Terrestrial Vertebrates


The Convention of Sapient Species, the second largest known multi-timeline legal union, encompasses over a hundred sapient species from nearly as many parallel Earths. A few of those species are related to humans, their timelines having diverged within the last million years. Others are…more distant.

(from top left to bottom)

Vhngbas evolved from teleost fishes after an extinction far worse than the one that killed the dinosaurs of Human Earth. Their pectoral fins and fused pelvic fins form three pillar-like hooves, while the dorsal and adipose finds curl around the hearing/vocalization openings in their breathing chambers, and a hand derived from the caudal fin manipulates tools. Sapient-rights violations by the largest vhngba social hegemony resulted in sanction and embargo from CSS members, intensifying mutual hostility between Vhngba and Human Earths.

Although they walk on four limbs, pwikpwuks are not tetrapods like humans, but chondrichthyes, related to sharks. Like dondokodondons (below), pwikpwuks’ cartilaginous internal skeletons are not strong enough to support their weight. Their external skeletons of dentine support their limbs and muscles. Denticles also cover the sensitive manipulatory barbels, allowing pwikpwuks to capture food. Relations with Human Earth have been strained since a homeless man was unfortunately devoured by pwikpwuk tourists in San Francisco.

The dondokodondons are ostracoderms, and split from the lineage that produced humans just before the evolution of jaws. Dondokodondons’ ancestors evolved calciferous bone, but grow it as an exoskeleton outside their skin. Their skull-like cephalons are supported by three limbs, homologous to the pectoral fins and tails of their swimming ancestors. They grasp tools and process food with tooth-covered radulae. Diplomatic relations with Human Earth are limited to trade in manufactured goods conducted in a single space station. Rumor is that dondokodondons find humans creepily squishy.

Like tetrapods, tlaatlhhatls evolved from lobe-finned fishes, but conquered the land independently. Their four fins are each split into four pairs of branching digits they use to walk, process food. manipulate artifacts, and signal emotion. The evolution of their third pituitary eye is mysterious. The human United Nations enjoys close relations with the tlaatlhatl planetary government, but efforts to promote tourism have proved largely fruitless. The blame likely falls on human arachnophobia.

Most basal among the craniates of the CSS are the 211-115s, descended from cyclostomes most closely related to Human Earth’s lampreys and hagfish. Jawless, 211-115s process food with their forelimbs (also used to manipulate tools) and a forked, toothed radula. Three pairs of lungs in the upper ribcage draw in air and produce the harmonic triads that compose 211-115 languages. Their integument of hollow keratin cones insulates their bodies and (in the case of the ear-horns) focus sound. Current diplomatic relations between Human and 211-115 Earths are warm.

This one is inspired by @jayrockin, @deinocheirus, and @viergacht. Get well soon, @viergacht!

Done while listening to Dora and Friends (con todos mis amigos).

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