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Wandering Nut by whalewithlegs Wandering Nut by whalewithlegs
A submission to Zippo4k's journal entry.

Comments and especially criticism are welcome! Tell me what you don't like, what's left out, what's downright wrong, etc!

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-Life cycle

The life cycle of the original plant (called 'hedge' for its propensity to grow in lateral chains, linked by an underground root system) (Fig 3) is subverted by a parasite organism so that the blooms, which by default develop into airborne seed clusters, develop instead into an embryonic fruit sac (Fig 5). The nut or seed of the fruit, upon reaching viability, 'hatches' and becomes an independent and mobile entity (Fig 1).

The 'wandering nut' is not truly a mature plant at this point, and will continue to grow in size while retaining a body membrane until the point at which it takes root and develops onto a fully grown 'mock tree'. During the wandering nut stage of the Life cycle, the parasite (Fig 4) matures into an organ cluster, comprising the light-receptive 'eyes' and attaching brain, and endures a relatively passive stage of existence (Fig 6, 9).

Upon fully maturing into the mock tree, the parasite dies upon exposure and the plant loses full sentience, retaining only a vague form of consciousness. This consciousness, however, allows it to retain a degree of motility, which it uses for obtaining light and employing defense. In addition, the striker organ is used to greater effect and can produce a timpani-like call which actually drives away other wandering nuts (Fig 11).

Eventually the exposed fruit will dry out and rupture, producing a cluster of airborne seeds, which upon having taken root will naturally sprout as uninfected hedge (Fig 3).

The parasite itself is not a DNA-based organism, rather fractal-based and inorganic, and interacts with the infected plant through chemicals and physical manipulation of the DNA molecules.

-Anatomy

Represented are 2 similar renderings of the wandering nut anatomy, an internal view (Fig 2) and partial cutaway (Fig 7).

One of the most notable features is the resonation chamber complex, consisting of the chamber itself (which houses the vocal diaphragm and resonators) as well as the lung and striking stem. In combination, these organs can produce a wide variety of sounds, though the main 'speech' consists of a tonal 'song' similar to humming or whistling. The striking stem itself can produce a range of clicks and dull thumps, but does not produce an exceptionally loud sound.

The brain complex consists of the main root bundle as well as the parasitic computing brain, which lends the nut some higher-function processing ability. The attached eyes are light-sensitive membranes and are gas-filled. The 'eyelids' are shell-like and enclose the eye fully, and are therefore not entirely retractable (Fig 6).

Locomotion is affected by the coordinated movement of two pairs of 'bulbs’ which may actually be considered separate plants from the 'main' organism, much in the same way that separated hedge sections continue to grow independently, though genetically identical. Nut stature is highly flexible, and the basic characteristics may be slightly altered to afford bipedal as well as quadrupedal travel modes (Fig 1). Though the nut is top-heavy, its general overall weight and limb structure force it to 'wade' ankle-deep through most soils when not in high motion. Older and larger wandering nuts can become extremely heavy and prone to falling, and though the outer shell is both extremely flexible and durable, a tumble in mountainous terrain can often spell out damage that forces it to undergo metamorphosis into a mock tree.

Inside the 'skull' is a water reservoir into which both root bundles penetrate. The water content is often quite dirty and sediment settles onto the lower root bundle.
The primary root bundle can also be extended through the speech complex and take 'temporary root' (fig 10), forcing the wandering nut into a state of torpor.

Additionally, there is an extensible secondary lung holding leaves near the front of the head, allowing sunlight to be gathered if necessary. Wandering nuts need to regularly eat dirt, water, silt, etc, but only occasionally need to collect sunlight.

-Environment

Inhabiting an Earth-parallel planet, Awwerang, wandering nuts are found in nearly all habitats spanning a coastal mountain range. Although hedge is viable only in a wooded mountainous region, the Life cycle of the parasitized members of the species allow it to spread even to pocket forests. Awwerang was presumedly infected with an alien ecosystem early in prehistory, at a point when terrestrial evolution had not yet conquered the land. Consequently, while microbes, plants, insects, and some marine specimens may be familiar, there are few true terrestrial vertebrates. Conversely, there are almost no extraterrestrial plants. Many plant and animal species have thus evolved in parallel, cooperative or not, though many coexisting species cannot successfully predate each other due to biological discrepancies.

All fractal-based life forms employ a group of adaptations lumped together under the term psychogastronomics, or PG. A little-understood feeding method, it makes use of matter transmission, sound resonation, and temperature effects. The hedge-parasite is small and has only a weak PG ability, mostly used to make PG static rather than as an actual feeding system. While this is a common PG defense, it nevertheless acts as a decent defense for the wandering nut, as most alien herbivores do not employ PG to obtain their non-mobile food.

-Behavior & Society

Wandering nuts live out their Life cycle literally wandering the environment in response to a great racial urge to explore. Though generally limited to their coastal mountain range, individuals have been observed traversing marshland and even into the extremes of snowfield and desert. As they mature and become heavier, wandering nuts typically come down out of the mountains and into more traversable environment where they often root down. Although fond of the silt and sediment found in marshes, wandering nuts have only a low tolerance for salt and this, combined with an natural fear of deep water due to their extreme density, typically discourages prolonged habitation in wetlands. In addition, their only natural predator, a large flightless predatory 'avian', frequents marshes (though different subspecies are found with regularity in many environments).

As a rule of thumb, the species is solitary, retiring, and xenophobic. Though they do not use tools, wandering nuts have been seen on occasion to individually build structures such as bridges, fences, and even rude dams in efforts to traverse obstacles. For example, there is a record of a exceptionally large nut enclosing several browsing animals in a small fenced-in wooded area. Over time, the browsers
denuded the ground of vegetation and the nut eventually used the clear area as a secluded spot to metamorphose.

The wandering nut language is used mainly to communicate about areas of inmterest, as well as to continue an oral tradition. As a point of importance, wandering nut mythology seems to confirms the idea that alien life was seeded on Awwerang, going so far as to credit 'deities' with direct intervention in the creation of the parasite that enables hedge to undergo the wandering nut cycle.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconradarai:
Radarai Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
This is awesome! I love how much thought you put into your work. Really refreshing to see how much story your willing to add to your characters as well.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013
Thank you!! Oh man, this is such an old piece of work though, I'm kind of embarrassed to look back at the technique and all :p

You might like to look through :iconm0ai:'s gallery - he often has some great stories to go along with the art! :p
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:iconradarai:
Radarai Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Hey, thanks! I'll take a look at their work too.
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You know what fairy tale this reminds me of, right? Awesome! =)
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
Do tell me - I'm clueless!
Reply
:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Well, a children cartoon "Oakie Doke" and I don't know if you have a version of this fairy tale in your country, but it's a story of a carpenter that lives with his wife, and they want to have a child but they can't, and the man once found a weird-looking tree stump, and he carved a figure of a baby out of it, and as soon as he brought it home, it started to live, the baby boy ate a lot, he ate everything they had at home, so they had to go from house to house and beg their neighbours, and the baby grew quickly, and when they had no more food to give him, he ate his parents and then ate all of the people in their village, cattle, hens, sheep, even hay, he grew into a giant and then he went to the field and started to eat cabbage that was growing there, and one fearless granny who was working there "had a go" at him, stabbed him with a hoe, his stomach split open and all the people and animals he ate were saved, and the "Carved Boy" was dead. End of story =D The story and the "feeding frenzy guy" are called "Otesánek" in my native language, which essentially means "Carved Boy" ;)
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
Wow, i've never heard of that!
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yay! I guess each country has unique fairy tales after all! =) Look, here is a picture of the "Carved Boy":[link]
and here's the "Oakie Doke" cartoon title character: [link]
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
Huh, very interesting! I guess it's true what you say ... each country has its own stories :D
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yeah =)
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:iconartha-amberose:
Artha-Amberose Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
This is a VERY interesting concept! Amazing job! *claps*
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :D
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:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Professional General Artist
That is really cool! Very well thought out. I've always liked animal-like plants as fantasy critters (probably due to Little Shop of Horrors!) and this is so oddly convincing it seems like it SHOULD exist somewhere. The field notebook style of rendering complements it nicely, it has vibes of Rien Poortvliet and maybe a little Miyazaki.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
Thank you! This is a pretty old piece now ... a little embarrassing in execution compared to what I'd do now, but I still like the core idea!
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:iconviergacht:
Viergacht Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Professional General Artist
I think it's quite charming.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011
Heh heh, it always is interesting to take a walk back through the old gallery - many interesting ideas that have been forgotten or simply buried. I particular like the several pocket universe pieces you did a while back - I think of them frequently, in fact!
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:iconlee-sherman:
Lee-Sherman Featured By Owner May 3, 2010
Neat concept.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner May 4, 2010
Thanks! Yeah, i had a lot of fun with this ... kinda off the path of stuff I draw usually.
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:icongiggarex:
Giggarex Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2009
I like this thing though the legs don't look like they could support the body. Come to think of it that makes them look cute (activateing the human cute responce)

I should re-design my penguins and do some more of my own sentients. I had a nifty idea for a dinosaur with a snake-oid body plan that manipulated things with its coils (along with a messed up parrot).
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2009
Yeah, I in part pictured these guys as being kind of small, and growing until they reach a point where its very hard for them to get around bipedally. & yes, the cuteness factor was another goal :p

Hmm, coil-hand! Now that's an idea!
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:icongiggarex:
Giggarex Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2009
Well atleast it is completely realistic for the most part.

:bow:
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:iconvladdyboy:
Vladdyboy Featured By Owner May 22, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
This thing eerily reminds me of a creature from Final Fantasy 11, it could just be the way you coloured it that reminds me of FFXI
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner May 23, 2008
which one was it?
Reply
:iconvladdyboy:
Vladdyboy Featured By Owner May 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, after what I read on their Wikia [link] , there is a class of monsters called "Plantoids" . The big head and tiny limbs of the Wandering Nut remind me of Saplings [link] mixed in with the Humanoid-like body of the Mandragoras [link] The Animal-Plant idea is a popular idea and there are several mythological creatures like the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary [link] which, later turned out to be cotton and the Mandragora [link] which grows like a human body. But your idea is pure genius because you wouldn't expect that a seed will simply jump off the tree and find a suitable place to grow into a tree like an animal, guess there are no squirrels or animals in that region that eat nuts from that tree.
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:iconvladdyboy:
Vladdyboy Featured By Owner May 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, this thing reminds me of a Deku Scrub from Legend of Zelda [link] , yep it looks totally like a Deku Scrub.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner May 23, 2008
yeah, with the mouth it's pretty undeniable :)
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:iconndean:
NDean Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008   Writer
that is truly the most amazing fake animal... I have ever seen... the concept it fantastic... can I have one lmfao
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:iconj-m-s:
j-m-s Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2008
I find this whole concept fascinating. It's the bridge between plant and animal.. and it's even slightly human in some ways with its capacity for 'higher' function.

I like the depth to which you've developed this idea... lots of nice attention to detail. I really enjoyed this.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2008
thanks! it was a lot of fun to work on and has gotten me thinking a bit too ... glad you liked it!
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:iconperpetualfrustration:
perpetualfrustration Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2008   General Artist
odd little sprouts.i take it theyre generaly non hostle unless provoked?
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2008
yes, i imagined them as sort of slightly if benignly malevolent however, ha.
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:icondodoman1:
dodoman1 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmm... a sessile vegetableform mobile as a juvenile seedling, interesting.
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:iconmikaelhell:
mikaelhell Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008
A delight to read.. and truly inspiring in its weirdnes (in earth standards at least) :)
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2008
heh heh, glad you liked it :)
Reply
:iconsphenacodon:
Sphenacodon Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008
Hey, that's nice! Before I saw the picture, the title put me in mind of some crazy guy who goes around from village to village...
The idea of a sentient plant is fascinating. Besides, these guys are cute! Too bad they probably can't form an advanced society.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2008
haha, wandering nut ... we get those walking by everyday living downtown ... free entertainment!

yeah, if nothing else, plants diverging evolutionary-wise so far back, before fish, before bugs, before lots of microbes even, the prospect of their sentience being almost entirely alien is a pretty interesting one to explore.

Well, their society would certainly be different than ours ...not so geared toward building & technology trees, maybe more toward philosophy ... metaphysics? Part of my ideas concerning them is that they are not the only sentient species group in their locale and that they have the potential to form cooperatives, perhaps.
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:iconrayn-hammer:
Rayn-Hammer Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
They remind me of those little tree guardians from Princess Mononoke....Very Very Nice!
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008
ha, thanks ... everyone loves those guys. its the rattling head thing.
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:iconsaxophlutist:
Saxophlutist Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Daw! THey look teeny! The colouring's well done!
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008
thanks! yeah, I don't imagine that they grow much larger than 4 feet tall, but the smallest ones are apple-sized or smaller.
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:iconstahlhelm:
Stahlhelm Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008
This is one of the more interesting entries that I've seen so far, I think. The idea of nuts that travel away from their parent tree is a good one.

I'm not sure what sort of factors might have caused the species to evolve intelligence, though, and the limbs do not look like they'd possess enough dexterity to build complex structures like bridges. Even constructing something like the earliest human Oldowan technology seems impossible.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008
right, i guess it's not clear enough that the built structures are very rude ... mostly pushed or wedged together. The arms have only pinscer-like dexterity.
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:iconzippo4k:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008
Oh, wow!
haha... It reminds me of the Dekus from Legend of Zelda... or of the Octoroks from the same series.

I have a walking, sentient plant folk called the Mendelites who's biology & culture are still being hammered out.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2008
yeah, this had been rolling around in my mind for a while when I went back and looked at the deku nut ... oops! tried to move it further away from the deku, but the round mouth is just an unavoidable link, ha.
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:iconzippo4k:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2008
It happens. :XD:
Nothing is ever truly original anymore. But that's creativity. We take ideas, consciously or other wise, & change them to suit our tastes.
I've had similar incidences many many times, so you're not alone. :)

As for this whole aliens thing, I'm currently stalling because I'm still @ home for winter break. I won't be posting anything new until after I go back to college.
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:iconwhalewithlegs:
whalewithlegs Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2008
haha, i remember the forced internet hiatus regimen of winter break ... if nothing else I never had a scanner at home :)
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