“All came up from the beginning. The egg from which they first developed
into tadpole form was deposited, with millions of others, in one of the
warm pools.... Down the warm stream from the pool floated the countless
billions of eggs and tadpoles, developing as they drifted slowly toward
the sea. Some became tadpoles in the pool, some in the sluggish stream
and some not until they reached the great inland sea. In the next stage
they became fishes or reptiles, An-Tak was not positive which, and in this
form, always developing, they swam far to the south, where, amid the rank
and teeming jungles, some of them evolved into amphibians. Always there
were those whose development stopped at the first stage, others whose development
ceased when they became reptiles. Few indeed were those
that eventually developed into baboons and then apes, which was considered
by Caspakians the real beginning of evolution. From the ape
the individual, if it survived, slowly developed into the lowest order
of man -- the Alu -- and then by degrees to Bo-lu, Sto-lu, Band-lu, Kro-lu
and finally Galu. And in each stage countless millions of other eggs were
deposited in the warm pools of the various races and floated down to the
great sea to go through a similar process of evolution outside the womb
as develops our own young within;
Here we have the unique evolution of Caspak in a nutshell, a super-lamarkian
‘by your own bootstraps’ opposed to gradual evolution. From
pollywog, through amphibian, reptile, monkey, caveman to true human, all
in one generation. On Caspak, hominids, which for convenience
we will call Lu, progress from Ho-Lu (apes) through Alu, Bo-lu, Sto-lu,
Band-lu, Kro-lu to Galu (modern man).
Other writers have ably traced the genesis and make up of the intellectual
ideas that give rise to Burroughs pseudo-scientific romance. I don’t
propose to do that here. Instead, in this essay, I will assume
that Caprona and its species are more or less as Burroughs describes it.
Where there is ambiguity, such as whether dinosaurs also follow this super-lamarkian
path, I'll make a conservative judgment. But where something is clearly
stated, then obviously, it must be accepted.
The Anomalous Sources of Animal Life
Biologically Caspak is a mess every which way. Before
we tackle the strange life cycle of the Lu people, let's take a look at
the Fauna and try and make some judgments.
First, all or almost all of the known species in Caspak appear to have
analogues in the outside world at some point in history. If
we accept Burroughs literally, the fauna of Caspak are exactly those as
found in the fossil record.
This seems to make sense. The alternate explanation is that Caspak
is somehow independently evolving creatures identical to assorted prehistoric
and existing species. This seems quite patently to go against every
biological concept that we know of.
Instead, I think we have to assume that if something resembles an Allosaur
or a Horse, then it actually is an Allosaur or a Horse and shares a common
ancestor and common descent with those specimens found alive or in fossil
pits elsewhere. No independent genesis. Normally, this would
go without saying, but Caspak is such an odd place that it is worth articulating.
But there is a very odd mixture of animals. The time factor
is obvious of course, we're mixing various Mezosoic Era's giant reptiles
with Pleistoscene Era's giant mammals. But it goes deeper than that.
Of the identified reptiles we see: Plesiosaurs, Pterodactyls,
Allosaurs, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Snakes, Huge Lizards, Diplodocus.
Here is a puzzle. Lizards and Snakes, of course, are common to every
era. Plesiosaurs ranged throughout the Mezosoic. But the next
members posed problems. Allosaurs and Diplodocus were creatures of
the Jurassic era only. Tyrannosaurs and Pterodactyls were Cretaceous
creatures only. They never coexisted temporally. Nor
did either set coexist with large mammals.
Of the identified mammals, we see: Mammoths, Mastodons,
Bison, Rhinoceros, Sabretooths, Tibers, Hyeanodons, Hyeanas, Aurochs, Deer,
Monkeys. Cave Bear, Cave Lion, Lions, Panthers, Leopards, Lynx, Tigers,
Cows, Red, Eohippus, Horses Red Deers, Goats, Megatherium, Wooly Rhino,
Wolves. There are some anomalies here. The Megatherium
was common only to South and North America, not the old world. The Bison
were a North American species. Meanwhile Aurochs were creatures restricted
to Europe and Asia, the Cave Bear was a European only creature. Tigers
were restricted to Asia, and Leopards to Africa. Several of
these animals are current, having come into existence in their present
form only a few million years ago at most, and still exist, or died out
as recently as a few tens of thousands of years ago. Oddly, given
Caprona's location, there are no representatives of known Australian existing
or extinct species. Apart from the Megatherium, there are no
representatives of current or extinct South American species.
In short, not only is the temporal distribution anomalous, but the geographical
origins of these creatures are anomalous as well. They come from
at least three or four distinct locations and at least as many different
eras. This begs the question: How did they get there?
The Physical Origins of Species
One could imagine Dinosaurs or Prehistoric mammals wandering into an
adjacent region which then is then separated from the rest of the lands
by the sinking of a land bridge or surrounding areas, or by the development
of swamps, geological uplifts, barrier mountains, and thus surviving as
living fossils for millions of years.
But this doesn't seem to be the case here. Caspak is isolated
in the South Pacific, its closest neighbors are Antarctica, South America,
New Zealand and Australia. It shows no sign of any of those
continents fauna, with the possible exceptions of the Megatherium.
It's remotely possible that some of the animals are actually Marsupial
or Liptotern copies from parallel evolution in Australia or South America.
The Marsupials produced their own versions of lions and sabre toothed tigers.
But there's no indication of that.
So, how do we explain Cave Bears, Tigers and Megatherium?
Presumably, Caspak either had contact with their original continents, or
with some other location to which these animals had migrated.
If Caspak did make contact with continents repeatedly to pick up new species,
why aren't Caspak's preserved fossil species re-introduced into the continents?
Why didn't the dinosaurs make a comeback? There doesn't seem to be
any coherent mechanism that would allow new species into Caspak without
old ones getting out?
Another mystery is how Caspak has preserved the extreme profusion of
fauna, and in particular, the great size of the Megafauna.
On much larger islands like Madgascar or Sicily, the tendency has been
for giant species like the Hippo or Elephant to shrink into dwarf varieties,
even as small species grow larger. Yet if anything the Megafauna
are as diverse as ever and even larger than originally found.
Is Caspak some sort of floating island, motoring around, connecting
up first with North America, bouncing off Europe, toodling through the
Indian Ocean sliding against Asia, and finally into the South Pacific?
And bumping repeatedly against continents for a hundred million years?
What kind of journey makes sense? What are the mechanics?
Plate tectonics acknowledges that continents and land masses do move,
so it is remotely possible that a comparatively small subcontinental plate
might travel, and perhaps travel more rapidly than large continental plates.
The barrier cliffs should erode over millions of years, but it is possible
that the wandering journey built them back up again. It's possible
that the geography has occasionally allowed new species in, without allowing
old species to get out, something like a lobster pot. It is
also remotely possible that Caspak's bowl shaped structure preserved a
fairly stable climate, no matter what latitude it was in, which would prevent
species extinction. But all of this seems extremely improbable.
I'd have to assign the ‘Wandering Caspak’ notion a low order of probability.
A Pellucidar Connection?
The more likely explanation is that Caspak's fauna are all derived from
a single source, rather than a hundred million year wandering journey.
Unfortunately, there is no potential candidate on Earth. Even
other ‘lost worlds, such as Pal Ul Don, Skull Island or Maple White Land
do not show the temporal and geographic diversity of Caspak.
There is one place where presumably all of Caspak's fauna coexists together:
Pellucidar. This may be cheating in the sense of offering up
one impossibility as an explanation for another impossibility.
But nevertheless, Pellucidar is well established in Burroughs canon.
There are several chronicles of Pellucidar, and direct or indirect crossovers
(through the Gridley wave communications) with Tarzan, Mars, Venus and
the Moon. Both Pellucidar's existence in Burroughs world, and
peculiar mixture of every conceivable flora and fauna of Earth's history
must be conceded. In particular, Pellucidar is the home for almost
every species found on Caspak.
So, how does Pellucidar's life get to Caspak? Or a better
question: How does all of Earth's history of life wind up in
Pellucidar? As to the latter question, it is dealt with in
another paper. On the former question, there are two possibilities.
The first possibility is Antarctica. Antarctica is at one
of the polar openings, but the indications are that it was not always glaciated.
It is possible that Antarctica was once a fertile, live continent, colonized
by or an out post of Pellucidarean life. In which case, Pellucidar
might have colonized Antarctica, which then in turn, colonized nearby Caspak.
There is an alternative: I have offered up detailed discussions
of Pellucidar elsewhere, which discuss geography, geology and dynamics
of this strange realm, including the possibility that gateways or openings
periodically open between the inner and outer worlds outside of the polar
openings. Caspak may be or may be in one of these gateways.
In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that Caspak is or was on
the gateway, or the threshold of one of the gateways: It's
obscurity. It is simply too large a piece of land not to have
been previously explored if situated normally. In fact, other
large South hemisphere islands, even relatively smaller ones, were thoroughly
mapped and charted, and occasionally settled. As examples,
we have the British possessions of the South Georgia and Falklands Islands
in the Atlantic, as well as the French possessions of the Crozet and Kerguelen
archipelagos in the Indian Ocean. Hence, we need a coherent
explanation for Caspak's relative isolation and obscurity.
Thus, our theory, as outlined in the Pellucidar essay, that Caprona is
actually concealed below the line of Earth's curvature within an ocean
‘gateway’ to Pellucidar, in an area for which conventional navigation is
Peculiarities of Apparent Hominid Development
So, what about the strange life cycle of the inhabitants?
The ‘ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny’ of evolution which takes place
for the Lu people on Caspak.
Some observations need to be made. First, Caspak's peculiar
evolution is not universal. The Wieroo are an explicit notable exception
to this odd rule, they reproduce themselves in the usual way... Or
at least, sort of usual.
It also seems likely that the variety of animals are reproducing in
the usual way. It's possible of course that some of the eggs released
by females develop into pterodactyls, allosaurs and mammoths, but there
seems little evidence or support for this. Certainly the progression
of evolution comes to a crashing halt... Pterodactyls do not evolve
into Allosaurs which do not evolve into Mammoths. It's possible
that you might get an Allosaur evolving up to a Tyrannosaurus, or a Mastodon
evolving up to a Mammoth.
But that seems dubious. We note that the ‘primates’ of Caspak
work their way up an ancestral pecking order. Thus, the highest
of Caspak humans might count all the pre-human forms in his ancestry....
But certainly, no human ever counted a Mammoth or Allosaur in his lineage.
No, the most workable assumption is that Caspak's peculiar evolution is
confined to the apparent hominids.
There is a peculiar anomaly with respect to hominids reproduction, it
appears that all of the different levels of hominid are laying eggs in
the warm pools. This raises the odd possibility that hominids
may lay eggs which eventually evolve into a higher form of being than they
themselves. If this is the case, then it suggests that the ‘evolutionary’
progression is locked into the genetic code of these hominids.
If they are hominids.....
But then, what else can they be? The higher levels of the
Lu are indistinguishable from human. These are creatures with
human proportions, skin tones, facial features, secondary sex characteristics,
with language and technology and animal husbandry. Except
for their peculiar reproduction, they are human in every conceivable respect.
And yet, their peculiar reproduction sets them apart, and suggests that
they are actually something else. But what?
An Amphibian Origin?
Frogs dammit! They're frogs!!!
Let's take a careful look at that notion. Frogs, even
modern common frogs, already have human-ike proportions. They
have long legs in proportion to their arms, similar proportions as in humans.
Their front paws have splayed fingers, almost like hands, and their back
paws feature long digits. In the Amazon, frogs are arboreal
tree climbers, hence they exist in the same realms as primates.
So, it might be possible that frogs, with millions upon millions of
years to work with, managed to evolve giant tree climbing or jungle forms
the size of humans or larger. It's also remotely possible that
with uninterrupted evolution and no competition, frogs might evolve bipedal
upright walkers, which would result in a roughly human-like creature.
Ultimately, its just loosely possible that frogs might evolve a human-like
I'll admit, it's a long shot. There's a lot of evolving
that frogs would have to do. They're making do, for instance,
with comparatively primitive two chambered hearts. They are
cold blooded creatures, which limits the metabolic energy available to
them. Their lungs are not terribly efficient, amphibians employ a
‘throat pump’ to push air in and out of lungs, while reptiles innovated
the bellows lungs we have today. So a human sized frog would
be quite handicapped. There have been in pre-history, amphibians
that reached human sizes or far greater, but by and large, we have to assume
that these creatures were relatively slow. Sudden spurts of energy
would be compensated by long periods of rest and inactivity.
We should not consider the primitive features of modern amphibians to
be definitive of amphibians biological limitations. For one thing,
these ‘primitive features’ have served them well in their present forms
and niches, they've managed to outlast both Dinosaurs and Giant Mammals
and may well outlast us.
And in fact, during the Permian period, before the ascension of the
Dinosaurs, several known species of Amphibian reached lengths of three
to six feet, with a few giants of ten to fifteen feet. They coexisted
with and competed effectively with their reptile cousins. The only
true limitation was their method of egg laying. Move to hard
shelled eggs, and they are automatically reptiles. The Permian
Amphibians suggest that they were quite capable of sophisticated adaptations.
Among the remarkable permian forms was a sailback Amphibian, Platyhystrix,
which coexisted with the reptilian sailbacks like Dimetrodon and Edaphosaurus.
There was also an armored form, Peltobrachus, which resembled an armadillo.
Paracyclotosaurus was an eight foot creature resembling a crocodile.
Another near crocodilian, Eogyrinus, reached lengths of fifteen feet.
Diadectes, at only ten feet but with a massive frame, was one of the heaviest
animals alive during its period, it was the first known amphibian herbivore
and contemporary with reptile herbivores.
In short, during their heyday in the Permian period, they did quite
Of course, the Permian Reptiles gradually but steadily forced them out
of their niches, so however advanced the Amphibians became, the Reptiles
were matching or more than matching. In the late Permian period,
for instance, many of the Amphibian forms were becoming armoured, obviously
as adaptations against Reptilian predators.
It's interesting to speculate as to how Amphibians might have continued
to evolve, if not pushed out by Reptiles. Perhaps on some ancient
equivalent of Madagascar or Australia, an Amphibian population free of
reptiles was able to evolve remarkable forms. Or would such creatures
evolve without competition from Reptiles? Would they simply
lay there? Or would they produce forms that would or could have endured
the inevitable onslaught? It is notable that the earliest frogs
originate from Madagascar.
How Could Frogs Seem Human, and Why
Would They Bother?
The big obstacle to the frog theory is the limits of parallel evolution.
It's quite possible that in some sufficiently isolated tropical biological
laboratory, frogs produced a parallel to hominids, possibly even semi-intelligent
or intelligent parallels. Possible, though not necessarily
But there's normally a limit to parallel evolution. Sharks
and Dolphins share a body shape from parallel evolution. No
one will ever mistake them. Parallel evolution is very good
at general forms. It's terrible with the fine details, sometimes
spectacularly so... A kangaroo is parallel evolution's idea of a
deer. So our frog man is not likely ever to be mistaken for
Except that there is one evolutionary or adaptive feature which might
come into play. Batesian Mimicry. This is the phenomena
where, in order to escape or dissuade predators, one animal evolves to
resemble another animal or object. There are numerous examples
of this in the insect world... Insects that have evolved to resemble
leaves or sticks, or flies which have evolved to resemble wasps.
The phenomenon is not well known among vertebrates, but there are fish
that seem to engage in it, and vertebrates are well known for camouflage.
So, if we have a ‘frog man’, it is possible that our ‘frog men’ have
been evolving to resemble humans, even to the point where they could pass
for humans. Why or how?
Because hominids, beginning with Australopithecus or Homo Erectus may
have practiced their own natural selection - creatures that looked humanoid,
but not human enough, might be killed. Those that looked human
enough might be spared or even protected. A greater resemblance
to humanity might facilitate surviving encounters. A great
enough resemblance might enable one to obtain support and protection, it
might offer a ‘frog man’ safety within a human village or tribe.
Primates of all sorts have complex social behaviour. Even
non-human primates, apes or monkeys, will tend to be territorial, particularly
against rival apes or monkeys of their own species, but also against competing
apes or monkeys of other species. On the other hand, they are
tolerant and supportive of members of their own band or troop, even while
aggressive towards other bands and troops. Moreover, they will
admit new outside members to their troop, or tolerate outsiders in certain
Wandering males may be evicted from one monkey troop, and eventually
find acceptance in another. Among Baboons, subordinate males or females
can be adopted. Meanwhile, in the case of a solitary ape like the
Orangutang, adult males will drive all other adult males from their territory,
while being hospitable to subordinate or juvenile males, and particularly
subordinate to females. Among known stone age human groups,
foreign females were often incorporated into social groups, and in fact,
were actively stolen.
So, a sufficiently humanoid bufoid, sufficiently resembling either a
subordinate or juvenile male, or a female might well manage to insert itself
into a primate band, obtaining the safety of the troop and the protection
of the more powerful members. It would never be an apex creature,
dominant males and females tend to oppose rivals trying to join, and anyway,
the life of a dominant is feet first.
True hominids would probably be far more efficient and effective than
bufoid humanoids. In direct competition, the frog men would
lose out, so rather than being beaten, they were joining. As
well, hominids were swiftly becoming apex predators and dominating regions
in which they existed. So imitating humans might well cut down on
pressure from other predators, and improve the eating by sharing in human
kills. Under the right circumstances, the adaptive pressure
to copy humans might have been quite strong and quite effective.
And likely, it occurred over a vast period of time. The
hominids of Caspak appear to adopt a series of guises, from australopithecine
to homo erectus to neandertaloid to true human. This may imply
that the mimicry has been going on for millions of years. It
is likely that in nature alongside hominid communities, the amphibian dopplegangers
would zero in on whatever evolutionary stage the hominids were, passing
through previous forms quickly and imperceptibly.
In isolation, without a hominid population to imitate, they may well
pass through each stage more deliberately. Lacking biological
or social cues, the amphibian humanoid probably spends time in each accumulated
stage before moving on.
So what about the various handicaps? It might be possible
for the amphibians to move to bellows lungs, or improve a throat pump to
the point where its appearance and function are similar. It
seems unlikely that they would make the leap from cold blooded to warm
blooded, but then again, Caprona is permanently wet, humid and warm due
to its inverted bowl shape and volcanic heating, so in fact, being cold
blooded may not be as much of a handicap here. The Caprona environment
may well be perfect for amphibian para-hominids.
Textual Evidence to Support the Amphibian
Is there any evidence to support this elaborate contention?
Well, apart from the fact that the females lay vast quantities of eggs
in the water, which then hatch as fish, morph into tadpoles and eventually
lose their tails to become land dwellers? Some...
For one thing, Burroughs himself seems uncomfortable characterizing
his creatures as fully human. Burroughs himself repeatedly refers
to the egg spawn as tadpoles and makes direct reference to the life cycle
“From the egg, then, the individual developed slowly into a higher form,
just as the frog's egg develops through various stages from a fish with
gills to a frog with lungs. “ (Out
of Time's Abyss, Chapter 3)
When describing Ajor, a native Galu female encountered by Thomas
Billings, one of the outsiders, Billings refers to her as in peculiar terms:
“She was quite the most wonderful animal that I have ever looked upon,
and what few of her charms her apparel hid, it quite effectively succeeded
in accentuating.” (The
People that Time Forgot, Chapter Two)
Behavioural Evidence of Non-Human Nature
But another clue might be in the ‘instinctual’ nature of the Capronans
intelligence. When they move from one stage to the next, they
do not need to be taught skills. Instead, they simply know
by instinct. Hardwired or instinctive abilities to use tools
at certain stages of development may be more symptomatic of a doppleganger
creature, than a true human. For this, let us consider the
words of Tomar, a recently ascended warrior:
"Last night, in the very middle of the night, the call came to me. Like
that it came into my head" -- and he struck his hands together smartly
once -- "that I had risen. I have been waiting for it and expecting it
for a long time; today I am a Kro-lu. Today I go into the coslupak" (unpeopled
country, or literally, no man's land) "between the Band-lu and the Kro-lu,
and there I fashion my bow and my arrows and my shield; there I hunt the
red deer for the leathern jerkin which is the badge of my new estate.”
(The People That
Time Forgot, Chapter 4)
This is a peculiar thing. For this man, he does not possess the
skills or knowledge to make and use bow and arrows as a Band-lu.
Yet, he will not learn these skills from other Kro-lu. Rather, in
order to join the Kro-lu, he has to demonstrate these skills at the outset.
It appears that the tool making or tool using skills are innate with the
transformation, not requiring learning at all. Essentially,
this is tool making instincts refined to a high degree. Social
behaviours also seem to be hardwired into them:
"But why do you wish to kill me?" I asked. He (Tomar) looked
puzzled and finally gave it up. "I do not know," he admitted. "It is the
way in Caspak. If we do not kill, we shall be killed, therefore it is wise
to kill first whomever does not belong to one's own people. This morning
I hid in my cave till the others were gone upon the hunt, for I knew that
they would know at once that I had become a Kro-lu and would kill me. They
will kill me if they find me in the coslupak; .....It was difficult
to bring myself to take a human life. I could feel no enmity toward this
savage barbarian who acted almost as wholly upon instinct as might a wild
beast, (The People
That Time Forgot, Chapter 4)
This automatic or instinctive motivation to kill rivals or outliers
confuses the new Kro-lu. He doesn’t understand why he needs to do
this, he simply accepts the instinct.
And in fact, instinct may be the only way Caspak can work.
Assuming that each Caspakian comes up individually, then there is almost
no room for human social development. Human society is built
around families, around the need to protect and nurture children.
The generational bonds hold primate societies together, thus the dominant
units in monkey societies are mother/daughter bonds, which can extend even
unto grandmothers. Sons are affiliated with mothers among monkeys,
while fathers are the most peripheral members of society. Among baboons,
troops are organized around powerful dominant males, their females, and
then subsidiary males and juveniles. Among humans, complex
lines of kinship, parentage and family ties are the social glue holding
By and large, at the core of any primate society are individuals who
are closely related, who are born one from another, or who grew up closely
together at the same time. In Caspak, however, no individual
can be sure of being closely related to any other individual. Nor
will any individual necessarily grow and mature with or on the same schedule
as any other individual, they are all on separate journeys.
There is not even the minimum need for a commitment of male and female
to raise young. Even birds find this commitment necessary to build
their nests, care for their eggs and eventually feed their hatchlings.
Among Caspakians, all a female does is drop some eggs in the pool in the
morning and then gets on with her day. There seems little motivation
to bond a male and female strongly or for any length of time.
"It will do them no good," remarked the man, a trace of excitement in
his voice. "It will do them no good, for the lion will wait until they
come out and take as many as he can carry away; and there is one there,"
he added, a trace of sadness in his tone, "whom I hoped would soon follow
me to the Kro-lu. Together have we come up from the beginning."
This may seem evidence of enduring commitment. But look again,
To-Mar is quite prepared to follow his instinctive programming and leave
So-Al behind. Further, he shows only mild and a rather intellectualized
regret at her imminent passing. This is a woman who has been
his companion ‘from the beginning’ literally, through several incarnations,
but he can only manifest a ‘trace’ of sadness.
On the other side of the coin, there is a decided lack of motivation
for adults to teach skills. Parents teach their children, adults
teach adopted juveniles. Among Caspakians, there are no children,
there are only ‘newly ascended’, who have no discernible filial relationship
with their older peers. Among primate societies, culture, including
language and tool use, is transmitted between linked generations.
Among Caspakians, there are no linked generations, simply a lot of unrelated
individuals passing through. Ultimately, Caspakians of a group
are effectively strangers to each other, fellow travellers without sentimental
ties, but not true friends or companions.
“Twice were members of his band mauled, and one was killed by a huge
and bellicose rhinoceros; but the instant the action was over, it was as
though it never had occurred. The dead man was stripped of his belongings
and left where he had died;” (The
People that Time Forgot, Chapter 5)
Based on this then, it seems remarkable that the Caspakians group socially
at all. Yet, not only is each level of Caspakian an increasingly
sophisticated tool user, but their linguistic and social capabilities grow
as well, and not just grow, Caspakians seem driven to associate in bands,
tribes and villages of their own kind just as automatically as they show
hostility to outsiders. And this despite the lack of inbuilt social
dynamics of child rearing or intergenerational ties that holds most human
and animal societies together.
So, given this set up, it appears that the Caspakians basic behaviours
are strongly driven by instinct. They can reason, they betray human
emotions, they are self motivated. But core motivations and skills
appear to be hardwired.
Is this human behaviour? Are hominids feasibly hard wired
to this extent, or capable of being hard wired? I don't believe
so. Outside of Caspak, instinctual drives to this degree seem absent
from humans. On the other hand, lower animals, like amphibians, may
have a very high degree of complex instinctive behaviour wired into them.
The Caspakians instinctual wiring suggests that they are imitating human
behaviours. Indeed, the wiring seems expressly designed to
imitate and *infiltrate* human societies. Thus, Tomar says:
“so will the Kro-lu (kill me) if they come upon me before I have won
my Kro-lu weapons and jerkin.” (People
That Time Forgot, Chapter 4)
In other words, Tomar needs his weapons and jerkin in order to win acceptance
in Kro-lu society. He must be able to pass first, as a member of
society, before he can join society. That’s an intriguing distinction.
Most individuals become members of society by slowly learning its rules.
Only an infiltrator learns the rules before he attempts to join.
In short, To-Mar evolves into a higher form, and then goes about obtaining
the tools and accoutrements that will allow him to insert himself into
a group of other individuals of this higher form. Essentially,
Returning to Pellucidar
Of course, if this theory is correct, we have a problem.
There are no true humans left on Caspak before our band of castaways.
So, apparently, the Lu people, even if they began as giant evolved humanoid
frogs, could not have mimicked a race that did not exist for them.
Nor is there any real evidence of such a race of human-mimics existing
anywhere on the outside world, or in outer Earth's fossil history.
And in fact, it would seem difficult for such a species to evolve even
to humanoid levels in the fierce and extinction ridden environments of
the outer world.
So, in order for this mimicry to have emerged, certain conditions must
First, the humanoid frogs must have had a sheltered biological and ecological
‘island’ to have emerged. Something along the size of Madagascar
or New Zealand, someplace so remote that not even reptiles appeared there
until the Amphibians were able to at least begin to defend themselves.
Perhaps this was indeed primeval Caprona, or perhaps Antarctica, some ancient
Madagascar, or even some Pellucidarean land.
We note that the original frogs seem to have evolved in Madagascar,
which has, from time to time, been separated for tens of millions of years
from the African mainland. The current separation of fifty
or sixty million years brought a wonderland of giant tortoises, lemurs
and birds. Perhaps there was a previous period of separation
that resulted in an Amphibian kingdom.
Second, this species must have avoided catastrophic extinction and survived
long enough to coexist with and occupy the same habitats as hominid species
for millions of years, for adaptive mimicry to flourish.
And third, given that the mimics continue to reproduce several hominid
forms in succession, it would seem that during the period of mimicry, several
of the hominid forms must have coexisted or continued to coexist.
Or else the mimics would have refined their mimicry and dispensed with
It seems likely that the evolution of mimicry took place in Pellucidar.
If the humanoid frogs evolved in Madagascar during a previous period of
separation, the timing is wrong. The joining of their paradise with
Africa, and the waves of extinction, would have taken place during the
era of the dinosaurs. This would have been forty or fifty million
years before any significant higher primates had evolved, and would have
lead right into the period of planetary mass extinctions. After
the end of the dinosaur era, Madagascar separated again, and new fauna
developed. If the humanoid frog had managed to survive Africa
at all, it surely would have re-established itself in Madagascar.
The most likely outcome is that the humanoid frog quickly became extinct.
On the other hand, Pellucidar is a planetary reservoir of species extinct
topside, and its geology and geography tends to work against species extinction.
The result is that there are a lot of niches occupied by living fossils.
The Frog would or could have survived there.
And of course, in Pellucidar, all of the hominid species survive as
living fossils. So in fact, a frog that learned to mimic hominids
would need to maintain the full suite, rather than just the current edition.
We've previously speculated that the anomalies in Caprona's animal populations
can be resolved by postulating an Pellucidarean origin.
Equally, Pellucidar seems to be the likely origin point for the adaptations
that would lead to this mimic species.
The Anomaly of the Wieroos
In another paper, I speculated that the Wieroos are not themselves
hominids, but may be representatives of an extinct Australian line of Marsupials
who evolved to parallel primates and raptors. That paper looked
at the Wieroos themselves in isolation, without addressing the other anomalies
In the context of this paper, another theory presents itself:
That the Wieroos may represent another line or development of the humanoid
frog. Certainly Wieroo behaviour appears to be at least as,
or more instinctually driven than the rest of Caspak's ‘Lu’ people.
Are the Wieroo a sub-race of Caspak's Lu? Well, if so, it
appears that they have completely abandoned adaptive mimicry.
By their wings and their appearance, they would be completely unable to
infiltrate human society. However, the evolution of flight
might seem to be a trade off.
Certainly, if the Wieroo are evolved flying amphibians, the variety
of human-like features and instinctive behaviours suggest that they evolved
fairly late in the Lu evolutionary history. This seems fairly
peculiar, as species late in their evolutionary history tend to be settled
in their ways. It is generalized species that produce new forms,
not highly specialized ones, and the Lu were highly specialized.
On the other hand, the seminal adaptation of Wieroo wings, probably
modified ribs, is documented with several varieties of lower reptiles only.
It may be that because of physiological similarities, such an adaptation
may have been easier among amphibians.
And in fact, there might even be an adaptive reason why amphibian Wieroo
would begin to evolve such a structure: Heat regulation.
Amphibian evolution already includes a prehistoric sailback form.
By developing ribs as small ‘wings’, the proto-Weiroo could have regulated
their temperature more effectively. Too cold, then turn the
wings to face the sun and they'd help warm up the body more quickly.
Too hot, turn at right angles and shed heat. They'd even have an
advantage over sailbacks in that the wings could be folded or wrapped around
the body to avoid unnecessarily shedding heat. Given modern
amphibians penchant for some limited skin respiration, they may have obtained
extra oxygen from these proto-wings. Oxygen exchange may have
actually been the reason for early flapping, using the proto-wings as a
kind of external lung.
Of course, such an adaptation would mean that mimicry is no longer necessary,
and that there are no longer true humans, or at least, no longer so many
true humans as to make mimicry useful. This implies that the Wieroo
may have actually evolved in Caprona, or some other isolated area of Pellucidar.
Over time, the expansion of the wings, particularly where gravity was
lower, as it might be in Pellucidar, might have translated into gliding
and even flying abilities. This would, of course, have required a
series of rapid adaptations.
There is, however, one big problem with this: Amphibians
as cold blooded, two chambered, low respiration creatures just do not have
enough energy for powered flight. And the Wieroo, within their
limits, are powerful flyers. Not only are they huge as flying
creatures go, among the largest and most massive flyers on record on the
surface (Pellucidar, notably, has produced equally or even more massive
flyers, and the Caprona pterodactyls are comparably gigantic), but they
have a range of several miles, and they are able to carry weights as heavy
as themselves. That takes a lot of energy. Of the
three known vertebrate flyers, two, the birds and bats, are clearly warm
blooded. The third, the pterosaurs, are believed to have been warm
I'm prepared to speculate that given the right conditions and adaptations,
cold blooded amphibians may be able to produce large creatures which mimic
humans. For all its dynamism, a human is a relatively slow
ground walking creature, so an imitation might not be outside of the energy
requirements of a cold blooded creature... Particularly in a hot
humid environment. On the other hand, I'm very reluctant to
speculate that cold blooded amphibians could manage the energy levels necessary
for powered flight demonstrated by the Wieroo.
Which may imply that both Wieroo and Lu are hot blooded amphibians?
Not out of the question, I suppose, since the reptilian dinosaurs and mammal
like reptiles mastered warm bloodedness. But if so, it's a hell of
a leap. Again, not out of the question, since the Lu line of
Amphibians would have been evolving away quietly since the Permian period.
But then again, it is far from proven.
The Wieroo penchant for using Lu for reproduction might be evidence
for relationships. If indeed that Wieroo males are actually
impregnating Lu females with chromosomes that are dominant to Lu recessives,
then the offspring of such unions would apparently be Wieroo. And
actual chromosomal mixing would mean that the Wieroo and Lu were effectively
the same species.
On the other hand, if as speculated in my paper on the Wieroo, that
it is actually female marsupial Wieroo implanting their young inside hosts,
would the Lu form an adequate environment? It's notable that
at one point, a Wieroo refers to a Lu female as a snake. This implies
that the Wieroo considers the Lu a completely different sort of creature
and may be drawing a warm blood/cold blood distinction. I would
imagine that if the Wieroo were mammalian, it might prefer a mammalian
host. On the other hand, if the Lu maintain a stable body temperature
and if the Wieroo offspring are adapted to be parasitic, it may work.
Finally, as a normal rule, one tends to expect that similar proximal
species will be related. Thus if we see two kinds of monkeys
in a South American jungle, we would expect that they would be far more
closely related to each other than to an Orangutan or Lemur.
So, on that basis, we might be justified in inferring a kinship between
Lu and Wieroo.
On the other hand, Caprona is the original mix and match ecology, with
completely unrelated species sitting side by side. The Lu apparently
wound up in an isolated area that humans could not enter. Possibly
they did so as eggs and tadpoles, given Caprona's geology of volcanically
driven underground rivers. The Wieroo would have been able
to establish themselves by flying over geographical barriers that kept
out true humans.
Folklore and linguistics provide contradictory evidence.
The legends of the Lu people seem to place the Wieroo as one of their own
species, growing up beside them, and tracing the evolution from small winged
folks to actual flyers. On the other hand, the Wieroo name
appears phonetically unrelated to the other racial names of the hominids
and primates, all of which end in the suffix Lu. This suggests
that the Wieroo may not be Lu. Or perhaps ‘roo’ is a phonetic
variant on ‘Lu.’ The two races speak a common language,
but then again, that language in all probability is not common to either
As to what the Wieroo are, I can describe four hypothesis:
1) They are a recent offshoot of the human line; 2) They are
a highly adapted Australian marsupial primate/raptor line; 3) They're an
unaccountably human seeming culmination of a reptilian draco line; 4) They're
a flying offshoot of the Amphibian hominid-mimic Lu.
In the past, others have made cases for (1), but I remain skeptical.
There is a case to be made for (3). For myself, I have made
and prefer (2) but can see a case for (4). I would happily invite
a knock down debate among the various possibilities.