angelicuscadere  asked:

For a sentient specie of omnivorous raptors (think feathered dino) with social complexity, technology and population density similar to humans ~300 years ago, what would be the most prominent health issues for the common folk?

I’m using birds and alligators as references for most things anatomy, so what would be avian/crocodilian equivalent to fleas, flu, cholera, measles, or other highly contagious and common ailments? (They have both feathers and scales)  They have had little to no contact with any large mammals over the course of their evolution - upon contact with mammals (including humans), would that make them less or more susceptible to be affected by human illness, or a random mix? I know this is very broad so I’m not expecting a detailed answer - I was just hoping you could give me some pointers as to what kind of diseases to investigate and inspire myself from.   Thank you! I really love your script blog! :)


Yay raptors! I hope you like info-dumps.

Originally posted by gifovea

If I assume a similar medical scene to the 1700-1800′s, I’d first broadly group the common diseases into parasitic, bacterial, viral and fungal. Most of these species don’t congregate in terribly large numbers, except in farms and fortunately for your writing, both birds and crocodiles are bred on farms in large numbers to give you disease examples that are probably common at high densities with sub-optimal hygiene. I will link to other sites for the most interesting ones.

Parasites are the group that were extremely common before effective medication, and also the most externally obvious. They’re also potential vectors for the other groups, to spread disease from one raptor to another (think about how mosquitoes do this today).

External parasites are your equivalent to fleas. Avians can get fleas, but mites and lice are far more common. Almost all wild birds are harboring some kind of feather lice. Reptiles commonly get ticks. Scaly leg mite might give you inspiration for a suitably interesting looking disease.

Internal parasites get a bit more variable, depending on the internal anatomy of your raptor species. Almost everything can get intestinal worms (because almost everything has intestines). Where exactly in the intestines they live will depend on anatomy, and young won’t get any placental transmission from their mother if they lay eggs. Worms like Heterakis can transmit other diseases to certain species too.

Birds get respiratory parasites, which are quite unique. Air sac mites may be relevant if your raptors have them, and gapeworm is one of my personal favorites. (Yes, I have favorite parasites. I’m not weird.)

Moving onto bacterial diseases, Cholera was a big killer of humans, and poultry have Fowl Cholera of their own. Botulism toxin kills a lot of birds that congregate around waterways, but interestingly birds and reptiles seem very resistant to tetanus.

Gut pathogens like salmonella are common in reptiles and birds, and are not species specific. These things can get into just about anything, but they are often host adapted. This means the usual species they infect doesn’t get as severe pathology as a new species. This may be relevant for your mammals who encounter this species, as it’s commonly spread by poor hygiene practices.

Psittacosis is a bacterial disease that you should definitely look into. It can affect both humans and parrots, and can be lethal in both. It was historically something of a mystery disease for a while, and worth reading about.

Most species (honestly, probably all species but we haven’t bothered to look) have a poxvirus of their own. Some of these poxviruses will cross species (eg goats and sheep) and will vary in how virulent they are (smallpox vs chickenpox). They hang around in the environment for a really long time and are difficult to exterminate. Your species probably has one, but despite the name not all poxviruses present with pox on the skin.

If your species is feathered, then Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease is simply fascinating and visually dramatic. It’s a chronic disease and may fill a similar social role as leprosy

Influenza viruses commonly affect many species of birds and will also potentially cross over to humans or other mammals. Human and mammal influenza can also cross over into birds. When you get an influenza type into a ‘new’ species, death rates are typically higher.

Most concerning, however, is when you have two different influenza strains infect the same individual, recombine by infecting the same cell, and then by chance produce a totally new strain of influenza which may then infect any species that could have been infected by either parent virus. Immunity to on strain of influenza offers little protection against another.  This is why bird flu outbreaks are such a concern.

I noticed you said no contact with large mammals over their evolution. If they’re farming, what’s eating their stored food? Rats are common and disease vectors to boot, if they have no rats, what do they have instead? Something will be taking advantage of food stores, and will be relevant to the diseases in the population.

And I don’t know if you considered it, but crocodillians tend to be cannibalistic. If they are, then you could potentially have a tapeworm species that spends it’s entire life cycle within this species. It matures and drops cysts in the intestine of one individual, those cysts are eaten by a second individual (faecal contamination of food most likely), then forming cysts in muscle or meat tissue, and when the 2nd individual is eaten by a 3rd individual, those cysts mature into the adult tapeworm to live inside their intestine, and the cycle begins again. There may also be a prion disease, though they are rare.

anonymous asked:

Is Wisconsin's fossil record as full of shit as Illinois? Because I'm from Chicago and bitter that I'll never know if we had crocodillians at any point in its swampier days.

Yah it’s awful we have crinoids and mammoths and that’s it

Another darkest dungeon tip:

Bring a marking squad to the crocodillian battle (the dd wiki has courtyard maps if you don’t mind spoilers)

My recommendation is Arbalest, Occultist (Vulnerability hex lowers both dodge and marks so you don’t need to use anyone else’s turn to mark, but you can also spam Weakening curse to lower Apex predator damage), Houndmaster and Bounty Hunter. 

To lesser degree, but as good substitutes, the Highway man and Graverobber, both have attacks that do higher damage on marked targets, and Highwayman has riposte.

to very lesser degree any other class, but equipped with trinkets that give higher marking damage. Like Man-at-arms (also has riposte and can buff Crit chances), Vestal, and the Flagellant, thought, i’d almost put Flagellant as a fist option too for his bleed damage and healing skills. 

And with the least classes, classed that can only hit first 2 places properly, or are otherwise not good for high damage, like Crusader, Leper and Jester and Antiquarian. And because high blight resist, Plague doctor is also a weak choice unless you’re planning to use them for buffing or emergency heals

anonymous asked:

Hi This is probably the stupidest question but here goes, if dinosaurs are not birds but reptiles then why is a velociraptor a bird? I know there's a lot of different eras but can you explain it to me? I saw a picture with a little reptile creature turning into a raptor into a bird so dinosaurs were birds?

Hi there! This isn’t a stupid question at all. It’s rather complicated, but I’ll do my best to answer.

To start with, not all dinosaurs were birds, but all birds are dinosaurs. The group of dinosaurs that are close to birds but aren’t quite “birds” have many bird-like features including feathers. Here is a good resource to start learning about bird evolution.

Classifying animals as “birds” or “reptiles” is useful when it comes to talking about animals that are alive today. If we don’t look at the fossil record at all, it makes a lot of sense to put things into these neat little boxes labelled “Mammals”, “Reptiles”, “Birds”, “Fish”  etc. but… if you start looking at the evolutionary history of animals the lines humans have drawn between these boxes get blurred. We all descended from the same thing, so where do we draw the line between what is a bird and what is a reptile?

The current way scientists use to classify animals means that animals can’t “evolve out” of a group:
Archosaurs are a group that contain crocodillians, pterosaurs and dinosaurs. Dinosaurs contains to main groups; Ornithischia (Which includes Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Hadrosaurus etc.) and Saurischia.
contains two groups: Sauropodomorpha (Brachiosaurus etc.) and Theropoda (Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor etc. and birds)

This means that birds are theropod dinosaurs. They are also Saurischians, as well as being Archosaurs.

However, the traditional classification of a “reptile” would include crocodillians and non-avian dinosaurs, but not avians (birds)! This means in an evolutionary sense, the classification of what a“reptile” is doesn’t really make much sense.

This would’ve been more easily explained with pictures, I’m sure I’ve seen some nice concise articles out there explaining this, can anyone lend any suggestions?


Here is a nice illustrated lineage comparing Humans with House Sparrows. Seriously, check out phylopic, it is a great website to play around with. Scroll down to see where animals diverged, and add your own nodes too!