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Daily Science Fiction :: Dichotomous key to "animals" discovered by the first settlers on Quintana: Kepler-186F by Melanie Rees
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Dichotomous key to "animals" discovered by the first settlers on Quintana: Kepler-186F

1.
a.) Creature does not walk on two legs .......... go to 2
b.) Creature walks on two legs .................. go to 6
2.
a.)Creature has eyes .......... go to 3
b.)Creature has no eyes .................. Proculco caeci
3.
a.)Eyes are red ....... Diabolous rufus
b.)Eyes are not red .......... go to 4
4.
a.) Reproduces nasally with elongated appendageC...................Cerebrum probus
b.) Reproduction strategy unknownE ......go to 5
5.
a.) Creature has short (less than three-inch) retractable claws ......... Tripedaneus agilis
b.) Creature has retractable claws greater than three inches long........... Tripedaneus agilis subsp. holyhelpus
6.
a.) Creature has thick leathery skin and bones fused with naturally occurring metal ................... Superior robustus
b.) Thin skin and arteries that are easily torn by three-inch claws ....... Homo sapiens
Species descriptions
Proculco caeci: A two-ton blind quadruped with bony armored plates covering its body. Sensing vibrations from up to twenty kilometers away, it kills its prey by charging at high speeds. A
Diabolous rufus: Quadrupedal animal. Looking into Diabolous's eyes leaves the victim in a coma-like state allowing it to consume its preyB.Previously an elusive species. Now dominates all landmasses on Quintana.
Cerebrum probus: Quadrupedal animal that is easily aroused.
Tripedaneus agilis: Tripedal animal that swings on treeD.branches with two arms and kills small prey with retractable claw on its third leg.
Tripedaneus agilis subsp. holyhelpus: Tripedal animal that swings on treeD branches with two arms and kills large prey with 3 inch long retractable claw on its third leg.
Superior robustus: Bipedal animal that is humanoid in form. Uses rudimentary tools such as rocks, which it hurls at any animals that stray too close to knock them out before consuming its prey live.
Homo sapiens: Naturalized species now threatened with extinction on all parts of Quintana.
A Rest in peace Settlers' Camp 23.
B This can make identification difficult. Current sampling method involves closing eyes, taking a photograph, and then sprinting in the opposite direction.
C Rest in peace Doctor Kym Raul.
D "Tree" identification still eludes xenobiologists. Has the appearance of a tree, but tendril-like roots move up through soil to surface, and wrap around prey where they exude a digestive flesh-eating enzyme. It is believed this is how they obtain nutrients.
E Xenobiologists have been too scared to investigate further after the "Raul" incident.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

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