The Evolution Challenge: Abeyana the pond-dweller

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Terpsichore, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. The Evolution Challenge!

    This is a part-game, part-descriptive challenge. We will begin with a very basic creature and then follow its journey of thousands upon thousands of years as it evolves to become the master of its domain. To any of you that have played Spore, it might sound a little similar, and I think I was inadvertently channeling the spirit of Spore's second stage when I came up with this.

    Each person will take a turn to "evolve" the creature in some way. They might decide to add gills, so that it may breathe underwater, or a horn to fend off attackers, or even opposable thumbs so that it can unscrew bottle caps. Every turn marks a step in the creature's evolution, so whilst we will start off with a small, unassuming little critter, we might end up with a behemoth that can demolish entire mountains with a swing of its herculean tail. The possibilities are almost endless, and only limited to the imagination and creativity of each person taking part.

    As this is starting out in the "Creative Challenges" thread, there needs to be an element of creativity and thinking involved, so, at each stage, there needs to be an explanation of our creature's new body parts/abilities, along with a justification as to why. Our little friend isn't going to evolve a giant ass for LOLZ, nor is it going to evolve massive wings because massive wings are cool. No, it's going to evolve a longer neck to help it reach foliage higher up in trees, or it's going to develop a thicker hide to protect it against predators and extreme temperatures. The reasons for evolution will usually be to give a creature an advantage, either in terms of adapting to its physical environment, e.g. improved low-light vision for cave-dwellers, or by adapting to the other creatures in its environment, e.g. butterflies with brightly patterned wings intended to scare off attackers.

    There will be a list of rules below, but the main rule is to apply a bit of common sense. If the creature has no arms at all, then it isn't suddenly going to sprout eight arms all at once, with each hand consisting of five deadly claws. The creature will develop in stages, so developing eight limbs at once would be a stage in itself. These eight limbs might then become arms on the next turn, and then claws on the turn afterwards. Finally, in the fourth turn, those claws might become very sharp and dangerous.

    Rules, white You can only make one evolutionary change per turn. An evolutionary change would be a new limb, or developing an existing limb into a wing or a fin, or developing a horn. If the change requires the creature to change in shape/size, then this is fully permitted, so long as the change isn't too extreme. If it requires the creature to completely change its body shape/size, then it's probably too extreme a change for a single turn anyway.

    Anything that has been written before is considered canon. If it develops a second head, then it is now a two-headed creature. That's just part of the madness.

    I'm not an evolutionary biologist. Maybe someone here is, and if they are, I apologise profusely. The "evolutions" our creature will undergo will not be all that realistic. If there's a good, justifiable reason for it, then that's all I demand. There's no need to be breaking out science textbooks to double-check that nature actually works how you want it to, so let's just say that this is a fictional world where things happen a bit differently to the way that they do in our world.

    If the creature evolves enough to change environments, then feel free to have it find a new home. If, for example, we began with a small rodent that lived in a forest, but it developed thicker fur and a layer of blubber, then it could start to move northwards, into a colder, snowier region instead.

    Sometimes, evolution may remove a body part. If, for example, our creature had normal eyes, but it moved deep into a pitch-black cave, then its eyesight may deteriorate due to the lack of usage. Removing such body parts does not count as your evolution for a turn, but it may pose challenges further down the line if our creature needs that body part back. Feel free to de-evolve a creature in this way, if you can justify it during your turn.

    This is a biological creature. It cannot evolve steel-plating or water cannons or anything like that. It can, however, evolve thick armour, like an armadillo, or the ability to spit water precisely, like an archerfish.

    Hopefully, I haven't gone on too much, or made this idea seem too boring. In my head, it sounds like it could be really fun once it gets going, and, as I came up with it a few hours ago and am now typing it up, there's plenty of scope for some of the rules to change or be relaxed if they're stifling the game.

    Anyway, I want you to meet a little friend of mine...


    See that beautiful little creature? That's Abeyana, and we're going to follow her species on their evolutionary adventure. Will she venture away from the pond and into the forest? Will she become a full-time pond dweller? Will she become a dominant carnivore, or a gentle giant herbivore? Anything is possible!

    Abeyana begins life as a vague lizard-worm creature that lives in the mud near to ponds. She's about two inches long, eats algae and leaf mulch, and her main predators are just about anything bigger than her.

    So... What's going to change first? Get writing!

    (Pictures are not required in any way whatsoever, and the above represents the full extent of my artistic abilities. If you can draw, and want to draw our creature then please do, and I will love you very much, but there's absolutely no pressure to do so. This is a descriptive writing challenge, after all.)

    Finally, a note to the site staff. It is my intention that this be a writing challenge of sorts, but I concede that it may end up just being a game instead. I ask that you leave the thread here for the time being, to get started, but if, after a few posts, it becomes clear that this is really just being seen as a game, then please move it to the appropriate location. Thank you!
  2. This is a really cool challenge. I hope my contribution is acceptable! :D

    Abeyana wants to survive, and those darn predators are not helping. They're on the land and in the water, and there seems like no escape. Over time, though, Abeyana begins to evolve a slimy sort of coating around her body, giving her both the ability to move much more swiftly through the mud and an extremely foul taste when a predator tries to have a bite.
    • Love Love x 1
  3. Eeeeeeeeeeeee! Someone actually replied! <3

    That is *exactly* the kind of thing I was after. There's a reason for evolving, then there's the evolution itself, and how it benefits Abeyana. Thank you!
  4. The slimy coating, despite causing a foul taste to most predators, would still be edible to some, stupider creatures. Due to the creatures stupidity, they are unlikely to chew before swallowing, Abeyana develops sharp mandibles that can retract from her maw in order to slice her way out of predators, and aid with eating larger, tougher food.
  5. The propensity towards being eaten by a particular species of predator (one whom can produce a gastrointestinal environment capable of surviving the toxins and adhesive-disruptive nature of its coating) arises from several events;

    • Abeyana is primarily left alone by predators considering its unpalatable nature.
    • Abeyena flourish with no significant natural predators, killed only by infighting (likely for sexual supremacy) or disease.
    • Very few, if only one, species of predators are capable of ingesting and surviving Abeyana. These predators are likely generalists due to their ability to ignore Abeyana's ploys at discouraging being eaten. Thus, they are not likely to specifically target Abeyana alone as a food source.
    • Still, Abeyena numbers begin to dwindle once more, with a large number of them now dying off due to a potential predator. Sexual selection moves in favor of those Abeyana which can successfully escape the gastrointestinal tract of their predators more efficiently.
    • Carnivorousness is known to be a favorable modem of nourishment compared to herbivory. Abeyana would likely shift towards a carnivorous diet upon facing the need to bore through a predator's flesh.

    If we take into consideration the fact that predators, too, evolve to cope with prey, we must assume that Abeyana's predators will soon learn to avoid Abeyana by virtue of it damaging their internal organs; that or they would themselves develop gastric juices with acidity levels too deadly for Abeyana to survive long enough for escape. A dietary generalist, like the one that would eat or Abeyana, would be more naturally inclined to have more powerful dissolution chemicals in its body, by virtue of its diet being wide-ranged.

    To cope, Abeyana would need to further its slime coating into an even more powerful mucous membrane that neutralizes the acidity around it while inside of a stomach (or equivalent organ). They would secret strong bases in the slime, which would likely cause significant disruption in the stomach of the predator; Abeyana would enjoy a second modem of escape besides drilling if the predator vomits to reestablish acidity levels in its stomach.

    However, having been disposed towards enjoying the flesh of those predators that ate it, Abeyana does not want to escape in such a way. Abeyana would likely become a gastrointestinal parasite, laying eggs inside the tract and subsequently releasing vast amounts of slime to stimulate vomiting. Eggs would be picked up by detritovores grazing on the predator's vomit. Abeyena would continue, then, to feed on the flesh of its victim until it leaves the body entirely.

    Abeyana would be a strange case in biology in which a parasite almost purposefully kills its host, rather than keeps it alive. In addition, most internal parasites die upon completing a life cycle involving the production of eggs. Abeyana would survive the internal ordeal and live to find a new host if it were ingested by an aquatic predator. Thus two species of Abeyana would begin to distinguish themselves; one that seeks to be targeted by an aquatic host, allowing it to exit the predator and find itself in an aquatic environment once more, and another that perishes purposefully inside of a terrestrial predator, having no potential for life outside the host on land.

    New contribution: Gastrointestinal parasitism.
  6. The aquatic form, Likely wanting to stick around the body of the creature it has killed for further nourishment, would find competition from small bottom-feeders, and would face threats from larger predators looking for an easy meal. Abeyana becomes more aggressive to smaller creatures than it, and starts to fight creatures of the same size. When the carcass is gone, The Abeyana will then attempt to lure in predators large enough to swallow it and repeat the process. The Abeyana is still vulnerable to creatures that kill their prey before eating, and when one of those predators are deteccted, Abeyana burrows in the soft underwater mud.
  7. Abeyana being aquatic, would become more stealthy with natural camouflage in which the skin mimics the surrounding colors and textures, which aid in it's hunting of prey and its avoidance of becoming prey. In water, this could be used to make them virtually hidden, while other aquatic life forms swim by to become a host. Camouflage is my addition to the evolution chain. As said above, the evolution to Abeyana would produce evolution of certain other predators, and of this give them keen sight and attention to details. Possible other variants would probably include Eye sight, swift movement, and better hearing. Birds and insects are one type of things that could possibly become its predators, or other aquatic life.