The 8th World
CRITTERS OF THE WORLD
Earth is home to an almost limitless variety of animals. Even in the trying times of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, new species continued to be discovered while others slipped into extinction. During the Awakening, Homo sapiens was not the only species to undergo Unexplained Genetic Expression (UGE). UGE is expected to be even greater over the last 600 years Metahumans have been in the A.R.K.s
In the early 21st century, aAnimals all over the world began to show the effects of the return of magic, some giving birth to changeling offspring while others transformed into creatures from myth and legend. Griffins, harpies, hell hounds and even dragons. The explosion of novel and variant life forms led to the development of several new fields of scientific study, often combined under the general heading of “paranaturalism.”
Paranaturalists specialize in species identified after 2000 A.D., and many further focus on aspects of the field such as parabiology, parasociology (especially among the various metahuman and officially recognized sentient species), and paranatural biotechnology.
Paranaturalism has died down during the long time in the A.R.Ks, but some Metahumans still study the science hoping to use the knowledge to classify new species of animals when their A.R.K. opens and returns to the world. Even in A.R.Ks where no one specifically studies Parnaturalism, most of the scientific knowledge is retained in the A.R.K computers.
Most paraspecies seem to be a particular expression of DNA in the presence of high levels of magical energy. In these species, one generation gives birth to paraspecies young but remains unaffected itself. In time, the natural species will vanish, replaced completely by the paraspecies. In certain cases, all or part of the natural species undergoes a transformation as the rising tide of magic reaches a specific threshold. Unless the whole species changes en masse, the natural species continues (as in the human species), but will sometimes produce individuals of the paraspecies at later births.
Occasionally, an apparently normal individual of such a species will express paranormal traits or capabilities at the species’ equivalent of puberty. A few species consistently produce young that resemble the original natural species but undergo UGE at “puberty.” Most such individuals are hostile and vicious as a result of the transformation.
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