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Terrestray by thomastapir Terrestray by thomastapir
Now available by popular demand...

This guy is a terrestrial descendant of the Plioray ([link]), living on the island chains that emerge from the global sea about 15-25 million years after its ancestor's time. It is a gracile, frugivorous forest dweller, something like a peccary or forest deer (though this depiction makes it look unfortunately dog-like, especially with the protruding "tongue"). I can imagine larger relatives lurking deeper in the woods (or perhaps further in the future)--okapi-sized browsers, perhaps.

As implied by the body design, this creature's physiology has changed drastically from that of its elasmobranch ancestors. It can now breathe molecular oxygen and is fully endothermic. In a sense, the development of the Terrestray lineage has inversely mirrored that of "first-generation" tetrapods, in that the quasi-tetrapodal body design and endothermy emerged first in marine vertebrates before their descendants migrated to land.

Perhaps the most major anatomical change has been the shift from a flattened, horizontally compressed body design to a more laterally compressed, "barrel-chested" morphology better suited to the biomechanics of support and movement on dry land. Still, some vestiges of ray ancestry can be seen in the contemporary Terrestray, such as the cape-like cloak of dorsal tissue derived from the pectoral "wings."

One of this animal's most remarkable evolutionary adaptations, Ben and Ryan, is the development of the radula-like "tongue" from the denticle-covered crushing plates of its ray ancestors. This extensible organ is used to grasp fruit, which is then engulfed by the muscular osculatory apparatus and further crushed by the grinding action of the radula against the internal oral plates.

I can't remember whether the idea for this one followed or preceded the Plioray...I came up with both of them while I was out jogging yesterday. I was astonished that so many people anticipated the questions I was going to answer with the fully terrestrial design. I hope y'all like it...Frankly it didn’t come out exactly the way I'd imagined; as I say, a little too dog-like, and the underlying anatomy is a little too pronounced, giving the impression of some crazy D&D skeleton hound or something. But, close enough for guv'mint work, as we say here at Tapir Enterprises.
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:iconheytomemeimhome:
Heytomemeimhome Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014
Wow I'm having a hard time thinking and this is Terry, of course it is it's just that on land I'm very used to tetrapod's . (Does it have feet?)
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:iconraptor347:
raptor347 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
CERATOPSORAYS!!! are. necessary.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
I suppose life could theoretically continue without them, but would it even be worth it...?
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I still have yet to see a more original future earth idea. wonerful!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2012
Thanks, man...I do hope to revisit this scenario one of these days and churn out a few more variants.
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You are welcome!
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:iconiltassista:
ilTassista Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:-D
great!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011
Thanks! He gives you a painful but affectionate lick with his big raspy tongue. :p
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:icongiggarex:
Giggarex Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2009
How I never commented on this I have no idea.

Simply amazing, you made the texture on the tongue so life like and the skin texture makes me feel as though I would be touching car rubber.
:star::star::star::star::star:

Oh and before you forget what I suggested christmas last year. Remember to see if you can have these things pulling Santa's sleigh with the possiblity of "Santa" being a sapient cousin of this creature.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2009
Thanks, I'm glad you like it! :)
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:iconfractalxavier91:
fractalxavier91 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2009
I saw that someone brought up the problem of "how tetrapod-style limbs might develop from cartilaginous ray struts." What if they developed a process of Endochondral ossification? [link] After all, fish did it...
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2009
I think that criticism was directed more at the biomechanics of limb anatomy (i.e., the transition from flexible but unjointed struts to articulated tetrapod-style limbs) rather than the evolution of cartilage to bone. But it's still a great point...Thanks for the informative link!
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:iconfractalxavier91:
fractalxavier91 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2009
Yeah, that could also be a problem. You're welcome, though.
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:iconel-moppo:
El-Moppo Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2009   Digital Artist
That is an amazing concept and it is pulled off very well too though! :D
I love it!
I was just wondering though, what is the size of this particular animal though? :D :)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2009
Thanks! Hmm, I'm going to say about the size of a full-grown Great Dane. Maybe a little smaller...
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:iconel-moppo:
El-Moppo Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009   Digital Artist
Hmmm. Cool. :)
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:icondsil:
DSil Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009  Student General Artist
Bizarre and fascinating! I almost get a sense of how it would move from this drawing.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009
Thank you! I'm glad you do, that's what I aim for. :)
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:icontentaculus:
tentaculus Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2008
The concept is very elaborate and believable. Those rajimorph-derived neotetrapods is a very refreshing break for the usual concepts of alternative evolution, where people would usually prefer to start somewhere close to the K-T event or Permian Extinction event. I'm still baffled with the cartilage biomechanics though....

Kudos to you Thomas! ;)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2008
I'm glad you like them! A lot of times it's not my intention to start an "alternate timeline"--I just get an idea for some variant of a creature I like, necessitating an explanation for how it got that way and where it might go in the future. Though this freewheeling "aesthetic approach" often leaves me with puzzling biological and evolutionary conundrums--like how tetrapod-style limbs might develop from cartilaginous ray struts. =P

Thanks very much for the faves and great comments! :)
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:iconsexualtyranosaurus:
sexualtyranosaurus Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
the "toungue" of rays is actually a protrusion of the jaw, and is not flexible.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
i think that you could easily remedy the 'dog-likeness' by just changing the neck to a more deerlike hoist. I have to say, my favorite thing about these: the nostrils! They really hold true to the ray design and give the ever-important face a keen very non-amphibious look :)
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
I think you're right! That's one of the reasons I keep trying to do an okapi- or giraffe-like form--but unfortunately they've all ended up looking like your Anemokapi so far...!
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
XD
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
maybe the Anemokapi evolved from the Terrestray? the foreprongs multiplied into what we see in that.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2008
I considered it! I think the Anemokapi design is just a little too divergent from the Tetrays, though...The eyelessness, cephalic tentacles, extra set of legs...It really looks more like an alien to me. That's an interesting thought on the mandibular barbels being evolved from ray horns, though.
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2008
a rhea/kiwi doesn't look much like a salamander either...the amphibian lacks the beak and claws and much of an ear system; the bird doesn't seem to have more than one pair of limbs and has a completely different skin type.

(yeah, sorry; I've been over-thinking this)

about the horns->barbels, you're welcome.
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008
Nah, it didn't really look doglike until you mentioned it.

The mouth - oh dear fhtagn, the mouth! I must agree with the Moai, this is a totally new direction for speculative biology. How far could it go? Can it split into two, or become a long ensnaring "tongue", or become camouflaged to lure prey? Inquisitive minds must know!

Could the mandibular apparati (mentioned above) evolve into larger and more specialized equipment? Perhaps leading to terrestrial beetlerays?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
Oh man, you have no idea...I was picturing everything from tongues with stabbing tines at the tips to--as you suggest--something split to resemble a pair of tongs with grasping and grinding plates at the ends.

Camouflaged to lure prey--that would be pretty cool! Some stationary Snouter-like form sitting there in a grove of trees with its tongue sticking up in the air, looking like a ripe and juicy fruit...

Whoa, terrestrial Beetle Rays...Now there's an idea! I'd have to be careful not to make it look like Barlowe's Pronghead, though.
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2008
Or one with a long "flypaper" tongue that drags in everything that touches it. Scary.

You could take it to extremes, resulting in rays that could grapple with huge beetly extensions of their face...

Frankly, the range of ideas this could spawn is pretty immense.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2008
re: Potential for exploration--I'm starting to realize that, which is funny because this pretty much started as a lark. Just those two original ideas--the Plioray and some form of dry land quadruped. But thanks in no small part to all this stimulating feedback, I'm starting to see many different directions it could go. That's exciting, but also a little daunting! :ohnoes:
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:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2008
It could go lots and lots of ways. Have you considered doing a big evo-sketch cladogram of 'em (like Whalewithlegs does 'em) to bring out possibilities? It might work.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2008
I should, that's a great idea!
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Perhaps It has a series of small bladder-like lungs, one for every slit.
Very nice! I can imagine the slurping and soft grinding sounds that a school of these beasts would make at a stand of fruit trees! I'm betting that the fins around the mouth are used to direct food into the mouth, much like their ancestors, right?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008
Exactly! I was reading up on manta rays when I was working on this one, and the Wikipedia article made the intriguing point that manta "horns" are true appendages approaching a third set of limbs and thus unique in vertebrates. That got me thinking along all kinds of crazy lines, like an evolved ray in which the muscular horns had evolved into another pair of locomotive organs. In this case, I settled for mandibular apparati.

Yay, you're online! I'll write you a note.
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
How about an elephant analogue?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008
I've thought about it, but then I'd have to come up with big feet!
:ohnoes:
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
You don't like big feet?
I was thinking more along the lines of something that uses specialised oral fins to manipulate objects. To bring food to the mouth etc.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
I like big feet, I just can't draw them! :ohnoes: (See above response to ~Rob-Cavanna.)

But whoa, if they became hands or trunks...I don't know why I didn't think of that, that's pretty much the direction they're going anyway--they are more or less tapir-trunk stage already. That could even have possiblities for tool-using sentients (or sentience) further down the road. Good idea!
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:iconcommander-salamander:
commander-salamander Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
It seemed logical.
Feet are hard. I used to draw horses but I would stop at the ankles.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2008
One of these days I'm going to finish the feet and will be shocked to discover that my creatures wear tennis shoes--I know it.
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(1 Reply)
:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008
Not my area of expertise, but this guy and his cousins look damn good to me. Doesn't feel dog-like at all IMO. Looks like a very original life form. Musculature and anatomy are very convincing.

I think I'll need to solicit your help when I start working on my own beasty concept. You've got an excellent sense of what goes on under the skin.

These guys have great appeal. I'm a little saddened that I can't see them at a zoo or on Animal Planet. :/

How do the limbs terminate? Chitinous hooves or something?
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008
Thanks, Rob! I'd be delighted to help you with your creatures, if I can offer any assistance. I've loved what I've seen of your more organic work so far. And a longing to see my creatures at the zoo is about the best compliment I can hope for. :)

Oo, you caught me on the limbs...Letting them drift off into nothingness is what I do when I can't visualize feet. :lol: But yes, I think you're right, the legs would probably terminate in hoof-like keratinaceous cuticles. Part of my problem with coming up with feet is that I often imagine my creatures having unrealistically small contact points with the ground, i.e. something that wouldn't distribute weight sufficiently. That almost works when dealing with aliens, where you can invoke lower gravity and non-terrestrial protein structures (or mechs, for that matter, where you can compensate with advanced materials technology), but for "mundane" terrestrial megafauna, hooves are probably the best compromise.
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:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2008
I imagine the hooves must be somewhat dainty and deer-like, judging by how the limbs are narrowing. Which i suppose implies the sort of terrain they're accustomed to. Nothing too soft or squishy.

I love what's going on in the whole mid-torso area. Very unique. Very reminiscent of aquatic ancestry. This whole branch of critters worked out well. :nod:
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2008
Yeah, I was thinking of the extinct lineage of hoofed predators that led to whales, the mesonychians. There's something cool about the idea of hyena- and dog-like creatures with hoofed toes...Kind of reminds me of the leucrotta (as popularized in D&D).

Whoa, now that I think about it, the leucrotta also lacked teeth--it had bony ridges in the mouth instead. And that's not just in the game, that goes back to the medieval bestiary they took it from. Creepy symmetry there.

Thanks! I have kind of mixed feelings about them so far, but I'm still in the process of exploring different directions. :)
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:iconrob-cavanna:
Rob-Cavanna Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2008
Like Andrewsarchus? No doubt the thought of a hoofed predator with giant wolf-jaws is frickin' awesome.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2008
Exactly! Andrewsarchus had freaky jaws, by the way...You can almost see the whale in there straining to get out.
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome work, Mr. Tapir. You will understand, of course, when I draw a descendant of my sharkopod ([link]) to prey upon it. It's nature's way, and one must let nature run its course.
Seriously, though, awesome concept. I loves me some really out-there alternative evolution concepts, but you already know that. And congratulations, you've managed to come up with an entirely new masticatory apparatus. That's, like, the holy grail of speculative creature design!
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008
Aw man, I LOVE your Sharkopod! I would be honored if it preyed upon one my creatures. Between the Sharkopods and Cursorays, though, things are looking bleak for the herbivorous Tetrays!

I'm glad you like the mouth, I was thinking it has some possibilities...Wow, I found the Holy Grail and didn't even realize it!
:boogie:
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:iconm0ai:
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Well, I think it's the holy grail. You can only see so many sideways or triple-jawed mouths or Darwin IV liquivore barbs before wishing for something new.
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