10,000 Years

It has been 10,000 years since the introduction of life to Hearth, a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. The species introduced here are the same as they were generations ago, with the sole changes being the loss of characteristics selected for by humans that do not benefit animals in the wild.

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Dogs and cats have both returned to more ancestral forms at this stage in Hearth's history, their vast and varied gene pools consisting predominantly of artifically selected features and behaviors. The average dog at this point in time has come to resemble something like a dingo or coyote, with no pugs, chihauhuas, or sausage dogs to be seen. Loose packs consisting of univerally scruffy animals chase prey across the grasslands and between the trunks of young forests. Cats, some of which live in disorganised colonies but most of which are solitary hunters, predominantly bear tabby colouration, this pattern working well to effectively break their outlines as they stalk rabbits, mice, and chickens through the undergrowth of their new homeworld. 

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Animals raised by humans for their meat, like cows and chickens, are leaner than their ancestors. Chicken eggs are rarely laid unfertilised, as they are on Earth, as there are plenty of opportunities for these new wild chickens to mate. They have exhibted a decrease in weight due to selective pressures relating to predation meaning that chickens on Hearth exhibit far more confidence in the air than their ancestors introduced here a hundred centuries ago. Sheep produce less wool, those individuals prone to producing too much having succumbed far easier to problems relating to going unshorn. By far, the most signficant changes to these animals relate simply to shrugging off as many of the features and forms imposed on them by humans as possible.

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Goldfish grow to fill the lakes and rivers they inhabit, the glut of food in their habitats and the lack of natural predators spurring on, rather fittingly, a golden age for these fish. Content to eat anything and everything they can fit inside their mouths, opportunistic fish occasionally eat smaller ones, though it will be quite some time until this dynamic encourages significant evolutionary changes. Crabs and aquatic beetles (and their larvae) are the only animals that share the water with these vibrant pioneers and, in the case of the crabs, are still the uncontested rulers of the ocean - goldfish will take some time longer to truly adapt to saltier waters in such a way as to allow them to permanantly invade these environments.

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The relationships between animals at this point in time are well established if not well balanced. Already predator and prey interactions exist in most ecosystems, ripe for enough time and pressure to forge strong and lasting adaptations. For now the animals of Hearth have to make do with what they have - and tolerate that which humans saddled them with that they have not yet been able to shed. Only their descendants will begin to truly adapt to life in the wild. 

Selected Works

Two Million Years PELife on Hearth: Settlement

10,000 Years PELife on Hearth: Colonization

50,000 Years PELife on Hearth: Colonization