Written by Jonathan Wojcik

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Box-cow and Harpoon Hounds

It's hard to tell, at least for a moment, which end of these creatures is supposed to be which - and that's totally a compliment! They're speculative alien fauna by Bob the Seagull King, which evolved on a planet where the closest analog to "vertebrates" have six-sided, box-like skeletons. The box cow (left) is a common grazer, and I like all the eyes up on a knobby stalk, similar to certain spiders in our world. It's being pursued here by a pack of predators, the harpoon hounds, which belong to roughly the same boxy phylum but evolved long, thin, bladed bodies they wield to impale their prey at high speed.

It's a good example of how much one animal group can vary, which a lot of science fiction unfortunately fails to take advantage of. These two species superficially look nothing alike, but the basic evolutionary template is still all there, just as both a frogfish and a seahorse are technically both bony fish, or a vampire bat and a blue whale are both mammals. The artist hasn't done a whole lot of other illustrations of this planet, but I'd definitely look forward to what more can be done with it.