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Web Original / Snaiad

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Life on another world.

Snaiad is a Speculative Biology project by C. M. 'Nemo Ramjet' Kosemen, who also wrote the science-fiction novel All Tomorrows and was one of the contributors to All Yesterdays. The premise is simple: during the 25th Century, the nations of Israel, Greece, and Turkey unite to form a colony on an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. The planet's dominant forms of "animal" life is a group of "vertebrates", all of which have an anatomy distinctly unlike Earth animals. They have two heads, one which houses the sexual and sensory organs and one that serves as a feeding proboscis. Some of the most notable creatures on Snaiad include Kahydrons (pack-hunting predators akin to wolves and hyenas), Fuckers (ambush predators that fill the niche of big cats), Allotaurs (giant, armored herbivores), and Jetocetes (whale-like creatures that use organic jet propulsion to swim). Snaiad currently exists as a website, and Kosemen has expressed interest in turning it into a physical book in the near future.


Compare Expedition.

This website provides examples of:

  • Armless Biped: The Titaniformes are bipeds that lost their forelimbs entirely. Subverted with the Tromobrachids, which appear to be this trope but actually have their arms modified into "jaws".
  • Artistic License – Biology: Most Snaiadi vertebrates are said to have a subcutaneous layer of air bubbles which they use for insulation instead of a hair equivalent as for most animals on Earth (helping to play up their "alienness"), but realistically this would be really inefficient since the outer layers of skin would still have living tissues and require circulation (so significant heat loss would still occur). Hair and feathers, which are inert substances that go over the skin, do not have this issue.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The two-headed system of the Snaiadi vertebrates certainly plays up their Starfish Aliens aspect, but realistically it would be very inefficient for creatures to have to chew with one mouth and swallow with the other. Hand Waved in the page explaining vertebrate biology, where it's theorized that a developmental quirk in vertebrate ontogeny prevented them from developing true jaws on their second-head mouth.
      • This is lampshaded further when covering the Trombrachids, who have modified their forelimbs into a pair of jaws for their second heads. . . and, thanks to this efficient setup, have completely monopolized the predator niches on the island of Thalassia. It's pointed out that Thalassia's isolation is the only thing stopping them from driving every other clade of predators on Snaiad, with their more cumbersome two-mouthed anatomy, to extinction.
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    • The Fuckers, predators specialized to kill their prey with a hydraulic spike on their pelvic region. We're told this is a highly effective hunting weapon (so much so convergent designs evolved independently two more times), but exactly how effective a killing organ would be mounted between the back legs, instead of near the front of the body (of an organism which already has a sharp beak and claws at that) and explicitly requiring them to leap onto the backs of large prey is up for debate.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Urunyx, a species of omnivorous forest-dwelling kahydront, pretty much fills the niche of a bear, and certainly isn't a creature you'd want to mess with. Even the local Fuckers give it a wide berth in fear of its deadly claws.
  • Belly Mouth: The "second heads" of Snaiadi animals are basically these.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Snaiad's equivalents of birds and fish are actually "invertebrates", and are not covered on the main site.
    • Inverted with the Picotheres, tiny vertebrates with skeletons of cartilage that shrunk down to a few centimeters in length and filled a niche similar to insects.
  • Bizarre Alien Limbs: The Tromobrachids of Thalassia, including the dinosaur-like See-Rex, modified their forelimbs into chewing "jaws". While most Snaiadi animals have to chew with their first head and then swallow with the second head, the See-Rex's novel arm-jaws allow it to chew and swallow with the same mouth.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: The Jetocetes are shark-like creatures that seperated an extension of their digestive tract to provide a jet-propelled boost. This is further advanced by the Cardiocetes, which augmented their jet-tubes with heart-like pumps and thus have lost their caudal fins almost entirely.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: The Sniadi animals' first heads are actually modified reproductive organs. In many cases the young are "vomited" out from the first-head mouth at birth, while others tear their way out of the throat pouch but do so with little injury to the mother.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The males of one species of Heterostome has an enormous tail, while the females do not.
  • Bug War: The "Arbophobe Wars", where the Arbophobe Fuckers attacked and killed many settlers during the early days of colonization, forcing the humans to wipe the species out from much of its native range.
  • Cephalothorax: One Pescidont species, Sifteria rotundus, has its first head mashed directly into its torso with no well-defined neck, giving it a round, plump silhouette,
  • Cool Pet: Pescidonts, Kahydrons, and Orca Runners have been at least attempted to be domesticated. Some of the Bumbo pescidonts were used as beasts of burden in the early days of Snaiad colonization, while small, lizard-like Haplobrachids are commonly kept as pets and have been bred into a variety of colorful "fancy" varieties.
  • Creator Provincialism: C. M. Kosemen is from Turkey. Guess where Snaiad's settlers are from?
  • Dung Fu: When captured or handled, the Red Emmi is known to defecate explosively to defend itself.
  • Exotic Equipment: Subverted. The first head on a Snaiadi animal, despite also have jaws and sensory organs, actually houses their genitals. The jaws serve the function of catching prey, but evolved from modified genital sheaths; the second head, which often looks rather phallic, actually serves as the mouth.
  • Extra Digits: The Polydactyls, per their name. More derived Snaiad vertebrates usually have only two digits per foot.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The island of Thalassia is the Snaiad equivalent of a Lost World, complete with creatures that look vaguely like dinosaurs. Many of Snaiad's vertebrates also resemble extremely warped, vaguely phallic dinosaurs.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: The Blumbomen, which not only resemble and act like penguins but also occupy a similar place in Snaiadi popular culture.
  • Fantastic Fauna Counterpart: Many of the Snaiadi vertebrates have loose analogies to Earth animals: Kahydrons are analogous to canids and hyenas, Fuckers are ambush predators similar to big cats, and Allotaurs are akin to large herbivores like elephants and rhinos. However, the author mentions time and time again that these similarities are only skin-deep: the Picotheres, for example, are tiny vertebrates with no close analog on Earth.
  • Gentle Giant: The Xenoposiedon, a large and peaceful Cardiocete that feeds on plankton, much like the baleen whales of Earth.
    • Averted with the Allotaurs: while herbivorous, they are notably rather aggressive and difficult to observe in the wild, and one species is even known to attack and kill other herbivores and occasionally eat some of their remains.
  • Grey Goo: It's implied that one of Snaiad's mass extinctions was caused by this.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Snaiadi culture also appropriates the names of local animals in their language: notably, an attractive woman is compared to the Hazzal, a type of slender, weasel-like kahydront, while an irritating or annoying person is often compared to a Pid, a stinging, predatory picothere.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Orca Runners appear to be the most popular horse-expy on Snaiad. More specifically, they fit the "bipedal birdlike creature" subtrope.
  • Horror Hunger: The Cardiocetes must constantly battle starvation due to their hyperactive metabolic systems, with the Torpedicthys in particular becoming a predator of its fellow Jetocetes to sate its constant hunger.
  • It Can Think: The Burton's Masker is noted to be a highly-intelligent creature that has an innate sense of curiosity and a manipulative second head that can grasp objects. It's speculated that given a few million years, it may even develop true sapience and probably create a civilization.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Fuckers kill their victims. Their killing spikes are located on their crotches.
  • Informed Attribute: The descriptions of the Black Thing and Mavri states they have thick, shaggy coats to insulate them. The illustrations show them as almost entirely hairless, bar a tiny fringe of bristles on the back.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Rollpigs are able to shed their fatty tails if attacked: however, it's very costly to the animal as it is a food storage and can lead to starvation in tough times.
  • Lost World: The island of Thalassia fits this trope in spirit at least, being isolated from other landmasses on Snaiad and inhabited by creatures resembling dinosaurs.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: All over the place. Kahydrons are part lizard, part wolf, and part Velociraptor. The Blumbomen resemble a cross between a penguin, a frog and a blobfish. Jetocetes combine attributes of whales, sharks, and, weirdly, cephalopods (in that they swim using jet propulsion).
  • Multiple Head Case: Subverted with the Snaiadi vertebrates: they have two heads, one a beaked cranium containing their reproductive organs and the other a tongue-like appendage on their chest, but their real brain is located inside their thoracic cavity, within the ribcage.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: There's a group of predators called Fuckers. Subverted with the so-called Nightmare Hound, which just looks scary but is actually one of Snaiad's more harmless creatures.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The aquatic predatory Motosuchids fit this trope perfectly, being Jetocetes that are similar to crocodilians but swim via jet propulsion.
    • There's also the Crochydron, a species of semi-aquatic Kahydron resembling a gharial.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Averted. Animals on Snaiad cannot digest food from Earth. It doesn't stop them from trying, though, especially the Arbophobe Fuckers, who repeatedly attempt to prey on humans.
  • Phallic Weapon: The Fuckers and the Rape Turtle have spike-like killing organs where the genitalia would be on an Earth tetrapod. Their methods of hunting therefore resembles them violently raping the prey to death (their actual reproductive organs are in their "head").
  • Planimal: Before the current vertebrates, the dominant clade of Snaiad were "plant-animal symbionts" that are now extinct. There are also red plants in addition to the more traditional green plants, with the red variety apparently being more closely related to animals.
  • Predators Are Mean / Herbivores Are Friendly: Averted. While many carnivores on Snaiad are genuninely dangerous, some, such as the Pinnacle Hound and the Lebanese Kahydron, are usually non-hostile to humans, displaying a cautious curiosity and in the Kahydron's case even a potential to be tamed. On the other hand, there are the herbivorous Allotaurs, which are highly aggressive like Earth hippos and in some cases have been known to kill other herbivores unprovoked.
  • Real Is Brown: Downplayed, but the colour palette for most Snaiadi megafauna is rather limited, with muted and uniform greyish or brownish tones being the vast majority (with some exceptions).
  • Sand Worm: The Emmi and Baroemmi, two types of burrowing worm-like creatures. There's also the Chasmostomos, a related sessile species resembling a Sarlaac.
  • Sea Monster: The Jetocetes, the biggest of which can grow larger than a blue whale!
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Averted with the limbless serpentine Lopophids, who in a strange twist are actually peaceful grazing herbivores.
  • Shout-Out: One of the Tromobrachids, a scavenging vulture-like creature, is given the common name of Graboid.
  • Shown Their Work: The author displays a ridiculous amount of attention to detail, especially when it comes to evolutionary biology. Themes such as speciation, convergent evolution, comparative anatomy and islands being hotspots of bizarre evolutionary forms feature prominently throughout the descriptions of the planet and its wildlife.
  • Speculative Documentary: One of the best-known internet examples.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Expedition, another Speculative Documentary about alien life.
  • Starfish Aliens: Creatures on Snaiad have four legs, like land vertebrates on Earth, but there the similarity ends. Their bones are made of a wood-like substance and they have two "heads" (one for the mouth, the other for the sensory and reproductive organs), and they have hydraulically-operated muscles.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Arbophobes (a kind of Fucker) were infamously persistent in their constant attacks on early settlers.
  • Threatening Shark: There's one species of Jetocete called the Torpedicthys that more or less fills this trope. It's even said to attack swimmers at beaches, and regularly preys upon other Jetocetes larger than itself.
  • Turtle Power: There are a number of creatures that resemble turtles, and most of them are pretty cool. Subverted by the colorfully-named "rape turtle", which is a savage predator with a . . . unique method of killing its prey.
  • T. Rexpy: The See-rex—a giant bipedal predator native to the Lost World island of Thalassia— is pretty much a T. rex Expy.
  • Visual Innuendo: Freudian imagery is practically a Running Gag. There are numerous predators that hump their prey to death with pelvic growths, the feeding heads of Snaiadi vertebrates resemble huge protruding phalluses (even though their actual reproductive organ is the head above it) often complete with a glans-like tip, most of the species are depicted with naked fleshy skin tones, and even the skin around the beaks of the reproductive heads resemble pulled back foreskins. The Xenoposeidon in particular resembles a huge swimming penis whale, and even shoots out huge clouds of semen from its "head".
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: The Phytokahydron, like other Kahydrons, starts out as a carnivore when young, but gradually grows to be a panda-like herbivore as it matures.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Averted for most of the Snaiadi vertebrates, with four limbs like Earth tetrapods, but some of the Picotheres have shortened limbs and two elongated fingers on each foot, essentially making them eight-legged.