Challenge #02007-E183: Confounding Convergence

in fiction •  9 months ago

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'Don't be silly', snapped Mara, 'cows have 6 legs'. (Mara from Feists 'Empire' trilogy, goes with Kevin to Midkemia) -- Anon Guest

[AN: Another book series I will likely forget to find and read. Whoops. I'm still trying to get into GoT...]

Yan stopped cold and stared her fellow human. "We are talking about the same animal, right? Terran origin mammal, about yae tall," she gestured with her hand. "Goes 'moo'. Herbivorous. Four stomachs. Gives milk?"

"Uh. No. I have no idea what you're talking about," said Jorg. "Cows live on the kelp in the tidal flats and go 'krrrt'. They're amphibious hexapods with a chitinous exoskeleton. You got the herbivorousness and the milk thing right, though." This last part said as if Jorg were handing out partial points.

This almost blew Yan's mind. "Where are you from again?"

"Salty Flats, on a planet named Sog."

"Oh." Well, that explained so much. "A Sog cow. Right."

The new recruit blinked at Yan, her eyes wide. "There's other kinds of cows?"

Yan had to grin. "First, I gotta tell you all about the Walks Like A Duck Principal. And then, when we get back from Survey, I am introducing you to beef."

"What's beef got to do with cows?"

"Ask the French. We gotta focus now. Infodump later."

The large creature they captured was more saurian than mammalian but it was: (1) big enough to be a cow, (2) fuzzy enough to be a cow, (3) travelled in herds like cows did, (4) herbivorous, and (5) made a passable 'moo' noise. Therefore, it got named a [Planet Name] Cow based entirely on the Walks Like A Duck Principal.

It's amazing how many creatures follow convergent evolution and get named after the familiar animal they most represent. Sometimes, those resemblances can be nebulous at best. Sometimes, they are really, really eerie.

Sog Cows look nothing like Terran ones. Nobody has been brave enough to ask how one milks them, though.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / AlienCat]

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