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December 6, 2016, 9:59 am

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The whales of the Epoan skies…

Full Description
Long and sleek cetaceans, aerophins resemble Terran dolphins. They have evolved much differently than dolphins, however, and have uniquely adapted to the Epoan environment. Aerophins are amphibious mammals, living in both the water and the sky. The aerophin’s green-gray skin is marked by numerous skin flaps along the torso, flaps which can fold up and act as small sails to catch the wind and maneuver. The modified fins of a aerophin can be more than a meter long and widen near the middle, acting as wings to catch the thermal currents of the sky. The tail is muscular and the fluke parallel to the body, able to get strong thrusts in both the water and the sky. Their beaks are long and narrow, perfect for picking fish from their schools and birds from their flocks. The color of the aerophin’s skin comes from a biologically occurring form of pantarbe, allowing them to float surprisingly well for a creature of its size.

Aerophins travel in pods of anywhere from three to twenty individuals. They are quite intelligent and are skilled hunters, able to herd flocks of birds like schools of fish for easier prey. Vocalization is much like that of Terran dolphins, with a variety of clicks, squeaks, and chirps, many beyond the auditory range of humans. They have very sensitive hearing both above and below the waves, giving them the ability to hear for prey and predators. While perhaps not as agile in the sky as creatures that dwell exclusively there, many consider them to be twice as graceful as they float and "swim" in the air.

Additional information
A few alchemists can distill a pure form of pantarbe from aerophin skin, thus some pods are hunted to near extinction by poachers. Quite intelligent, they have been known to fight off attacking wyvrens from vagrant cloud hoppers and wayward travellers. A few frontiersman on some of the more far flung islands of Epoa claim to have such rapport with the creatures that they’ve tamed and saddled aerophins. The legitimacy of these claims are somewhat dubious, but stranger things have happened.

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Comments ( 15 )
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January 12, 2008, 10:58
Updated: A bit more polished and expanded.
Voted Cheka Man
January 12, 2008, 12:47
Are they dangerous?
January 13, 2008, 10:49
Not terribly. Usually if provoked, they'll run off, and they're not very territorial either. But if one were to rile an aerophin up enough, it could fight back and cause some nasty bites.
Voted valadaar
January 12, 2008, 15:00
Neat! This new world is going to be cool!
Voted Ancient Gamer
January 20, 2008, 11:20
I like these aerodolphins. Epoa is shaping up nicely, Scras.
April 10, 2009, 2:47
I am not voting here, just an edit

"They are several evolutions beyond dolphins"

You can't say "evolutions" it implies a unit, and I don't think it is a word. Try saying derived. The use of the word "beyond" works if you have a defined starting point, an intermediate and a end point.
April 10, 2009, 12:46
He most certainly can. He's using evolutions in the sense of biological modifications: they're several evolutionary steps beyond dolphins.
April 10, 2009, 20:04
I knew what he meant, and that is exactly why I think he can't use the term "evolutions". My understanding is that evolution is on going process, and that during this process organisims derive novel traits that will eventually seperate them for their genetic ancestor or even their contemparies. You can't say a tree is several growths taller than another tree.
April 10, 2009, 22:04
Numerous uses of the word Evolutions can be found on the web, though pointedly, no dictionary that I can find defines it separately from evolution.

However, since evolution can be used as a noun:
2 a change in the genetic composition of a population of organisms over time.

More then one such change could be considered Evolutions, though obviously this is up for debate.
April 13, 2009, 13:29
I suppose you could say evolutions if you are talking about several discrete paths. For example "Anaylsis of the gene pool of spotted moths, nonmigratory pigeons, and the common mouse species Mus musculus indicate that both moths and pigeons have been under intense selective pressure since at least 1700. The Mouse population however has maintained a degree of diversity predicted by our null hypothesis. The evolutions of the moth and pigeon population....."

Here you can use plural because you are discussing two evolutions, the evolution of the moth and the evolution of the pigeon. Above he is wants to state that his space dolphin shares a common ancestor with the earth dolphin. He a discussing a macro evolution relationship, the use of the terms "evolutions" and "beyond" should not be applied.
If the creature evolved from a dolphin population or reached a dolphin like state via convergent evolution then you are simply discussing the evolution of that population. They did not go through multiple evolutions. Beyond is unfortunate because it suggest a linear relationship, when really it is a branching relationship between related species. Beyond isn't wrong, I just think it should be used carefully.

Writers of speculative fiction deeply effect the general publics understanding of science. When discussing a topic such evolution is it not important that one deals carefully with academic question and considerations?
December 6, 2016, 10:00
In retrospect, I agree with Axle. "Several evolutions" sounds a bit silly. I've edited it out. But the discussion was great!
Voted RGTraynor
April 17, 2011, 7:33

Maybe it's the Dr Who fan in me, but I find the notion of aerial dolphins rather neat.

February 4, 2014, 21:29
I just glanced over this comment and read the last line as "dolphin meat." Made me think what might happen if you ate a lot of aerophin. Would the consumed pantarbe build up in one's system, perhaps even to the point where they too can fly or at least float?
Voted Mourngrymn
April 17, 2011, 12:04

Why do I have images of how this would fit right into a Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy story. Very Douglas Adams.

Voted Murometz
March 13, 2014, 18:01
like RGTraynor, I find the notion (and visual!) of aerial dolphins irresistible.


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