4.6 Billion Year Symphony of Evolution Volume 2 Chapter 39
Last chapter recap: Lin decides to go to sleep.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, and WanderingGummiOfDoom.
Chapter Thirty Nine - Ancient Explosion
As countless days and nights pass, Lin's sleep continued.
Lin did not know how long it slept for. It would occasionally wake and see some wondrous scenes such as ice freezing the entire surface of water, or the seabed cracking open in a certain area, with lava destroying great patches of the green carpet.
The evolution of organisms was slow, but the changes in the world was very clear. The water surface rose slowly due to several reasons and once again flooded Lin's land base. Deep sea tremors continued to occur, tearing apart the seabed and its residents. Sometimes, the layers would merge together again, or enormous fissures would appear, randomly shooting out lava… …
Occasionally, the seabed would freeze. Enormous pillars of ice would reach down from the surface to the seabed and kill everything it touched. 1
These were all minor problems, and did not create any significant damage to Lin. They were not large enough in their scope, or the incidents did not continue for long enough to cause lasting damage. Every time Lin woke up, it would quickly repair the green carpet and then fall back into sleep. Lin wanted to see … … changes in life.
The time for life to collectively change was long. If Lin constantly moved, it would be boring. But the ability to "hibernate" could turn the long waiting periods into an instant.
Even though it was an instant to Lin, how long was it in reality?
Maybe several million years … … or a billion?
The evolution of organisms seemed to reach a new height. This was enough for Lin to wake up and explore the world again.
When Lin woke up, it immediately saw some wondrous yet strange organisms swimming above its green carpet.
These organisms were completely different than the ones it saw before its hibernation, but they were not unknown to Lin. When Lin hibernated, countless eyeballs recorded the changes in organisms. From the records, Lin could easily recognize which organisms these ones had evolved from.
When it received the information that the countless eyeballs had accumulated over time, Lin couldn't help but become excited.
This was a completely new world. Organisms evolved slowly, but … … could create miracles!
Lin was impatient to explore the surrounding environment. However, most of the eyeballs had been eaten or killed due to other dangers. There was only one eyeball remaining in one area.
This was a former abyss. The green carpet covered the seabed on the two sides of the abyss. After so many years, they were still absorbing the energy of the light. However, the abyss had narrowed more than half due to the tremors in the seabed and other changes. The pillars of smoke had disappeared, but it did not affect the richness of the organisms here.
An enormous monster swam out abyss. It had a long narrow body, two auxiliary limbs shaped like leaves to help with swimming. Its forelimbs were thick and had curved hooks. This organism was formerly a hooked worm. Its appearance had not changed greatly, only two enormous eyeballs appearing on its head armor. However, it had grown much bigger, just over two meters from less than half a meter. 2
This enormous hooked worm was hunting … … a trilobite climbing on the green carpet.
The trilobite had not changed greatly in appearance but there were many more varieties, from two millimeters to larger than a meter. This hooked worm was hunting a trilobite that was about thirty centimeters. It charged towards the trilobite, its forelimbs grabbing at the target and then crushing the armor of the trilobite with great force.
The fragments of the armor and the cells of the trilobite floated away in the water. The debris attracted other organisms.
Three organisms half a meter long swam over and slowly approached the hooked worm as it was tearing at its prey. Lin called them helmet fish. These organisms were the descendants of the flat fish. After countless generations, they were now a few centimeters almost ten times their original size. Their leaf-shaped body became thicker, and their heads were covered in a hemispherical armor. Thick limbs called "fins" appeared on the sides of their bodies to help them swim.
They were not hunters, but opportunistic organisms, attracted by the debris floating off the trilobite. They had a long narrow crack covered in small teeth under their round head armor used to filter food from the water.
The hooked worm was wasteful in its feeding and would leave a great amount of edible debris. It also threw away the trilobite, not even eating half. The helmet fish enjoyed their free food.
Lin now knew the meaning of "free". It meant obtaining something without using any effort.
Lin planned to carefully observe their new organisms, and every battle. If it found interesting abilities, Lin would capture it and deconstruct it to discover the mysteries.
Lin was not curious about the hooked worm right now, but these helmet fish. After they finished eating the trilobite pieces, they swam away, and Lin's eyeball immediately followed.
Lin's observing eyeball was about one centimeter in diameter, its transparent outer shell covered in a protective layer against corrosion. It was also covered in transparent stingers and could propel themselves by spouting water. A structure like the eyeball could easily get stuck in the esophagus of other organisms so the other organism would be unable to feed. But even with a structure like this, not many eyeballs managed to survive.
The eyeball followed the helmet fish. They crossed the sea abyss, several enormous pieces of rock, and then came to a completely new environment.
This region had great numbers of corals. These organisms had not changed much since Lin's hibernation, but the shells they created grew taller as they would not be dissolved. The corals who had originally been several dozen centimeters tall had grown into enormous entities. The coral reefs they formed spread outwards like a mountain range, the tallest almost several hundred meters in height.
Lin had obtained many new terms during its hibernation. While it still did not understand the meaning in some of them, it felt it could use them to describe many things.
This patch of corals was green. Lin's green carpet had caused this. If any organisms built their home on the green carpet, the part of the green carpet which was covered would break themselves up, and then come to rest on top of the structure that the organism built/
As the green carpet would not block the openings in the corals, they did not affect the growth of the corals.
There was a variety of groups of organisms living on the coral reef. Several helmet fish slowly moved through the reef, their heavy and thick head armor obstructing their speed. Due to this, other organisms could easily threaten them … …
Suddenly, the helmet fish seemed to discover something. They quickly hid into the cracks in the rocks nearby.
Lin also discovered an enormous organism coming close.
A round armor covered this organism. It had a dozen thick tentacles at its head which were covered in suction cups edged in denticles.
Lin called it an "thunderstone." 3 This hunter was three meters long, and most likely had evolved from a cutter shell. Its head had a water spout still. It had completely abandoned its habit of burrowing into the sand and became an active hunter.
The thunderstone moved furiously, a pair of long tentacles shooting out and immediately grabbing the slowest helmet fish. Then it used all its other tentacles to cover the helmet fish completely. The denticles tore at the helmet fish's unprotected body, and red blood spilled from the wounds.
As the thunderstone chewed on the helmet fish, the two helmet fish which hid in the cracks did not reach safety. Lin saw them quickly flee out of the cracks. Then, a segmented arthropod completely covered in armor grabbed one of the helmet fish and pulled it back in.
That was a trilobite. Some trilobites could grow a meter long, and become powerful hunters.
The remaining helmet fish left the coral reef and swam alone towards the water surface.
This really was … … a cruel region of water.
Lin thought back to the past. At that time, the majority of organisms fed on unicellular organisms, but much seemed to have changed. This fleeing helmet fish was soon targeted by a third kind of hunter.
These organisms were far relatives of the helmet fish, and called "boring fish," an evolution of the round-mouthed flat fish. They grew smaller rather than larger. Each boring fish was only a few millimeters but their round-shaped mouth and the inward hooked teeth became even more terrifying. The boring fish were now covered in barbed segments with inward hooks. Lin knew that these were called "scales." They swarmed in their tens of thousands, and used their teeth to tear apart the skin of the helmet fish. Then they twisted and burrowed in, consuming the flesh and destroying the organs of the helmet fish. 4
Compared to the macro-organisms, the swarming attacks of smaller organisms was even scarier. They would not waste anything and ate every part of the helmet fish.
While the helmet fish had a hard head armor, its body did not have much defensive ability. It could only endure the pain of its organs being bored into as it waited for death.
Lin could not understand why the helmet fish would grow a shell on its head that was an inconvenience and useless. however, they did have some special ability to flee their hunters.
These terrifying and small organisms did not even leave behind Lin's observing eyeball. they surrounded the eyeball and used their mouths to break the spikes around the eyeball. Their mouths were extremely hard, they could easily breaking the spikes covering the eyeball and even breaking into the outer shell of the eyeball.
The remaining eyeball also died … …
Would the journey of the new world end here?
Of course not!
There was an area far away from the coral reef, this place which had once been the land of crystals, an area which had not been affected by the changes in the environment for these years.
Several enormous crystals around the mountain of crystals suddenly shattered, and countless organisms covered in crystal armor charged out.
Translator Ramblings: While I have written things as "corals," the structures are more likely to be sponges, and so this would be a sponge reef instead.
Lin had a quick nap and … we're at a new era.
- Editor's note: Not the best video, but real phenomenon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAupJzH31tc ↩
- The hooked worms are most likely Anomalocaris. ↩
- The "thunderstone" is most likely Plectronoceras, or possibly an Nautiloid. The Chinese term used here is one for the Belemnites, a later order of cephalopods, "arrow stone" referring to the narrow shell of its fossils. However, the Belemnites fossils were usually called "thunderstones" in English before they were recognized as remnants of organisms. ↩
- Most likely Wiwaxia. ↩