Welcome back to Curious Archive.
This video is the second part of a series exploring the incredible speculative evolution
project of Serina, the world of birds.
Serina was created by Dylan Bajda an exceptional artist and worldbuilder.
I have links below where you can follow and support his work.
When we left off, Serina was just beginning to warm at the end of the Cryocene Era.
Now, it is the Thermocene, a hothouse world of rising sea levels and increasing volcanic
activity that has led to some extinctions especially in the warming oceans, where
large animals like the bloons have sadly died out.
In much of the world, however, newly evolved species are enjoying this new climate.
100 million years into this grand experiment, birds have evolved to fill virtually every
niche this moon has to offer.
In a warm forest, a descendent of the Serilopes of the Cryocene ambles through the woods.
Their feathers have become coats of short fuzz, and their beaks have given way to fleshy
Indeed, these creatures look quite a bit like the non-avian dinosaurs of old.
In size and behavior, however, the animals are almost analogous to a deer on earth.
Elsewhere in the warm forests, the Serilopes have become the more specialized, horned omnivores
known as the Ornitheres.
The beaks of these animals are now little more than incisors within an almost mammalian
And in the canopy above, the flightless, monkey-like Mucks swing from the branches: which despite
their size, are actually an offshoot of the massive Cryocene serestriders.
But the larger serestriders are still with us in the Thermocene, just changed since we
last saw them.
Pachyderm Serestriders are huge, armored titans that have traded in their feathers for defensive
Later in the Thermocene, some Serestriders would specialize further, becoming heavily
armored goliaths called cragbacks.
These bony plates help the animals deter large predators, primarily tyrant serins, bone-crushing
hunters who have also endured beyond the Cryocene.
In this age of dinosaur-like megafauna, one might be paying little attention to the achievements
of the mudwickets, which are now called the tribbits, and have become truly terrestrial
Fully independent from the water, the tribbits have spread out into the jungles, with their
tails specializing into a fully-functional foot.
This strange, tripod-like walking strategy isnt perhaps the most efficient but
evolution is blind and the tribbits are making it work.
So stay tuned.
Another easily overlooked group from the later Thermocene are the Bumblets, small, quadrupedal
At only about seven inches in length, these tiny tunnelers dont appear destined for
greatness, but times will soon change.
During the Thermocene, the waters largely empty of megafauna due to Cryocene extinctionsnow
represent a unique opportunity for any species brave enough to venture into the depths.
Gigaducks are a type of serestriders that have become semi-aquatic, adopting the webbed
feet and lake-paddling lifestyle of ducks on earth just on a much larger scale as
gigaducks weight up to a ton.
Since newborn gigaduck have trouble foraging in deep waters, mother gigaducks care for
their chicks during their development: often carrying them on their backs.
In deeper waters, you can find the Porpants: a highly varied classification of aquatic
These sleek swimmers evolved later than the bloons, which is why they werent wiped
out by the cryocene extinctions.
The over-all body-shape and flipper derived fins make some porpins resemble penguins whereas
the larger ones seem similar to a porpoise or dolphin.
In the depths of the oceans, the swordwhales now flourish gigantic descendants of Cryocene
These giants now have larger mouths that allow them to feed upon vast school of plankton
and reach incredible sizes.
While these swordwhales are gentle giants, the Gigadon, a variant of swordwhales, are
These orca-whale sized predators dont just possess sharp jaws, but unusually keen minds
for a fish.
They use these large brains to coordinate pack hunting, aided by the reflective markings
on their skin that they can use incredibly as a form of basic communication.
Less intelligent, and far less elegant looking, we have the Lumphead Grumpus a creature
that might have the best name of anything on Serina.
These slow-moving mollusk-eaters have evolved elongated fin-like structures on their faces
that help them navigate the pitch-black waters where they search for food.
A very unique-looking species indeed.
Leaving the waters, the isolated Kryan islands have also changed quite a bit since our last
The islands themselves are now smaller due to erosion and rising sea-levels, and have
become more tropical in climate.
And the species populating these islands have also become far stranger.
Instead of snufallos and butcher raptors, you can now find creatures like the elefinches
truly unique looking birds with two tentacle-like appendages that can grasp food and other objects.
How did something like this possibly evolve from a bill?
Well, elefinches are descended from burrowers whose bills became fleshier and more flexible
to aid with rooting through the dirt for food.
Over millions of years, these bills became softer and more muscular eventually splitting
into two distinct, trunk-like apparatuses.
And so, one of the strangest creatures on Serina emerged.
The perhaps somewhat less impressive cousins of elefinches on these islands are the snuffles,
small, soft-snouted nocturnal birds with sensitive whiskers that aid in their night-time hunts
One offshoot of this group, the water snuffles, has something even stranger than whiskers
sprouting from the ends of its bill fleshy, finger-like appendages similar in some ways
to the elefinches trunk.
A really unique looking creature.
And in the midst of this incredible peak of biodiversity on the Kryan Islands, the
oceans, and the mainlands the Tribbets, the terrestrial descendants of the mudwicket
fishes, have in the late Thermocene become strange, three-legged organisms called hoppers.
The adaptation of these unusual animals into land-dwellers has been a true achievement,
and theyre now thriving in the warm temperatures.
Still, the hoppers are about the size of a rat.
It would take a mass extinction for them to become a dominant species on Serina.
Which is exactly what happened next.
A rise in global temperatures, volcanic fumes, eruptions, and ocean anoxia creates a runaway
effect that results in the worst mass extinction event in the moons history.
Simply called, Armageddon, the end-Thermocene extinction would obliterate over 99% of all
life on Serina.
But this was not the end
Eventually, Armageddon would pass, and the sun would rise on the Pangeacene.
It is now ten million years after the mass extinction, and the fire and brimstone are
already a distant memory.
In this era, all of Serina's major landmasses have come together to form a single supercontinent.
The climate has somewhat stabilized, and the survivors of Armageddon are beginning
But the inheritors of this new world are quite different from its old monarchs.
If one explores the continental forests of this reborn moon, one would find far stranger
life than ever before.
Lumbering among the tress comes a terrestrial muck, a descendant of their smaller ancestors.
These hook-clawed creatures might look odd, but theyre far from the strangest new forms
of life here.
From the water comes a descendant of the water-snuffle, one of the only species from the Kyran islands
to survive, thanks to its aquatic adaptations.
The finger like tendrils on the ends of their beaks are becoming more pronounced, and may
soon become more complex.
Out of a riverbank erupts a bumblet, the sole survivor out of all the vivas that for millions
of years dominated the planet.
Its fascinating that out of all its grand cousins, thanks to its burrowing lifestyle,
the bumblet is now the sole representative of their evolutionary line. .and at the
edge of the forest, a tribbethere, the much-changed descendent of the mudwickets, stalks for prey.
Theyve become a muscular, dog-like carnivore, with a powerful hind leg that allows them
to make great lunges at prey.
Once at the bottom of Serinas food chain, their time has now come
Over the next several million years, through the early and middle Pangeacene, members of
this group called the Canitheres would prove to be the most successful and prominent large
predators on Serina.
The author writes that the predators' flexible spine, which moves in an up and down arc,
works almost like a spring, collecting energy as the creature contracts its legs and releasing
it as it extends, making for an efficient running gait.
Its hard to imagine that these warm-blooded, furry organisms were once fish brought in
to be the canaries food source.
Another descendent of the mudwickets has taken to the trees, becoming the somewhat alarming
These creatures look like a cross between a monkey, a frog, and a spider, with long
fraktaline digits well suited to climbing and holding onto branches.
Later in the pangeacene, the mudwicket descendants would even conquer the air, with the Tribbats
now taking to the skies alongside the birds the first group of vertebrates on Serina
to independently develop powered flight.
While their wing design isnt quite as efficient as birds in the open sky, Tribbats are the
most common animals of the tropical forests.
But the birds are not down for the count just yet.
Indeed, several million years into the pangeacene, flying birds have managed to reach sizes never
before seen in their history.
These majestic giants are called Archangels, the descendants of small, tree-dwelling ancestors
who outlasted the Thermocene extinction and then rapidly grew to sizes rivaling the largest
Scampering nearby on the open plains are herds of serezells a descendant of the same
avian Armageddon survivor as the archangels, though serezells have become swift-footed
They are marked with bold, contrasting patterns of stripes and spots, which likely serve to
hide their outlines when moving in large groups, just as is the case for Zebra on our own planet.
But the serezells dominance on the plains wont last.
In the later Pangeacene, theyll be edged out by the Circuagodonts a highly specialized
group of tribbetheres that are unrecognizable compared to their fish ancestors.
The Circuagodonts possess specialized teeth that allow them to eat a wider variety of
grasses than Serezells allowing them to usurp the serezells place on the plains.
Indeed, beyond the pagneacene, its not megafauna like the Serezelles or Archangles
that will contribute most to the legacy of birds on Serina.
In time, the humble bumblets will move above ground, becoming a group of foragers called
And in the game of life, theyre a new player to keep an eye on.
Also furthering the legacy of birds, though taking it in an admittedly strange direction,
are the excellently-named mittens.
These descendants of the water-snuffle have developed a mobile set of tentacles on their
snouts which they use to manipulate food items.
The somewhat Cthulhu-looking creatures are quite intelligent, and are starting to use
In time, the mittens branch off into the plains-dwelling bludgebirds, animals that use crude weapons
to aid in hunting.
These creatures are clearly highly intelligent, perhaps even one of the smartest birds ever
to exist on Serina.
However, despite appearances, theyre not actually smarter than say, the crows or great
apes of our world.
Indeed, to find the first true example of sapience on Serina, one must look elsewhere
Watching the bludgebirds from the branches are fork-tailed babbling jays.
Unlike the bludgebird, this small species is not extraordinary for its appearance.
Furthermore, they are a very young species, having been in existence for no more than
Yet babbling jays are the smartest creatures yet to arise on Serina.
Possessing an incredible capacity for tool crafting, language, and critical thinking,
babbering jays even produce art using bark and stone and possess superstitions and a
Sadly, this brief glimmer of brilliance wouldnt last.
In a relative blink of an eye, the harsh desert environment that spurred the development of
their keen intellect would shift, and the babbering jays would prove that no species,
no matter their intelligence, is immune to extinction.
Looking forwards beyond the Pangeacene, it is neither the babbering jays nor the bludgebirds
that will continue to bear the torch of intelligence, but some of the most unexpected species
Part three of this series will cover the rise of true sapience on Serina.
But for now, thats all the time we have.
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