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Moebius Fish by thomastapir Moebius Fish by thomastapir
Again trying for a "truly 'alien' alien." The idea here was a marine organism that "swims," and feeds, by turning itself inside out--or more accurately, reversing the orientation of its body surfaces. That little pod-like module with the labial slit is the only part of the animal that cannot reverse itself; it contains the brain and the digestive organs. (I had to make some concession to the necessity of having part of the organism closed off from the outside environment.)

It's hard to communicate in a single static drawing the kind of movement pattern I pictured for this creature. I imagined it being very elegant and hypnotic to watch. If you think of the illustrated configuration as the first step in its movement cycle, it would, from here, begin to reverse all its body surfaces to the point where all the body segments that are initially forward the feeding module would end up after it, and vice versa. It would then smoothly pull in all its body segments to reduce drag and invert them forward/back again to its initial starting posture. All movement takes place relative to that central body module, and simultaneous with its swim stroke is the folding and curling of its body segments to engulf prey and direct it towards the creature's "mouth." Metaphorically, I think of its motion as similar to the way a photon propagates itself through space, cycling between electrical and magnetic states.

This idea goes way back for me; I've always wanted to see how far it would be possible to push the boundaries of alternate but biomechanically feasible body forms. If this form is some world's answer to the vertebrate design on Earth, I think it could lead to some really interesting evolutionary possibilities for feeding and locomotion in flying and dry-land creatures.

My main complaint about this take on the design is that it looks more "ribbony" than I'd originally pictured. I hope to do a more "accurate" version at some point in the future.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
Thank you! You know, I guess what I meant by it being too "ribbon-like" is that the folding body segments appear narrower in width than I originally intended. Like it would be more a series of articulated panels and flaps all folding and reversing around each other...I just haven't quite been able to get it down on paper the way I intended, but I think this one captures the basic idea.

Yeah, octopus-like!--or like a pteropod or jellyfish. I was inspired both by marine invertebrates and by those deep-sea fish with the enormous, loosely articulated jaws...I was wondering how far you could take that sort of loose articulation (of the fishes) and reversing, "inside out" body movement (of the sea jellies) and still have it look like a viable organism.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
[link]
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sorry about the music on that last one :|
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
That's it, exactly!! Hah, I almost mentioned origami as an analogy for how these work, but I wasn't sure that was a totally valid model. I know those things aren't exactly origami, but close.

They remind me of a little folding box toy I had as a kid, with the goal being to get it into a perfect cube. That thing may have been a big inspiration on the reversing design. Also those little paper things I remember girls making in grade school, what they called "cootie catchers" (though that may be a regional name).

And what do you mean, "Sorry about the music"? That's my favorite song! ;P
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
Bonana phone!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
Much as I love Raffi, I have to confess I prefer Slayer's cover.
:headbang: :nod:
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
really? there is one?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008
Thankfully, no. *relief*
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