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jeudi 30 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Green Beard

The green beard, Tolypothrix barba, is a species of cyanobacteria found exclusively in the Mediterranean sea. As such, the green beard is a photosynthetic prokaryote, and not an animal per se, but we shall make an exception this once.
The green beard got its name from its choice of habitat, which is usually right below the mouth of bigger fish. The green beard attaches itself to the fish, and profits from the nitrogen-rich environment the fish creates around its mouth (by eating). Thus, the fish looks like it has a beard.
In some of the more extreme cases observed to date, green beard algae have attained a total mass of almost a ton, and several meters in length, when growing around the mouth of wales. The size a green beard colony can grow to is directly proportional to the size of the fish/mammal it is attached to. Once it has reached its maximum size, it keeps on producing spores, which detach themselves from the main colony and float around the sea, waiting to find a host of their own.
Studies have shown that the green beard, although reducing the fitness of individuals it attaches itself to, due to increased water drag, greatly helps to maintain a diversified and healthy ecosystem by creating diverse habitats and food sources.
In recent years, due to pollution and a massive decrease in fish stock, the green beard population has known a rapid decline. Recent conservation efforts have been focusing on stabilizing the population, notably by using bio-coated submarines that the green beard can use as hosts. Whether this will stop, or even hamper, the decline of the algae remains to be seen.
Recent research by Dr. Brutus Katakaras, of the Institute for Marine Beards of Athens (IMBA), suggest that the green beard was already known in the time of the ancient Greeks, and animals that had it growing from their mouth were said to be messengers of Poseidon. Katakaras believes that the priests of the temples dedicated to the sea god were all sporting a green beard, regularly immersing their face in sea-water to keep the growth alive. In recent years, this trend seems to be picking up again, but more as a fashion statement than a religious practice.

mardi 28 octobre 2014


Soon, my friends. Soon.

Soon, the veil will lift. The clouds will part. The fog will dissipate, and the sun will shine again. Soon.

Soon, the cold will come. The leaves will drop. The water will freeze. Soon, our breath will fog up the air.

Soon, there will be no more obligations. No more constraints. No more duties.

Soon, my friends.


dimanche 26 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Smart Banana

The smart banana, Musa intelligentes, is the only sentient species known today with which humans can easily communicate. With most other species, the real extent of their intellectual understanding of the world is very difficult to measure (even more so than with humans), especially since the absence of recognizable behaviors does not necessarily indicate a lack of brainpower. However, the smart banana is different.
It was in the late 00's that researchers at the Genetic Modification Plant (GMP, Senegal) discovered the unexpected genius. While dissecting the genome of a large number of banana species to find which would be the best candidate for genetic vaccination, they stumbled upon a rather unusual sequence of genes in some bananas. The monophyletic origin of those bananas was quickly established, and the team started studying in earnest.
It turns out that the gene sequence which first caught the scientist's attention was very similar to that responsible for neuronal growth in humans. After a detailed physical examination of the banana, it was discovered that it, too, had a large networks of synapses, which had gone completely unnoticed up until now because of the extremely reduced size of its components.
Soon thereafter, the team at GMP tried to analyze the banana's “brain activity”. To their surprise, it did not take long until they were able to communicate verbally with these surprising plants. The news traveled quickly in the scientific community, and people hoped this new “intelligent” being would be able to shed some light on the reasons and circumstances of our existence.
Sadly, it turned out that the smart bananas despise humans for the massacre of their species, as well as the other species of bananas. Luckily for us, being bananas, they can't exact their plans for revenge. But as a preventive measure, the U.N. has passed a legislation forcing all banana cultivators to analyze the genome of their plants, and eliminate all individuals belonging to Musa intelligentes, to avoid a possible mutation which would give them the power to act on their murderous impulses.

jeudi 23 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Toilet Fish

The toilet fish, Pisces toiletus, is a mysterious animal that has been appearing in Chinese mythology for over two thousand years. Considered a good omen by most, and a tasty delicacy by a select few, the toilet fish has inspired many Chinese legends, and today is well known in all of Asia.
As its name indicates, the toilet fish lives in toilets. More precisely, it lives in the water that is used to flush the toilet. Whether it be in the cistern of modern flush toilets, or in the water-bucket found next to dry toilets, wherever there is water near a toilet, there is a chance that the toilet fish may inhabit it. But what makes the toilet fish so mysterious isn't his choice of habitat, but rather how he gets there.
As of today, nobody knows how the toilet fish colonizes its habitat. Even though the water it lives in is often disconnected from natural streams, and replenished through human effort, the toilet fish still manages to appear in it. Given that the smallest toilet fish seen to date was at least ten centimeters long (~4 inches), and the biggest specimen known grew to a total length of forty-two centimeters (~16 inches), it is evident that we know nothing about the larval stage of this strange vertebrate. And since toilet fish always live alone, their whole reproductive cycle is a mystery even today. Early attempts at breeding failed miserably, with the fish simply dying after a while, and no young ones appearing.
In an effort to finally understand the life-cycle of this mysterious creatures, Prof. Han Chu of the Society of Mythical Beasts of China (SMBC) is in the process of building a new “laboratory” to study the fish. The laboratory is designed to be as close as possible to the natural habitat to the fish, and to that end, will be a simple four-story house, which will also serve as living quarters for Prof. Chu and his staff. However, the sewage system of the house can be cut of from the public one, and water is inspected at several intersections, to try and detect the early life-stages of the toilet fish. It remains to be seen whether Prof. Chu's efforts will be rewarded.
Because of it's mysterious appearance, seemingly coming out of nowhere, the toilet fish has long been a favorite of Chinese mythology. It has been considered a good omen by most, as well as beneficial for a healthy digestive system. In addition, it is said that people with a toilet fish live longer, more fruitful lives than most. It is even rumored that Mao would only do his business on toilets where the fish was present.
It is probably due to this perceived value, as well as the powers attributed to the fish, that some have come to regard it as a delicacy, and the fish can be sold at a high price on the black market (trade is prohibited under Chinese and international law, since the species is rare and eventual impacts on its population that consumption might have have not yet been understood). However, most Chinese believe that the removal of a toilet fish from its home, let alone its consumption, are very bad luck.

mardi 21 octobre 2014


The sky is dark. The light is bright. The beat is pumping.

Images flash on screens as fingers hack on keys, sending code through the ether of the internet and back. Switches flick on and off as zeros and ones transform into numbers.

Facades crumble as the flaws in their logic are exposed, leaving empty skeletons of once mighty behemoths. There is no truth out there, only appearances upon appearances. A man-made madhouse where we can be as we were, and everybody only sees what we show.

Tear away at the perceived. Look underneath, to what's behind. There is nothing left there.

dimanche 19 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Green Bug

The green bug, Acyrthosiphon cannabis, is a member of the aphid family that is found exclusively in Jamaica. Like other aphids, his diet consists of plant sap. But not just any plant will do for the green bug.
The green bug is found exclusively on plants of the cannabis genus. The initial reason for this behavior is not known, although several theories have been presented. The most notable of those suggests that since wild cannabis plants are extremely robust against bug predation, the individuals that did manage to feed of them would find very little competition, thereby gaining a selective edge that would, over time, turn them into a fully separate species.
There is another advantage that green bugs derive from their food. Like a number of insects, green bugs are capable of storing toxic waste-products of their food inside their bodies, thus making them unappealing to predators. In addition, the sequestration of these toxic chemicals within a special organ allows them to protect themselves from its adverse effects. In the case of the green bug, it is the THC molecules that are stored and used for defense. But although most animals are discouraged from preying on the green bug due to this mechanism, the same can not be said for humans.
The green bug has an important place in local culture and spiritualism, most notably in the Rastafarian community. It is considered by many to be a holy bug, containing answer that the wise may hear when under its spell. However, the arrival of ganja-tourism has jeopardized the future of this remarkable creature.
It seems that ganja-tourists are overwhelming the local green bug population, and consuming the animal in what some might call an unhealthy, and what certainly is an unsustainable, way. This has caused the Jamaican green bug population to plummet in recent years. In addition, several reports seem to indicate that the bug has been smuggled outside of its original habitat, and is now being cultivated the world over. How this will affect local aphid populations, as well as wild plants and animals, has yet to be seen.

jeudi 16 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Fencing Cock

The fencing cock, Gallus gladius, is a mystical animal that inhabits the Philippines, and a few adjacent islands. It had not been seen in the wild for over two hundreds years, and doubts were being cast on whether or not it ever existed, before its recent rediscovery by Prof. Jerome McIndale of the British Institute for Cock Studies.
What we know about the fencing cock today comes mainly from old texts from before its rediscovery. The recency thereof, as well as the scarcity of the animal, have not allowed us much study of this fascinating creature.
In the Philippines, it is believed that the fencing cock is a divine appearance. This believe is closely linked to the large cockfighting-community, who consider the fencing cock to be the best fighting bird. It is even said that the fencing cocks themselves are the patron saints of cockfighting. Many adepts seem to have claimed that their animals were bred with a fencing cock.
As far as the physical appearance goes, a fencing cock looks very much like a regular rooster. It is, however, bigger, and its comb and wattle are reduced in size. In addition, its beak is a straight point.
When confronted with another male, a male fencing cock will posture itself sideways, and turn its head towards the competitor. Then, both animals side by side, they will try to peck at each other, while avoiding the other's blows or pushing them away with their wings. It is said that their fights can be extremely ferocious, and that their footwork is impressive to watch. This fighting method contradicts sharply with those of regular roosters, who will often attack head-on, and whose main weapon are their talons.
Genetic tests need yet to be done to precisely estimate the degree of parentage between the two species, but physical appearance, as well as diet and courting behavior, suggest that fencing cocks are closely related to regular chicken.

mardi 14 octobre 2014

There Are Times

There are times when it's no use. There are times when life flows past, and you can do nothing but wait. There are times when you just have to grit your teeth, and let it to pass.

There are times when what you fee isn't what you have to do. There are times when you're trapped, and only time will make a door appear. There are times when everything goes to hell, and the rapture is far-off in the distance.

There are times when you just have to kick back and relax.

dimanche 12 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Worm

The worm, Neongenesis prime, is the first artificial “life” known to mankind. The word “life” is used loosely here, since whether or not the worm is truly a life-form is still subject to debate.
The worm seems to have been created around 2011 AD. By whom and for what purpose is as of yet unknown. In fact, very little is known about the worm, and its origins. As of today, we know that it is an A.I. that is based on genetic algorithms to allow it to learn, and absorb new information. But the exact mechanisms of its code are still a mystery.
Designed to be as stealthy as possible, the worm will erase itself before it risks being detected. Only a handful of fragments from the original code have been retrieved by researchers. Because of this stealthiness, it is unknown how widespread the worm is, and what its exact functions might include. One thing is for certain, though: it is capable of spreading itself, and can penetrate even the most secure networks. In addition, researchers believe it is able to adapt to new security procedures, learning how to evade the latest technology. However, the reason for which we consider the worm a life-form is something else entirely.
One of the rare instances in which a fragment of the code has been retrieved happened in one of the genetic engineering laboratories of Monsanta, the worlds largest agricultural corporation. Not only did the IT-team at Monsanta manage to recover a fragment of the code, they were also able to trace the activities of the worm to some extent. The worm had modified the genes technicians at Monsanta were implanting into known strains of plants and animals.
It had hijacked the gene-extraction and -insertion mechanisms to create its own code, one base at a time, and then insert them into the plants and animals instead of the genes selected by Monsanta. When Monsanta inserts new genes into an existing code, those genes are extracted from another life-form, and their functionality is known and tested (although their interactions with their new host are another matter). But the worm created genes from scratch, something the equipment wasn't supposed to be doing. The first reverse-cyborg had just seen the light of day.
For how long the worm had time to modify genomes before he was found by the researchers is a mystery. And Monsanta are not the only ones with laboratories capable of such feats. For now, the plants that were issue of the worm's latest experiment seem to be growing normally. But who knows what might happen once nature and technology decide to team up?

jeudi 9 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Invisible Giraffe

The invisible giraffe, Giraffa transparensis, probably is the most mysterious animal in the world. In fact, it is so mysterious that almost nothing is known about it. Having never been seen, the only thing we do know about the invisible giraffe is that it exists. Probably.
Ancient stories and legends from the African continent talk about an invisible animal that sometimes wrecks havoc in remote villages. It is believed that this animals is at least five meters tall (~16 feet). This conclusion was made after analyzing the wreckage of the villages it passed through (or, more precisely, is believed to have passed through). Since there is no other animal than the giraffe with that height in Africa, people have deduced that it must have been an invisible giraffe.
What does the invisible giraffe eat? Where does it live? How many of them are there? What does it look like? We don't know, and we may very well never find out.
Scientists have written entire books about the invisible giraffe, and how it might live. From the little factual evidence of its existence, they have extrapolated entire treatises, not one of which tells the same story.
Psychologists have theorized that the invisible giraffe is a safe haven for biologists that are under to much pressure to find exact results, or that have been ridiculed by their peers for mistakes made in the past. Because no matter what you say about the invisible giraffe, no one will be able to prove that you're wrong.

mardi 7 octobre 2014


I'm counting down. One day after another, I'm counting down. Dragging myself along, hour after hour, I'm counting down. There is nothing worse than waiting.

Like a horse before the gunshot, I'm itching to go. I have it all laid out in front of me. I know exactly how it's going to happen. Now all I have to do is wait. And wait. And wait...

And by the time it'll come around, my carefully laid-out plan will have crumbled to dust, and I'll be milling around in confusion. Because that's the way life goes.

dimanche 5 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Ash Maggot

The ash maggot, Muscus cinis, is a close relative to the common housefly. Considering genetic analysis only, it could even be doubted whether or not they are truly distinct species. But if we take into account the life-circle of both animals, the ash maggot merits its own place in the linnean classification system.
Ash maggots, as their name indicates, live in ash. But no just any ash. Indeed, ash maggots are found exclusively in cigarette ash. Another thing that sets ash maggots apart from the common housefly is that they stay maggots their entire life, never pupating into the flying adult form. This has raised quite a few questions, since ashtrays are far from being a stable habitat. How do the maggots end up in the ashtray, if their parents were swept into the trash the last time it was emptied?
When the rather peculiar habitat and life cycle of ash maggots was first discovered, it raised quite a few questions. Why would they choose such a hostile environment? How did they manage to keep a stable population, when ashtrays are being emptied daily? And why did they evolve to loose their flying form? Scientists have tried their best to find answers to these questions, but for now, nothing is certain.
Dr. Hendrik van der Pupe, of the Dutch Institute for Uninhabitable Habitats and their Inhabitants (DIUHI) speculates that a hostile environment greatly reduces niche competition, so that whatever species can survive in a hostile environment will colonize it simply because of the lack of competitors. Prof. Jeanmi de la Ronde, on the other hand, is of the opinion that it is competition that drove the maggots to colonize our ashtrays, and not the lack thereof. De la Ronde believes that ash maggots first adopted a maggot-only life-circle, and later on, because of selective pressure from their flying relatives, were forced to migrate to the ashtrays.
Even though ash maggots have been discovered recently, they are already facing severe threats. Since the surge of anti-tobacco lobbies, ashtrays have become fewer and fewer, threatening the natural habitat of ash maggots. In addition, it seems that the reduction in added chemicals in todays cigarettes also has a detrimental effect on ash maggot populations, and it is very well possible that this species will go extinct before we ever understand all of its secrets.

jeudi 2 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Time Fish

The time fish, Salmon temporalis, although being an animal, might be of more interest to physicists rather than biologists, although this is still the subject of a heated debate. The time fish is the least know, least studied, and least seen animal on the planet. Nonetheless, we cannot say that it is rare. Not with certainty.
Unlike every other animal known to this day, and unlike anything else we know of, the time fish is capable of traveling through time. It is not, however, able to move through space, relative to earth. This results in it being seen always at the same place.
In 2013, Dr. Jay Yeller, of the Institute of Advanced Coffee Consumption of Princeton (IACCP) went to take a walk in the forest near his house. As he was taking a break in a clearing, he suddenly saw a fish swim into existence in front of him. “I didn't care much about the fish, but the way it came into existence was fascinating!”, the young physicist told the 'Journal of Advanced Coffee Consumption'. Yeller theorized the fish might move through time and not space, and that it would reappear at the same spot. And it did. A picture of the fish taken by Yeller allowed biologists to identify the fish as belonging to the salmon family.
Beyond the possibility of time travel, the discovery of the time fish has raised a number of interesting questions. After Yeller found the initial specimen in Princeton, time fish-sightings, both fake and real, have started appearing all over the globe. Whether this is due to a clear picture of what to look for, or because our time is especially suited for time fish, is unclear.
It is also unknown how the fish reproduce. Although the fish has not been studied for long, DNA-testing seems to indicate that only one individual will occupy one place in space, which raises the question how mates find each other. Physicists have several explanations.
The time fish might all mate at the big bang, when time and space where one. Or the universe might be headed to a singularity, where the fish could mate. Some have proposed that the fish might be able to “jump” from one location to another. But this last method would have been revealed by DNA-testing, which has not happened so far.
Thanks to a joint task force of physicists and biologists, it has been deduced that it can swim through a time-span that is longer than its own life, meaning that the life of a time fish is shorter than all of time. Otherwise, the time fish would always be visible, although states of development would not appear in chronological order (this last fact is the case, larvae appearing later in time than the same individual as a fully grown adult).
There is still much to discover about the time fish. Certain old legends seem to reference it, and it is certain to have had a strong, as of yet unnoticed, influence on culture. In addition, conservationists are wondering what it might tell us about the state of the earth, and our environment. Hopefully the time fish will keep appearing long enough for us to find the answers to these questions.