“They were pinkish things about five feet long; with crustaceous bodies bearing vast pairs of dorsal fins or membraneous wings and several sets of articulated limbs, and with a sort of convoluted ellipsoid, covered with multitudes of very short antennae, where a head would ordinarily be.... As it was, nearly all the rumours had several points in common; averring that the creatures were a sort of huge, light-red crab with many pairs of legs and with two great bat-like wings in the middle of their back. They sometimes walked on all their legs, and sometimes on the hindmost pair only, using the others to convey large objects of indeterminate nature. On one occasion they were spied in considerable numbers, a detachment of them wading along a shallow woodland watercourse three abreast in evidently disciplined formation. Once a specimen was seen flying—launching itself from the top of a bald, lonely hill at night and vanishing in the sky after its great flapping wings had been silhouetted an instant against the full moon.”
“They seemed to be enormous, iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter. From their apexes projected four flexible, cylindrical members, each a foot thick, and of a ridgy substance like that of the cones themselves. These members were sometimes contracted almost to nothing, and sometimes extended to any distance up to about ten feet. Terminating two of them were enormous claws or nippers. At the end of a third were four red, trumpet-like appendages. The fourth terminated in an irregular yellowish globe some two feet in diameter and having three great dark eyes ranged along its central circumference. Surmounting this head were four slender grey stalks bearing flower-like appendages, whilst from its nether side dangled eight greenish antennae or tentacles. The great base of the central cone was fringed with a rubbery, grey substance which moved the whole entity through expansion and contraction.”
Important discovery. Orrendorf and Watkins, working underground at 9:45 with light, found monstrous barrel-shaped fossil of wholly unknown nature; probably vegetable unless overgrown specimen of unknown marine radiata. Tissue evidently preserved by mineral salts. Tough as leather, but astonishing flexibility retained in places. Marks of broken-off parts at ends and around sides. Six feet end to end, 3.5 feet central diameter, tapering to 1 foot at each end. Like a barrel with five bulging ridges in place of staves. Lateral breakages, as of thinnish stalks, are at equator in middle of these ridges. In furrows between ridges are curious growths. Combs or wings that fold up and spread out like fans. All greatly damaged but one, which gives almost seven-foot wing spread. Arrangement reminds one of certain monsters of primal myth, especially fabled Elder Things in Necronomicon. These wings seem to be membraneous, stretched on a framework of glandular tubing. Apparent minute orifices in frame tubing at wing tips. Ends of body shrivelled, giving no clue to interior or to what has been broken off there.
The colony world of "Ross" located a few decades light of the earth had been conceived for the exclusive preservation of one of the most unusual groups of birds that have evolved, the penguins, which were in decline by the abrupt climatic change exerted By the emergence of a new industrial civilization on earth 100,000 years after our era. Ross is itself a major moon of an uninhabitable super-land, being quite similar in climate to the earth during the glacial periods. Thanks to the previous establishment of a human colony during the first expansion of man, this world was already apt to be populated quickly, being in a few decades colonized by the different varieties of chubby piscivorous birds. After the disastrous event and the subsequent recovery of the earth biosphere thanks to animal populations off the planet, Ross was maintained for several centuries with the resident population, until it was completely abandoned to its fate around 1 million years.
Subsequent to this, natural selection and the subsequent changes in climate and geography began to shape all the varieties of penguins inhabiting this colony world, extinguishing some species and diversifying. During the next 40 to 65 million years the penguins of Ross began a gradual diversification around the tropical areas and even mainland thanks to the lack of competitors, evolving in different varieties, from strange armored belly forms which they use both legs and the wings to propel themselves on the ground, varieties of long, graceful legs, which are plantigrades, and some heavy species that have preserved the original morphology of their ancestors, among others.
In the vast dry savannah dominated by some of the descendants of the Antarctic grass brought to the moon, medium-sized cursorial plantigrades predominate as common herbivores, while around there strange varieties of carnivorous armored belly ranging from 3 meters to small species of only 10 cm. However, there is only one herbivore in particular of great size outstanding for its appearance, being different to the other birds by its defensive adaptations against the first predators, this bird is the Sphenichelonis. With a length of about 4 meters and weighing almost 600 kg is one of the largest terrestrial birds of its time, inhabiting the warm and dry areas of Ross, are slow and solitary herbivorous birds, characterized by their huge armor conformed by series hardened feather forming a solid shell with a mosaic of plates covering almost the entire body except the head, neck, and with several small separated plates covering the bottom. Sphenichelonis is able to hide its head inside its shell like the terrestrial turtles, closing the entrance using a group of articulated plates around this one.