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Working on some creatures for post-apocalyptic future

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Working on some creatures for post-apocalyptic future

Postby germanager » Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:17 pm

Hi, guys, I'm 3d artist, one of those who makes 3d stuff for videogames and movies, though only at start of the career, doing my major project for graduation.

My project involves world after nuclear world wars and how animals would be evolving in posthuman environment. Don't take it too seriously, it's still quite fantasy like (Fallout series, for example) But I'm studying animal anatomy, senses, organs quite hard and wonder if you can help with some advice.

Imagine you are a genetic engineer or god :) and you have this hostile poisoned world probably only with cockroaches and rats to eat. Few questions straight away
1 What kind of radioactive protection would you give to animal? Some leaded scales? What kind of skin?
2 Is it possible to make eyes see the x-ray radiation, if not then what kind of senses can sense it?
3 Is it possible to consume water that's poisoned with oil, what kind of digestion can handle this type of liquid?
4 Would it be wise to place some kind of filters in trachea to prevent radioactive dust flying in? How would u clean these filters?

And forget about mutants and mutations, I'm interested how the animals would evolve and shorten million years of evolution to one hundred. Keep it simple.

Your advice will help to make these creatures look less stupid than many other artist's creations. Though maybe not:)
Cheers
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Postby JackBean » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:15 am

look into Chernobyl and creatures, which evolved in there ;) Obviously normal animals can survive pretty much. Anyway:

1. maybe some stronger skin, but not shield ;)
2. theoreticaly I think it is possible, but that's it. It would need long way ahead to reach it...
3. what about symbiotic bacteria able to digest oil? (such bacteria exist, but are not symbiotic ;)
4. look into how you filter air from dust, that's pretty much what you can do ;)
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

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Postby Hobble » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:41 am

I would imagine some sort of Animal/Plant cross could be interesting. Plants can adapt to poisoned environments (lead, etc.). I think an animal disguised as a tree, with a long, tall stalk of a body with fanned out membranes at the top where it can use light for photosynthesis. Its legs resemble roots, as it slowly moved across the land scape until is can locate an available water source. It can ingest carcasses or small live animals and insects through a mouth it has in the centre of the stalk between the root-legs (similar to an octopus). To defend itself from predators, it has small spikes along its skin, which also aid in trapping water vapour in the surrounding air.
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Postby david23 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:11 am

dont do lead, heavy metal is still bad for organisms that uses other metals in their body. I would go with Hobble's idea of photosynthesis since the idea of producing your own food is always cool for large animals. You can have a creature digest oil with the right enzymes but the the oil will mostly be used for energy rather than biosynthesis. Now I think fire breathing isnt out of the question. A lot of animals produce tons of methane, now if you mix that with some electric eel ability you would have lots and lots of fireballs.
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Re: Working on some creatures for post-apocalyptic future

Postby Geokinkladze » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:53 pm

If I were God or a genetic engineer my first job would be to try and negotiate for more than 100 years :wink: . Failing that you've got to work with what's already there (which is nature's answer anyway).

There are members of nearly every species that will be less susceptible to radiation poisoning than other members of their species, so the likelihood is that these will survive and breed. Quick breeders will likely spread quickly to fill the gaps left behind, so you correctly identify rats and cockroaches. I'd also add worms, flies, ants and many other insects.

Certain hard shells will help protect against radiation, especially x ray radiation.

I don't know about detecting x rays, if you mean animals might need to detect it in order to avoid it then i'd guess you'd be looking at something we might rationalise as a 6th sense but is probably a load of senses that we aren't conciously aware of most of the time, all working together which make us feel we want to "avoid that place".

Oil can be broken down by many bacteria as has been pointed out. Animals have been known to use external sources to help themselves in this regard, monkeys who ingest clay to help remove toxins from certain berries, animals who swallow stones to digest tough plants, that kind of thing. So what's wrong with animals ingesting a bacteria to help break down the oil?

Filters in trachea? 100 years and you want filters in trachea?

Again you need to work with what you got, animals can produce a lot of mucas when they need to, I'd say that's the most likely way to protect from radioactive dust, especially in 100 poxy years.

Does anyone know whether there's a union for deities?
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Re: Working on some creatures for post-apocalyptic future

Postby skeptic » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:36 pm

The most probable protection against radioactivity would be invisible. Organisms already have repair mechanisms for damaged DNA. Special enzymes are required. An improvement in this repair mechanism would solve the problem of radiation induced tissue damage.

Humans, by way of explanation, can probably stand a level of radiation of 100 millisieverts per month, based on survivor records at Hiroshima. Current background is about 0.2 millisieverts per year, which shows that we can tolerate a lot more than we actually get hit with. There are other organisms with heightened DNA repair mechanisms that can tolerate thousands of times more than this.

So, heavy shells, skins etc to protect against radioactivity are decidely unlikely.

In the same way, adapting to eating and drinking strange foods would be a matter of changing such things as the digestive system, and the immune system. Again, essentially invisible adaptations.

On detecting radiation.
It would not be X-rays. More likely particle radiation, or gamma radiation. Eyes are better suited to visible light. That is why all eyes have evolved for such. However, if avoiding radioactive areas is pro-survival, you could postulate a new and special organ, sensitive to the radiation, and able to measure intensity and direction, so that the animal can avoid the worst of it.

There is, of course, nothing whatsoever to stop you creating super predators, and weird prey animals adapted to stop those predators. Just take a look at any book on dinosaurs to see how weird such adaptations can be.
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