Snaiad is a planet colonized by Humans circa 2442.
|Primary Terrain||Forests, Jungles, Deserts, Scrublands, Sproglands, Oceans, Tundra|
|Notable Species||Polydactyls, Turtiformes, Picozoans, Haplobrachids, Spinostomes, Titaniformes, Monoanticherans, Tromobrachids, Jetocetes, Cardiocetes, Cardiocetoids, Magnopsids, Lophophids, Sprogophidians, Heterostomes, Allotauriformes, Fututoriformes, Kahydroniformes, Pescidonts, Blumbomeniformes, Arthrognathans, Elastozoans, Trilateralans, Terrabivalves, green plants, red plants, etc...|
The world is covered by forests, vast oceans and unique habitats like sproglands and pinnacle ranges; and inhabited by innumerable species of native lifeforms. Snaiad animals are notable for having two heads. The first head contains the eyes and the reproductive organs (protected by a beak-like structure which is often incorrectly assumed to be the mouth), while the second (which looks like a tentacle protruding from the chest) contains the true mouth.
Detailed information about Snaiad's position in the galaxy, planetary system, star, possible moons, orbit, gravitational and magnetic field is yet to be published. We do known a lot, however, about the planet's ecology, history and native inhabitants.
Snaiad has a surface area slightly larger than Earth's. It appears to have at least 60% of its surface (probably more) covered by oceans, but these are still largely unexplored. Eight continents are found on the planet, plus some large islands and archipelagos like Mapag, Endland and Aar. One particular landmass, called Thalassia, is only slightly smaller than the two small continents of Aucaterra and Midland. The remaining five continents are much larger: Notor and Glacia, united by a thin bridge of land, are located in the northern hemisphere. Glacia, in fact, is mainly covered by tundra and glaciers. Two large tropical continents, Verterna and Isterna, are also united by a land bridge. Finally, Oroland is the India of Snaiad. It originated as an isolated land, but collided with Isterna and became a subcontinent.
Flora and ecosystemsEdit
There are two main kinds of floral organisms on Snaiad: green plants and red plants (the last of which are said to be more closely related to Snaiad's fauna than to the green plants, perhaps like Earth's fungi). Tree equivalents are found in the green plant kingdom. Large forests and deep jungles cover most of Snaiad's land surface. Snaiad's tundra is inhabited by small red plants, well adapted to the cold environment. Deserts are also found on the planet, though the only large one is the Ankyranian Desert, located in the southeast of Isterna. The planet's scrublands come in two kinds: mixed scrublands, where green and red plants grow; and erythrophyte scrublands, dominated by grass-like red plants. Many coastal areas are characterized by water-retaining flora, forming a biome known as neomediterranean maquis.
Totally unique ecosystems are also found on Snaiad. Sproglands, for instance, are areas where the vegetation is dominated by sprog, a spongy organism that covers the floor like a blanket. Being full of holes, sprog provides food and shelter for hundreds of species of small creatures. Grassy sproglands, where grass-like plants grow above the sprog, are found only in Vesterna.
Last, but not least, we have the pinnacle ranges; vast plains dotted with reef-like structures containing different symbiotic plant species.
Snaiad is almost twice as old as Earth. The planet was formed around eight billions of years ago, and soon microscopic life started to evolve. The first multi-cellular organisms appeared only five billion years ago, however. This was followed by several waves of complex life and mass extinctions. These ancient Snaiad organisms are very poorly known, but 3.2 billion years old metallic objects, apparently artificial in nature, reveal that sapience and civilization might have evolved on Snaiad a long time ago, and later disappeared. Today, there is no known native sapient race on the planet.
1.75 billion years ago, an outsized mass extinction took place, setting life "back to pond-scum level". After that, the ancestors of modern groups of fauna and flora appear and take over; but "vertebrates" wouldn't colonize land until 975 million years ago. Meanwhile, land was ruled by Arthrognathans, Erythrophytozoans (red plant-animals; presumably, faunal relatives of the red plants), Mullojiforms (described as mollusk-like), and other groups.
The planet Snaiad was discovered by Humans circa 2260, and colonized about 185 years later. The Snaiadi Human population is about 15 million nowadays.
Snaiad's "vertebrates" are the dominant faunal group on the planet, but they also share their world with many invertebrate lineages, including Arthrognathans, Elastozoans, Trilateralans and Terrabivalves. Trilateralans, also called "trikes", are described as looking like a cross between a starfish and a spider. They are tiny organisms, preyed upon by many small "vertebrates"; but huge, flying Trilateralans are known to have existed in the past. Virtually nothing is known about the other groups, but it's certain that they play important roles in the ecology of the planet.
As stated above, all Snaiad "vertebrates" have two heads. The first head contains the eyes and other sense organs; and a beak-like structure which appears to be a mouth, but actually houses the reproductive organs. The second head is much simpler. It often looks like a tentacle projecting from the creature's chest, and contains the real mouth. While the false jaws of the first head are often used for biting, and even chewing, their main function is to protect the reproductive organs, and the food is always swallowed by the second head. In some advanced herbivores, the second head has evolved into a highly complex structure.
The first Snaiad "vertebrates" were small, sea cucumber-like, burrowing creatures that spent most of their time buried in the sea floor. The first head evolved as a long appendage containing the reproductive organs. Still hidden in the sand, the primitive vertebrate extended its first head out of the burrow, and searched for a partner to mate. In order to facilitate that, eyes and heat receptors soon appeared on the head. This way, the creatures were able to mate, while their bodies were still safely hidden from predators. The false jaws evolved to protect the reproductive organs. The offspring, eggs or larvae (in the case of Picozoans) develop inside the creature's "neck" and are later expelled by the first head's "mouth".
The eyes of Snaiad "vertebrates" are mostly small, and have no liquid inside. They have silicate lenses that are shed annually. Around the eyes, there are several heat receptors. "Vertebrates" also have scent receptors on the second head, and hearing organs under the armpits (like Earth's crickets). The brain is located in the chest cavity. Their brain is actually not a single organ, but two, working together. One is an electric-impulses-based brain, similar to our own, while the other is a tangle of microscopic fluid-filled tubules, and works through chemical reactions, rather than electrical impulses. Snaiad "vertebrates" breathe oxygen, just like Earth animals. Their nostrils are located under the armpits, close to the hearing organs, though in some lineages these nostrils have migrated to the side of the body. Inside the nostrils are located the creatures' vocal chords, allowing Snaiad "vertebrates" to produce sounds in stereo, vocalizing with the two nostrils at the same time.
Snaiad "vertebrates" have an internal skeleton made of a hard hydrocarbon composite similar to wood, making the bones black or brown colored, rather than white. Snaiad "vertebrates" have strong hydraulic muscles that evolved from a water vascular system in their sea cucumber-like ancient ancestors. These muscles have fluid inside and work by pushing the bones, rather than pulling. They also have regular fibrous muscles similar to our own, though.
Today, all Snaiad "vertebrates" have four limbs or less (many different lineages have lost their limbs and became snake-like organisms), but six-limbed and eight-limbed groups existed in the past.
Main "vertebrate" groups:
Behind the scenesEdit
Snaiad is an exobiology project created by Turkish artist Nemo Ramjet. Currently it exists in an ever-updating website format, but the artist and author has expressed a great deal of interest in getting the idea published. Snaiad is meant more or less to be a natural history guide to an alien world, talking about the planet's geologic past, the natural history and evolution of its inhabitants, and to a lesser extent the much shorter human occupation of the planet.