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Website: Spec World
Spec World, or The Speculative Dinosaur Project, is a massive, massive world-building work in progress. It's basically an attempt to imagine how the world would be if the K/Pg Extinction Event hadn't happened 65 million years ago as seen from the perspective of dimension-hopping explorers and scientists from our world ("Home-Earth").

The best thing you can do is just start reading.note 

Specworld was almost nearly finished, but then, new palaeontological discoveries (especially this little feller) changed a lot of what we know about dinosaurs. The project has stalled out since 2008, and there are many lost illustrations and broken links. But the imagination, wonderful creature designs, good biology (hallelujah!) and offbeat humor more than make up for it.

The project isn't entirely dead, as the Yahoo club below shows. Also, some DA pictures from the staff like this suggest that, once the main site is updated, things will get very interesting... (A summary including some of the new ideas can be found here.)


Tropes Used:

  • Adorable Fluffy Heterodontosaur, Destroyer of Worlds: No work of paleofiction better demonstrates just how game-changing the discovery of Tianyulong was.
    Dave Marjanović: "Mostly, our reaction to Tianyulong was just 'oh, shit' and nothing further."
  • Artistic License - Biology: In the earlier stages of the project it was full of this; there are still quite a few that are being fixed.
  • Big Badass Bird of Prey: Avisaurids and the rocs. Dromaeosaurids and oviraptorosaurs could arguably count, too, though they're not avialians.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Species are named after Earth animals, fictional Earth animals, fictional characters...
  • Dead Fic: Not entirely though; the Yahoo club is still functional. Its activity fluctuates, however, and at one point it was uncertain if it was still active, but it returned with a vengeance.
    • As of the current time, the site itself has been moved. to here
  • Death World: Many of Spec's lifeforms are overly dangerous (ex. there's a species of raptor that likes cutting people's heads off for no reason and penguin-piranhas that are so aggressive they'll even attack the moon) and a lot of animals and plants that want to either kill you or ruin your day.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: They're the main focus of the site, with other, less spectacular groups like mammals being ignored in their favour.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: You got your pretty normal lorises, galagos, and lemurs; and... you got your pokemuses, chillas, and tree foxes.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Penguins of DEATH!!!, ninja penguins, and just plain old penguins.
  • Everything's Better with Platypi: There are some platypi and platypus cousins, including big ones that are a danger to human feet and gigantic whale-like animals.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Salmonites.note  Also the balaenateuths.
  • Excuse Plot: The bit about scientists crossing from Home-Earth to Specworld. How they did it isn't important, just that they got there.
  • Expy: Some animals are analogues of Real Life modern ones.
    • Semi-justified that similar niches would probably be held by animals similar in appearance (i.e. the ciraf is an African high-browser like the giraffe - but the coloration is very unoriginal and it has a close relative that is very similar to the okapi).
  • Feathered Fiend: Any of the predatory or aggressive coelurosaurs, particularly the penguins of death!!!, the cityfinches and the nerds-of-paradise (also known as the chunderbird).
  • Frogs and Toads: They don't appear to have come very far with their amphibians, but they do have a cookie-cutter tadpole that chomps on the behinds of wading dinosaurs.
  • Left Hanging: There are still several incomplete pages, incomplete descriptions and illustrations, and dead links that haven't been fixed.
  • Loads And Loads Of Hypothetical Creatures
  • Name of Cain: A noasaurid, and fastest predator of Madagascar. It kills and eviscerates its prey entirely with its hands. On an unrelated note it has a symbolic relationship with a spider that protects it from parasites.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Lots, examples include the imperial sabre-tyrant, the white ninja, the horned molok, the giant psycho-killer penguin of DEATH!!!, the king kronoshark, and the cockatrice. Among plants there's the Tree of Pain (ironically, animals don't actually feel pain when stung by this tree, they die before that).
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Crocodilians are the top predators of Madagascar and parallel species grow on average larger than on our world, while there are quite a few other types such as...
    • The cuttercrocs; basically identical to "normal" crocodilans except that they have slicing teeth that leave much bloodier wounds.
    • The crunchercrocs: hyenas if they were crocodilans, the carcass of a full-grown titanosaur will not exist after 3 days when a group of crunchcrocs find it.
    • The croctiger and the croclion, huge, saber-toothed top predators of Madagascar.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot and Rule of Cool: The Spec ecosystem seems to run on these tropes. The thing is, it's still believable.
  • Science Marches On: Due to the main site not being updated since late 2008. That said, the authors are well-verse in life in the late Cretaceous, so nearly all of the concepts are still quite plausible and accurate.
    • The site refers to a branch of the Therizinosauria as the Ceratonychidae. However, the name Ceratonykus is now used for a Real Life member of the Alvarezsauridae.note 
      • More Hilarious in Hindsight are the hesperonychid dromaeosaurids. There's now a real dromaeosaurid named Hesperonychus, though fortunately it appears that none of the Spec hesperonychids actually use that as a genus name. Ironically, Hesperonychus was a small relative of Microraptor, while the hesperonychids (with one exception, the small and slender djanada) are some of the largest and most robust of the Spec dromaeosaurids.
    • The magnoraptor, a giant dromaeosaurid, was intended to be a descendant of what was once thought to be a real life giant dromaeosaurid, Megaraptor, which is now known to have been a carnosaur.
    • Rahonavis was thought to have been a relative of Archeaopteryx and as thus the descendant group the rahonavids were classed as such. Turns out Rahonavis is a type of unenlagiinae dromaeosaurid. Oops. Though considering new finds (namely, a recent paper that placed Rahonavis closer to true birds than to other deinonychosaurs), this may not be far off.
    • It turns out the digestive systems of monotremes are too simple to digest meat (or plants) without major changes. Guess what most of all Spec's platypuses eat?
    • It turns out that Cretaceous mosasaurs already had tail flukes (and ventured into freshwater).
    • Very few of Spec's maniraptorans have the fully formed wings that real maniraptorans would have had.
    • The most crushing one to this project is probably the discovery that ornithischians could have plumage. Hehehehe... Oh Crap.
    • Along with the discovery crocodilians may have been out-competing theropods at least regionally in the Maastrichtian. At any rate, large, carnivorous crocodyllians were very common in the Cretaceous, and Spec originally had too few of those (though ultimately averted in the Yahoo group, where several terrestrial crocodyllian concepts do exist).
  • Shown Their Work: And how!
  • Shout-Out: There are many pop culture references intermingled in the creature names and descriptions, most obviously the Alfred Hitchcock's Thebirds.
  • Speculative Documentary: Err, website.
  • Take That: Not on the main website, but in the spinoff The Saga of the Caripoo, Brian Choo mentions that he'd "rather watch Highlander II than meet another caripoo."
    • This is also the reason why you won't find anything even remotely similar to a sapient creature on Spec; it's a silent protest against Dinosauroids (to the point where the group of dinosaurs to whom Dale Russel's absurdly humanlike Dinosauroid belonged is almost extinct!)
  • Threatening Shark: The king kronoshark.
  • Toothy Bird: Certainly, as several varieties of toothed birds have survived on Spec.
  • Turtle Power: Including a lineage of turtles with breathing organs growing out of their butts and some colossal club-tailed ones.
  • Zerg Rush: Cityfinches do this.


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SPARK Of TyrannyScience Fiction Web OriginalsSpes Phthisica

alternative title(s): Spec World
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