You know, it doesn't really look much like a fox...More like a Tasmanian devil/tiger with an infusion of cynodont and possibly a pinch of mongoose and/or shrew as well. But "Fhox" is so concise, and "Fhylacine" just doesn't have the same associational impact.
Anyway. Another idea I've had percolating on "simmer" for a while now: "Mad Hox" creatures with their morphological segment order "shuffled" via homeobox tinkering ([link]
). Additional genetic tailoring ensures a seamless integration of the segments as well as their functional viability. The extent to which this condition was engineered versus "naturally" evolved is up to the viewer's interpretation...Personally, I see it as another massive alien seeding project aimed at playing with potential variations on the default terrestrial genome. Shuffle the genes, ensure the viability of the expressed organisms, and then seed a planet with a basal form and let 'em evolve.
The original idea was to do a number of studies of different animals representing several classes across multiple environments (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, etc.), but oddly enough this guy is the only one to come together so far. That's not at all what I expected; I thought that a whale shark or gulper eel -like marine/aquatic creature would make for the most "natural" transition, but so far it's been very hard to pull off without making them look too "alien." It was important to me that these creatures show obvious evidence of their terrestrial heritage.
This idea goes quite a way back, and it's something I've more seriously considered since the discussion about alternate body plans under Alternate Biochemistries ([link]
). ~Zippo4k's awesome Rametosaurs ([link]
) went a long way towards lighting a fire under me and moving this concept up to the front burner, as did a recent exchange with ~newtman001 on Hox genes.
Rough drawing, so will Scrap soon...Again, just wanted to give the idea some exposure for debate.