Review: Serious Beak – Ankaa
Seriousus beakii (Common name: Serious Beak) is a species of terrestrial bird endemic to the eastern coast of Australia. The species is of great interest to current studies due to a certain number of unique features. The extent of current knowledge is included below with more information to be released alongside an unveiling of only the second piece of fossil evidence on record.
Temporal Range: Anthropocene. Earliest fossil evidence dated back to 2010.
– Holotype confirmed in 2011, colloquially dubbed Huxwhukw. Formed from the amalgamation of 10 separate pieces into one complete skeleton.
– Paratype recently located, dubbed Ankaa. Comprised of 4 larger pieces, the complete skeleton is expected to be unveiled to the public on November 3rd.
Phylogeny: While the exact evolutionary history of S. beakii is unclear, evidence suggests that the species recently emerged from the well-documented enormous radiation event of the Experimenta genre during the mid-2000’s. Due to the prevalence of hybridisation and the subsequent rapid rate of diversification of associated species during this time, consensus on a cladogram is yet to be established. Recent advances in DNA & RNA sequencing have revealed commonality with Botch americana, Meshuggah communis, Animalsas leadera, the critically endangered Mastodon metallum and one of the well recognised basal species of Experimenta, the King crimsona.
Distribution: S. beakii is located almost exclusively in the Sydney basin on the Eastern coast of Australia. Known to fly small distances to source food and in search of potential mates. Thought to be adaptable to a wide-range of climates, the versatility of S. beakii would almost certainly lead to it becoming a noxious class capable of displacing large quantities of native species should it be introduced to those areas.
Morphology: The physical appearance of S. beakii is unique in that while the species does possess a backbone, the body shape is somewhat amorphous. The general population is usually lean and spritely but some individuals are heavier-set and have been known to cause researchers difficulty in identification. Perhaps the most defining feature of the species is the absence of vocal chords. The plumage is layered and contains an abundant variety of vibrant and iridescent colours. As the name suggests, the trait which caught the eye of those who first described the species was the beak, and it remains prominent compared to relatives. The most accurate morphological drawings have been completed by artist Caitlin Hackett.
Behaviour: The aforementioned lack of vocal chords surprisingly does not inhibit the species’ ability to create sounds. During infancy S. beakii is usually quiet, which is atypical for the taxa, but as individuals reach maturity a variety of intriguing sounds are created. Some mating calls are known to extend for over 10 minutes, with the calls progressing and evolving throughout the ritual. The tempo of the calls is spasmodic and could seem to be completely erratic to the casual observer. Upon further listens, a complex series of patterns emerges indicating that the species has a high level of cognitive function. The most recent recording of one of these rare instances will be posted below.
Ankaa will be released through Art As Catharsis Records on November 3rd.