Welcome to Janus! This is a world building/ speculative biology project I've been working on in my spare time. I will definitely be showing more of this world in the future, as I'm quite fond of it and it's curious inhabitants.
Janus is a tidally locked planet orbiting Portunes, a class M red dwarf star. Unlike most other inhospitable red dwarf planets, Janus was one of the fortunate few able to develop the stability required to host life. Janus weighs in at about 1.42 times Earth gravity, with a fairly typical radius of 1.6 Earth radii. It's atmosphere is about 85% of Earth's, and rich in CO2, H2O and O2.. This cloudy, thin atmosphere is the instrumental factor in maintaining Janus' tenuous habitability, distributing heat from the day side to the night side and making most of its surface at least somewhat hospitable.
The dominant group of extant creatures on Janus' surface are the Hyphafaozoa, multicellular triploid organisms sharing both fungus and animal-like traits. Almost all hyphafaozoans are heterotrophs, and many exploit both aquatic and terrestrial lifestyles. Hyphafaozoans, unlike terrestrial animals, have PNA (peptide nucleic acids) rather than DNA. The robust structure of PNA, as well as their triploid heritage, is a relic of their star's turbulent past. Triploidy allowed early organisms to avoid harmful mutations, and PNA's sturdy nature provided a decreased likelihood of it being damaged. Modern hyphafaozoa are very resistant to cancer-like illness, though some have purposely increased rates of mutations in their gametes to increase their otherwise lacking genetic adaptability.
Certain hyphafaozoan clades present with increased amounts of hydrogen peroxide in their body fluids, which serves to help increase their range over Janus' surface. The increased hydrogen peroxide makes them more resistant to freezing in cold temperatures, while allowing them better water retention in the planet's hotter climes.
At their most basic, hyphafaozoans are multicellular heterotrophic organisms with two major cell types. Cells can either form a cilliated cover layer, or grow to produce hyphae like structures for food, water, and nutrient absorption. More derived clades also develop contractile, muscle-like layers. This differentiation allows hyphafaozoans to be grouped into three major clades: the atela, bitela, and triplotela.
Atelans encompass only one extant phyla, and have no truly defined tissue layers. Cells can migrate through the organism, and redefine themselves as different cell types based on the organism's need.
Bitelans have both a defined cover layer and hyphae producing layer. They may have vaguely defined organ-like structures, but tend to remain rather simple.
Triplotelans are comprised of a cover layer, a muscular contractile layer, and an internal hyphae producing layer. These differentiate further in more derived organisms, forming complex organ systems developed from one of these three initial tissue types.
These three main clades can be divided further to encompass Janus' main hyphafaozoan phyla.
You can see their cladogram here.
But truly, your exobiology projects are inspirational. You think out every single detail - the biology, the cladistics, the evolutionary history. Probably the best spec evo projects out there.
And on top of that, you do really great art!
I hope you continue making awesome content into the future .
Later on, when the star calms down, Janian creatures evolve methods of gamete production that are prone to more variability. Organisms with increased mutation rates in their gametes are selected for their increased adaptability.
Thinking through things is almost a curse though
I'll want to work on a sentient creature's culture and technology, but then get bogged down because I feel like I need to flesh out climate and geology first, haha!
I've actually worked out how these "animals" differentiate tissue layers and go through gastrulation as well
I'll probably put that up soon, even if it's a bit dry... It's hard to make that stuff not come across like a textbook!
scariest one for me, is the lower right - compost, a black smoker, and needles all wrapped up in one.
the ones that I'm curious about, are the two blue ones, and the two green ones. (the black one in lower left it almost looks mineral - a fossil?)
fantastic art, all of them.