Through the end of the Petroleum Era and the Resource Wars a large number of animals went extinct. This ranged from environmental destruction, and human predation, to accidentally discovering that some bioweapons designed to kill humans were able to jump species and kill some animals. The tigers were on the edge, but an 'unclaimed' bioweapon based off of a human respiratory infection jumped species and virtually annihilated the big cats in captivity and in the wild. This was one of the lasting legacies of the Petroleum era, a world largely devoid of non-domesticated fauna. Sure, there were plenty of animals that survived, but when looking at what was lost and what survived, raccoons and other small mammals are a footnote compared to the demise of the big cats, the African megafauna, and the like.
One of the technological children of Dr. Lee Kalvin's BioReactor was the BioCreche. Functionally a BioReactor, the creche is much more complex and while the standard Kalvin type bioreactor functions for humans, it only functions for humans. The BioCreche, with its larger computer database and sequencers is able to function for a wide array of animal life forms. There are limits as most BioCreches are tooled to create/restore a specific group of animal life. Most are broken down into Mammal (M) Reptile (R) Avian (B) and Fish (I) types, and are distributed accordingly.
The Creche itself is a standing fluid jar with plenty of pipes, hoses, wires and other widgets and gadgets attached to it to monitor and control the flow of nutrients, and chemicals through the reactor. Most human type reactors are vertical tubes, and are transparent. There is a certain voyeuristic thrill from watching humans being grown in the tubes. The animal reactors are appropriately scaled for the animals they are geared to produce (Fish and avian reactors tend to be small, while large mammal reactors can be very large). The tubes are also light proof, and the animals of the first generation are not imprinted with memory engrams. There is nothing to copy from when an extinct species is being brought back to life.
The Creche Facility
Most creches are operated out of a facility, much like a ranger station, where the animals are gestated and decanted from the tanks and moved to a Zoo like enclosure. The center of the facility is a command information center where the central computer and bioreactors are housed. Outside of this is the general quarters and supply bunkers for the staff that works the facility. The zoo keeps first through third generation animals in enclosures to make sure the resultant species are genetically stable and viable. Outside of the immediate zoo enclosure, there is a much larger 'preserve' where the animals are given limited reintroduction, before being released into the true wilderness.
These facilities are remote, and far removed from the arcologies and cities of the Cosmic era.
The Burned Land and Wastelands
Large tracts of wilderness have been reduced to wastelands from the years and violence of the Resource wars. Biological, chemical and some nuclear weapons were used in the fighting, leaving large swaths of land uninhabitable. With the rise of the arcos and the themes of centralization and collectivism, there are large amounts of land, wasteland and otherwise that are not being exploited as they were in the Petroleum Era. Industrialized fertilizer based agriculture has faded in favor of aquaculture, hydroponics, green towers, and genetically engineered food sources. Across the globe, burned swaths of land are being reclaimed by steppe grasses, forests, and other biological creep. The Creches are designed to encourage and accelerate this growth, and in addition to producing and growing new groups of animals, the facilities monitor and encourage the growth of biomass.
At some point in the early years of the Second Dark age, there was a stunning revelation that rocked the civilized world, what remained of it. The level of atmospheric free oxygen had started to decrease. The damage done to the biosphere was such that the existent biomass was no longer producing waste oxygen faster than it was being consumed by humans and other things that pulled the vital gas out of the air. The Arcologies were spurred into faster growth by this terrible revelation and as such, many of them became self contained structures, producing their own oxygen supplies, filtering ambient air and otherwise acting like stationary space ships. The BioCreche projects were started at roughly the same time in the Atlantic Federation and the Pacific Rim Coalition, and there was a good deal of cooperation between the two NEGs. The allies of these two nascent powers would quickly get in on the action, as the planetary biosphere collapsing would be bad for everyone
The Oxygen Depletion Issue (ODI) was one of the core events that pulled together the signators of the first Tycho Convention, as their initial organizing was to face to slow death of the planet. The later regulations and agreements on superhuman engineering, AI, exotic and illegal weapons, and cloning were all after the fact issues compared to the fate of the homeworld of humanity.
As large numbers of animal species had been rendered extinct, there was a social push to return these lost animals to life. Genetical material was taken from gene vaults, repositories and in some cases, trophies taken from the last members of the animals killed. These samples were given the same genetic screenings as humans, and were cleansed from traces of cancer and other genetic diseases. The first animals were grown and raised in the BioCreche zoo facilities, and served as surrogates to the next generations, and expanded outwards until there was a viable mental pattern that could be copied or compiled by a supercomputer and used to imprint clones.
Clone vs. Ghola/Genimal
A clone is a copy of an existing creature or individual, whereas a ghola or genimal is a new product from fragmentary DNA. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are Genimals, where if they continue to breed in the wild, copies of those offspring would be clones, as their DNA has undergone at least minor genetic drift.
Many useful animal species were reintroduced into the wild, and these animals, aside from having hereditary diseases removed are no different than their pre-extinction brethren.
Some animal species were enhanced, such as the cheetah, which had its hereditary very poor fertility issues treated, bringing their fertility in the wild up to par with standard species rates of reproduction. This has had the issue of seeing cheetahs becoming a nuisance species in parts of Africa. Some other enhanced species have had certain faults and issues removed, again for species that are delicate and hard to breed, such as okapi and pandas. This has seen previously rare species become more common, and seen an increase in the trade of their goods. It is almost impossible to tell a clone panda pelt from a reintroduced wild panda pelt without a gene scanner.
Some animal species are modified with the intent of being used for another purpose, such as the miniaturization of some large fauna like tigers for keeping as home based pets without reaching hundreds of pounds in weight. Others are genetically engineered for other commercial purposes, again with tigers being bred in colors other than orange for things as mundane as being one off sports mascots to the more inhumane being bred to give up red, green, and gold coats for the fur trade. Conspicuous consumption demands only the best materials, never synthetics.
There are an array of modifications that are available to gene engineers and a number of these are illegal. The most common illegal modifications involved drastic changes to the animal in terms of intelligence or increased danger. Somewhere there is a labo looking at making winged bears with poison glands, or engineering hyper-intelligent sharks, Their reasons are varied, but against the law. Species that went extinct for natural reasons are also on the list, but this is a soft offense so long as the genimals engineered remain in scientific study or in a zoo setting. There are precious few reasons to reintroduce megafauna predators, and other highly dangerous, exotic, or potentially invasive species.
The Dinosaurs from Jurassic Park appear again, as they would be considered illegal genimals in the Cosmic Era. The potential to reintroduce a predator on the scale of the raptors is a very bad idea, and even attempts to breed dinosaurs for hunting purposes has been strictly banned and enforced. There are certain genetic codes that CogNet security systems sniff for that indicate the presence of dino DNA and the authorities are promptly deployed. There are dinosaurs being secretly bred in the Cosmic Era, but their numbers are very small, and the uses very limited.
Hadrosaur leather makes for some of the most decadent and durable designer shoes in the world.
The BioCreches rely on corporate and megacorp financial support, and as such many of the creatures they engineer and reverse engineer back into existence become the intellectual property of the companies that financed the facilities and the research. Thus there a half a dozen or more variations of species that bear patents, but are functionally the same animal. The most popular animal for this treatment is the Tiger, which has genetic patents on multiple continents, across multiple governments and corporations.
Feed animals and livestock are likewise copyrighted and patented, just as human Codex series clones are.
You are not your own personal property. Chances are some section of your DNA is patented and copyrighted by a government or megacorporation.
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? Responses (2)
Again, great background detail, but it is a bit - empty - of drama. The immense issue of oxygen depetion is touched upon, but otherwise this is almost too positive a sub for the general grimness of the Cosmic Era.
I was largely inspired by the ghola of the Dune universe, and the tigers from Babylon A.D. They're not real, they are clones.
i'm open to suggestions, because I do agree, this is very much lacking in the drama department, and it is rather lacking in grimness. The only point I can offer is that the pursuit of the green movement and bioecology has a much greater impact in the Cosmic Era than today. But in the CE there isn't a question of the impact of human climate and environment destruction because there is deforestation, wasteland zones, and areas that are afflicted by storm rifts that release toxic fumes, mutants, and invasive species.