Late Carboniferous

Late Carboniferous

Before the end of the Carboniferous Period, an extinction event occurred. On land this event is referred to as the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse (CRC).[9] Vast tropical rainforests collapsed suddenly as the climate changed from hot and humid to cool and arid. This was likely caused by intense glaciation and a drop in sea levels.[27] The new climatic conditions were not favorable to the growth of rainforest and the animals within them. Rainforests shrank into isolated islands, surrounded by seasonally dry habitats. Towering lycopsid forests with a heterogeneous mixture of vegetation were replaced by much less diverse tree-fern dominated flora. Amphibians, the dominant vertebrates at the time, fared poorly through this event with large losses in biodiversity; reptiles continued to diversify due to key adaptations that let them survive in the drier habitat, specifically the hard-shelled egg and scales both of which retain water better than their amphibian counterparts.[9] -Wikipedia, Carboniferous

Reptiles filled niches all over the world. Some eventually began to fly, following the insects.

Plant-animal relationships could sometimes be mutually beneficial. Fruits grew as a kind of exchange relationship between the two. In exchange for a nutrient goldmine, animals distributed seeds impeded within the fruits, dispersing the plant into new environments.

Behaviours became more and more advanced throughout ecosystems, and different strategies abounded. Eventually, for some, this led to advanced cooperation with its own kind of life, and these became social creatures. Social creatures learned to exist in a group that can gather resources and maximize reproductive capacity. Often, this involves establishing a hierarchy of authority based on violence or, if it can be understood, the threat of violence. The strongest individual, often a male, monopolized the group's resources and reproductive opportunities. High levels of communication allowed these life to operate more effectively.

About the same time that his was going on, plants had evolved an even more spectacular relationship with various animals and insects. They concentrated their pollen and stamens next to a honeypot of nectar, which had the same effect of attracting animals as what fruits did, but this time they assisted in pollination.

First person story

Extinction event at the end. Rainforests dried up, favoured reptilian-like amphibians with eggs.

[We catch up with the animal from the first chapter. Begin to write in more on parental attachment. It cares for its babies.]

Development of relationships.

Ancestors name:

Memories of the era

  • Heat (I think)
  • Large moon
  • Insects everywhere
  • Now you only need to drink water occasionally
  • Creature is now partially in, partially out of the water. It has abundance again through eating insects
  • Some of the species are compelled to stay in the water it competes with its own sex. It so happens that our amphibian is a little less reliant on water from the others.
  • There is a short drought. It survives.
  • Abundance of insects again, it breeds.
  • It has the most basic rudimentary speech – which is actually just sounds and screeches it uses to communicate
  • Note that she should probably be in salt water like lagoons, not fresh water rivers

[Secured on land, exploring the brave new world]

Massive competition from dinosaurs. Everything furiously eating each other. Need research into the early dinosaurs.

50 million years, and _____ million generations on, and Creature had adapted to the land. Her fins had become short, stumpy legs and she waddled across the ground. Her scales had hardened to protect her from rough surfaces and the drying effect of the air. She had begun to breathe the searing air in rudimentary lungs though she still settled back into the water very often, both to ambush prey and to lay eggs. She was now called Ichthyostega. A number of fish had followed her onto land, others had beaten her here, and all had adapted in different ways. There were also insects; scorpions, millipedes, and dragonflies, huge and lumbering. Food was abundant, plants and insects and small fish swarmed their habitats through the heat that pressed down in the river-jungle where Creature lived. Predators of Creature’s species were few and far between. The population of Creature’s species was in the process of exploding.

Creature pulled herself out of the water, into the humid air of the dense jungle. She climbed, using her small front legs, up the slight embankment and looked over her small territory. The river snaked through the Earth, and jungle ferns haunted it as tightly as fog in a claustrophobic press of greenery. The air moved with the wash of the river and the incessant calls of insects. Creature stood on the embankment, reached upwards until she stood precariously on two legs, and snatched a red insect from the underside of an overhanging fern leaf. It didn’t even move, like it did not understand the idea of being eaten.  It tasted sour, but was edible. Creature gulped it down, then found another a short trot away. After a short feed, creature meanders around her small area in the jungle. Walking was difficult on her newly developed legs, and her lungs were not yet accustomed to the air. She had to walk slowly, and stop frequently. Often she ducked back into the river, where she was more comfortable. She swam along the bank, thrashing her tail and pushing herself along the river floor with her newly developed legs. Nothing was out of place, until she felt a vibration in the water from far off. Something large had entered the water. A rock falling in, perhaps.

Creature climbed out of the water and onto the bank. A low drone filled the air and huge, 6ft dragonfly landed a few metres away. They ignored each other. Creature lay by the bank, comfortable in her territory. Prometheus began to explore. The dragonfly beside Creature had the most fascinating eyes. Huge, and pearlescent, reflecting a myriad of colours but most prominently a mix of purple and green. He knew that these eyes could detect the slightest movement. Its wings, folded on its back, were capable of hovering, flying backwards, or upside down. Surely evolution had reached its peak in such a creature. But Prometheus could feel Creature's dreariness in the humid midday jungle heat, and settled back into her body and then gradually into unconsciousness, as was Creature's routine.

When Creature and Prometheus opened their eyes, they jolted awake. In the water right in front of them was a pair of eyes, yellow slits, floating on the surface. They were huge, and predatory. Prometheus tried to move but could not, Creature stayed motionless, immovable as stone where she lay. The yellow eyes moved closer until they were but ten centimetres away and Prometheus tried everything to compel Creature to move but she stayed rooted to the spot. The predator rose out of the water, face first and in absolute silence, water streaming off its crocodilian face and past its rounded nose and prominent teeth. Prometheus could feel its hunger biting from its own stomach. It had swum far for a meal. It rose, enormous, until its face filled Creature's vision and snapped, a squeal of pain and a broken, low buzz came from the dragonfly's wings as the predator pulled it down, into the water, never to resurface alive. Creature's heart rate was fast enough to be deafening. She finally moved, away from the water and under a nearby fern, shivering. Prometheus stayed with her as her fright subsided.

When Creature awoke, she was hungry. She scuttled toward the riverbank and waded into the water up to her belly. She watched the surface of the water for yellow eyes or ripples, and her body was sensitive to the slightest vibrations in the water. Sensing nothing, she submerged. She swam along the length of her territory, chased and caught a small fish, and dragged it out of the water into her damp nest of leaves.

She could barely perceive it, but the river was slowly subsiding. Summer marched on and the river continued to subside. Creature knew that her environment was changing but did not understand why. She knew that each day the river was further from her nest and the river had shrunk in width. She knew that rainfall and river size we correlated, but her understanding did not go much further than that. Prometheus knew that rain had not come upstream in quite some time, and slowly the upper valley was draining of its underground water. Soon, this river would be gone completely, and with it Creature's way of life.

Her day was routine and regular; hunting for infant insects and small fish, chewing on soft plants inside the water and out. She kept vigilant for insects that may fall into the stream to snap them up. After a long while, she had learnt that a fallen insect usually attracts a bigger fish, and if she was patient then she could eat them both. She had built a small nest by dragging some soft leaves together along with some mud, which kept her small space damp. Occasionally a male would show up in her territory, and they would mate. The male would move on, and her eggs would hatch, hundreds of offspring swimming out every which way along the length of the river. She remembered vaguely her own early development, of aggressively fighting a number of her brothers and sisters for the right to this piece of the river. No doubt her offspring would be doing the same, but she did not think of them.

But the river continued to dry, and the fish began to disappear, and Prometheus began to worry for the sake of Creature. In the surrounding environment, animals began to depart, driven by thirst or by departing prey. Eventually the river dried up entirely. One night when venturing out, Creature encountered the withered remains of the yellow eyed crocodilian, lying half submerged in the mud. Then, she understood. There was nothing but death now in this corner of the jungle.

Creature turned downstream, and began to walk. She had explored large parts of her territory surrounding the river before and she knew that the area that she knew would not be sufficient. She must go beyond what she knew and into new territories.