With infinite diversity come infinite combinations. Quantum physics tells that a numberless amount of parallel universe could exist, each with their own quirk of fate. Life on these worlds was the subject of our Think Tank. Want monsters might we find, waiting the dangerous place of reality?
Patrick – Rotworld
Mushrooms grow on dead things…
The world came so close to nuclear armageddon in the 20th century that it seems impossible that we survived. In an infinite number of universes however the world of humans ended in nuclear conflagration at the end of october 1962. It’s a common misnomer that cockroaches would be the only thing to survive nuclear apocalypse. In fact the life form that survived was the most apt to live on in a dead world… saprophytes.
Before long most of the habitable surface of the planet was covered in mycelium, the fungal expansion choking out any remaining life whists terraforming the atmosphere with horrific poisonous spores.
New fungal lifeforms then began to grow and adapt at an alarming rate. Perhaps filling a particular niche required by ecosystem, or perhaps as a result of radioactive mutation. Fungus has always occupied a strange position between plant and animal and soon there were saprophyte clusters forming distinct sapient colonies, prey saprophytes, predator saprophytes. An entire ecosystem built on fungal assemblies.
Appearing as a slab of fungal matter capable of moving in much the same way as a worm or similar invertebrate, life form px-4021 nicknamed by multiverse researchers as “doom shroom” is a dangerous superpredator. Formed of independent fungal masses grouped into a mycelium “skin” the doomshroom is incredibly hardy, it seeks out dead flesh to consume and is intelligent enough to realise that smothering a living creature yields dead flesh eventually. Some scientists having observed it’s behaviour believe that the doomshroom may be much smarter than the average animal, as each of it’s fungal polyps is it’s own brain, capable of acting in concert. Theoretically the larger the specimen the higher the intellect. As fungal life is capable of growing to enormous sizes it’s possible that px-4021 is capable of growing to genius level intellect.
Jaye – Pig Iron
The supernova that formed the nebula our star system formed out of was that bit more powerful. It created so much more iron, that when Earth’s early life forms started to create shells and teeth, some of them used iron. From this world came the Pig Iron. The closest thing on our world would be a wild boar, but one that was four feet high at the shoulder. This would be a target for hunting, but for the creature’s temper and armour. It’s hide is covered in thick iron plates, making it nearly impervious to anything but the most accurate of attacks. When provoked, it attacks viciously with it’s metallic tusks. Omnivorous and happy to eat carrion, it has adapted well to our world and appears to be breeding. However, with so little iron in our world, the young lack any plating and their tusks are stubs.
Emily – World of wings
Durings the Triassic and Jurassic periods the air composition was incredibly different to the modern world we know now, making early flight easier to develop. However what if the composition did not alter? After the fall of the dinosaurs and making room in the ecosystem for other species to evolve and develop, flight is an asset. Rather than the land becoming the primary environment for non-aquatic life it is the skys. Although birds are known for their intelligence, they tend not to form familiar bonds which help species evolve into anything higher. The intelligent lifeforms on Earth are the noctus, standing no taller than 5 feet and slender built with large torsos (to support large lungs), and covered in a thin coat of fur for warmth in higher skies. The Noctus fly with bat like wings with extra gripping claws for use with tools. However without the dexterity it has taken them longer to develop tools, so in 2015 they are at still a tribal level of society.
Trees in this Earth (due to the atmosphere) have been able to grow to gigantic sizes, the flowers and plant life also developing to larger sizes due to the great amount of flying life.
The ground, since the majority of non-aquatic life is airborn, is home to small rodents and insects.
Chris – IntelligANTs
From an alternate Earth where evolution took a very different track after the death of the dinosaurs emerge the IntelligAnts. On our Earth with a few different types of ants such as warriors and queens making up a colony and with each ant following simple rules, remarkable behaviour can emerge. Thousands of ants acting as one to move a nest, some species even make a raft out of their bodies to escape floods.
IntelligANTs have colonies measuring in the millions with thousands of specialised types of ant. The end result is sentinance just as cells, neurons and bacteria make up a human intelligence. Not one ant, even Queens, are sentient any more than a human’s eye lash is self-aware.
Each IntelligANT colony is a person and colonies communicate with each other, share resources, formations and fight wars. They mate (by merging and splitting colonies), have technology and use tools. Though totally alien in appearance and culture to human they are a race equal to humanity in capability and intelligence.
From a human perspective this intelligence is hard to spot and a colony can easily be dismissed as just a lot of individual ants. Something to be avoided or simply a nuisance. Only when one or more colonies move in a giant seething masses might a human guess there is something unusual happening. Though from the ant’s perspective, intelligence is just as hard to spot in humans and the two species could easily co-exist in the same space without ever recognising the other’s sentience.
Image Credit – Fungus Amongus by Justin Henry (CC BY 2.0)