Thinking about weird animals that could have come directly from science fiction novels; most particularly about weird animals that are not well known; or aspects of the animals that are not well known.
Because Archon is coming up and there’s this panel. Which I’m moderating. So of course I’m thinking about it.
I’m reminded of this post from earlier this year: Brain architecture is weird. At the time it struck me as amazing, how very alien the design of the octopus brain is, and even the bird’s brain is hardly more similar to the mammalian brain that we all naturally think of as “normal.” But the octopus, yeah, that is weird. Everything about those animals is weird. You know, that would make a good SF story. There’s the sub-genre of stories where we find out that humans were seeded onto the Earth, and of course that makes zero sense unless you also seeded all the other primates and sprinkled hominid fossils hither and yon, among other rational objections.
But it would kinda fun to say, forget humans, octopuses were seeded into the oceans of Earth. Primates are just randomly occurring, boring mammals, but octopuses were established here to … something. Insert plot.
There are many animals that display weird but inherently trivial traits, like the awful tusk design of the babirusa, but then there are those arctic fish with antifreeze proteins in their blood and wow, that is very science-fictiony.
I think we’ll have plenty for the panel, but if you’ve got a favorite science-fictiony animal, please toss it in the comments. I’m sure I’ve failed to think of dozens of really great oddballs of the Animal Kingdom.