome,' a shield-generator of sorts. Some lose the ability entirely. Others develop odd tangental adaptations of the capability, feeling/smelling/etc. with the PG sense for example.

Additionally, the alien organisms are meme-based, rather than gene-based. They have fractal-based platelette-composed bodies rather than being cell-based life. My current conception is that they evolved in kind of giant moon-based low-gravity organic hive organism, a 'dendritic soup' or pseudo-mind if you will. The hive organism is basically homogenized smart matter that, once it began generating memes, was able to mold its body sectionally to represent the memes. Over time, then entire environment was composed of instances of the same organism populated by memetic stages. When these creatures metamorphose, they are basically undergoing intuitive leaps or logical conclusions. Human introduction to the world has created new metamorphs, due to meme-bleeding, as well as infecting humans with alien memes.

As to how the creatures got to Muir, I'm imagining that they were seeded by another unknown alien race. I'm not sure to what purpose or on what timeline. I'm also not sure if they are memetically modified by the unknown race or were simply encountered and used to 'exoforming' ends. Possibly even from yet another reality?

As to human exploration, I'm imagining that there is simply a tunnel from one world to another, the link through which is maintained by a reality-altering machine that maintains a field down the shaft. I like the idea of the technology maintaining the infrastructure of the whole 'Manhole' project being out-of date, low-tech, obscure, and of eccentric origin, but the government branch that runs it is afraid to shut down the machine to research it.

Of the several phenomena that have ocurred to me in terms of this setting, the only one I can remember at present is the idea of Superflocking, where a large metamorph will be observed acting in herdlike tandem with several accompanying lower metamorphic members of its heredity line. Superflocking leads to Meme-Chaining, a process by which 'lesser' creatures undergo a series of very rapid and proximate metamorphoses. This is possibly compensational behavior when the environment becomes unbalanced due to the demise or displacement of one or more 'greater' creatures.

... In turn, this reminded me about another detail about the evolutionary branching. Tom commented to me that the 'end' creatures all had a 'peacock' look about them, and we came up with the idea that the greater creatures are actually memetic colonies rather than being representative of a single meme. Basically, each metamorphic stage that a creature goes through represents a change in its memetic structure; each 'creature' goes through about 20 stages, amassing new and mutated memes, before it reaches critical memetic mass at which point it falls apart and re-seeds itself.

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Technical & Tangental Info:

These particular creatures are probably my all-time favorites from the Monster Generations project. The first one came to me in a dream with its own name, scaring me pretty badly in the course of events. I subsequently had another dream about them, prompting me to develop this heredity tree out of 'order,' jumping from of the mid-H's straight to the mid-B's. "What's that?" you say, "Breaking your own obsessive behavior with more obsessive behavior? "... but everyone wants to see that groovy thing. [link]

This piece has been pretty productive also, which makes me happy. If you remember from my 110 monsters piece: [link] I evolved 1 creature for 11 generations and got 110 creatures, basically a 10x power evolving modifier. For my last tree, the H3 Floatsnails, I evolved the basal creature for 11 generations also but ended up with 121 creatures, improving from a 10x to an 11x modifier. For this tree, however, I've ended up with 97 creatures over 7 generations, for a 13.857x modifier. Hooray! But I digress.

I tried out some new coloration stuff with this set, due in part to some of the metamorphoses being color-specific. I think that the transparency of circles intersecting each metamorph ring may be a litle distracting, but like the overall warmth and color unity of the piece. Comments and criticisms are welcome as always! Feel free to rip me a new one as long as you think it will help :nod:

Thanks in particular to :iconthomastapir: and :iconspinery: for serving as sounding boards for a lot of convoluted information. Thanks, guys!
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Comments63
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Sarspax's avatar
Oh man this is a really cool evolution sheet! I'm going to have to sit down and read all the info later tonight after I'm done with work. :)
whalewithlegs's avatar
Thank you! Sorry for the delayed reply!

Yeah, I'd really like to make more of these some day. Hard to believe I did this about 8 years ago!!! :o
Sarspax's avatar
OH dang I hadn't even thought to check the date at the time! haha! And no worries, we've all got lives. :) 

Fingers crossed you can find/make time in your schedule for it some day then! Will be stoked for that.
whalewithlegs's avatar
Taking a year off next year, actually so .. soon? :3
Sarspax's avatar
Ay! Well I hope it'll be a year off well spent. Try and keep on enjoying the meantime. :) 
EmmetEarwax's avatar
Made me think of the Snouters (Order Rhinogradentia, classed into 4 suborders, based on 1 nose, 4 noses, 6 noses or 38 noses).
whalewithlegs's avatar
Ha! I'm not really surprised to hear you say that, I guess! Superficially, the idea of cladism makes sense for a comparison. These guys really have no faces, though! :p
Heytomemeimhome's avatar
I got here by searching bing for 'photosynthetic bug faced lungfish' and moving through several pages. In other words I got here by complete random chance.

so could some one please tell me what I'm looking at and reading?

also T-11 needs love..... 
whalewithlegs's avatar
loool, poor T-11.

Huh! Not sure how that search would get you here, but really I'm surprised that you ended up here instead of at the actual bug-faced lungfish, hehe: whalewithlegs.deviantart.com/a…

Hmm, not sure what I can explain that's not in the description, but I'll try! Basically, this is an evolution tree. The little guy at the center, N1, spawns all of the other creatures. Each time it evolves, it changes just a little. Sometimes, two or more different creatures are possible evolutions, so the tree splits and grows bigger. It's a cladogram! If I may clarify further: think if a pokemon evolved 20 times, not just 3, and each time there were more than one possibility for what it would change into. That.
Heytomemeimhome's avatar
I was looking for bug-faced lungfish to see if it came up elsewhere besides this particular forum game, www.speciesgame.com/forum/view… incase you're interested.
whalewithlegs's avatar
Looks interesting! I'll check it out! :D
Escama's avatar
Love it! very creative. :O
whalewithlegs's avatar
Thanks! it needs some technical improvement, but next time I'll make it better :D
Escama's avatar
Looking forward to it. :o
lycanthropeful's avatar
I don't even know what to say at this point... what an awesome project. Seems like (no, I KNOW) you've done your research. Excellent organization and visual clarity!
whalewithlegs's avatar
:bow: thanks for the kind words!
bleupanpan's avatar
this is such an epic, long, amazing project. i'm really impressed, ben! i like the headlessness especially.
whalewithlegs's avatar
Liz! So good to see you! The internets are just.

these guys are my faaaavorites [link]
reidge's avatar
I see, so this set is your favourite. Nice design on t1-3 and t39 :D
whalewithlegs's avatar
I think those are my favorites from the set too, especially t39 ... I imagine it as having a sort of billowing flag made of hair flowing out behind it. :D
Red-Tatsu's avatar
Those creatures are... weird. I like them!
whalewithlegs's avatar
zypherax's avatar
wow... I'm usualy not one for humanoids, but you nailed them here!
whalewithlegs's avatar
Thanks, man! I tried to give them enough feral quality that they read more as animals with human parts than vice versa. :)
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