Hwo Thumb wrote:As far as phylogeny goes, I'm creating a system where instead of using Genus Species to refer to an animal, they use Genus Species Planet. That way, if animals highly similar to, say, insects evolve on a planet, we can still call them insects without worrying about it. In any case, I think I'll take your advice with the large feet and keep the digitigrade legs. Thanks!
Maybe; the thing to remember is that they wouldn't be Canids if they arose elsewhere. They may LOOK like Canids, but unless they can biomagically interbred with Canids or are actually really Canids from Earth, they aren't Canids. I think it's fine to say they look like Canids! But Animalia Chordata Carnivora Caniformia Canidae Canis erectus they are not.
I think that's an important thing to remember about biology.
And yeah, I think it might be useful if you looked at hominid and Aves bipedal adaptations and applied it to your Canid-like species. All the bipeds I can think of have relatively large feet and pretty sturdy walkin' on structures therein. I found this handy image
; as an anatomy exercise, imagine what sort of changes would need to occur to facilitate/allow bipedalism. That said, it is fiction, so, you know, biomechanical accuracy isn't terribly important.
Hwo Thumb wrote:ince the surface of the planet is almost entirely ice and snow, (A major collision pushed the planet just far enough away from the sun to freeze all the oceans on the surface) life began below the surface, in massive underground cave systems, with thermophilic mosses that make glucose using noxious CO2 vents, the water that is readily available throughout, and the heat from vents from the mantle.
Eh, maybe? I'd go with 'a long term cooling event locked the planet in a prolonged ice age, and life adapted/flourished underground'. Life as WE know it on Earth is/was dependant on photosynthesis to produce oodles of O2. I have a hard time imaging that being in reasonable equilibrium without ongoing photosynthesis. Oxygen as an electron acceptor is, of course, something that can probably (I think does?) happen sans photoactivation. I think? It's been years since micro.
Hwo Thumb wrote:While at first it may seem that evolving in darkness means that all the animals below would lack pigmentation, the mosses release excess energy in the form of light that makes the eye a very useful invention.
A la deep sea GFP? Instead of 'releasing excess energy in the form of light', I'd just go with 'bioluminescent moss'.
Hwo Thumb wrote: Most of the animals are warm blooded chordates - the fluctuations in temperature make life too difficult for ectothermic animals.
Devils advocate counter point; maintaining temperature is expensive, and maybe hibernating animals flourish?
Hwo Thumb wrote:The dominant species is a bipedal, canine-like animal, the Farbian. Farbians have large ears to hear well, and to help regulate body temperature when too close to heat vents. They are short and stocky, with bodies built to resist the high pressures encountered below the surface. However, they are extremely adaptable, and some manage to live on the surface. Surface Farbians are white instead of black, and tend to be taller, with smaller ears. They are still alike enough to crossbreed.
Neat. Echolocation for the dark, or are those light emitting mosses REALLY prolific? How vast are the caves? If there are hot vents, presumably the planet is geologically active; is this an ongoing danger to the subterranian life? If there are surface dwelling organisms, what is the surface like?
Have you read Endymion/Rise of Endymion? An ice planet reminds me a bit of one of the planets they encounter, with... pretty horrible surface/burrowing creatures.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.