Dear Alf #65: Meek, muscles & mating

It’s time for a spontaneous biology lesson, with Alf the Mudokon! Can you tell your Glukkons from your Grodwort?

Look here. Now look down. What is that? That’s your BODY! (If not, keep looking further down until you see your body. THAT’S your body.)

Believe it or not, underneath all that skin and maybe clothes is a pretty Mudtastic mangle of mushy machines. One set of squishy systems can have a profound effect on another group of gloopy gadgets. And what happens when you gets lots of them together can be truly Spooce-tacular!

If you have no idea what I’m garbling about, you clearly need to brush up on your BIOLOGY! Luckily Alf is here to guide you through this complex subject with all his expertise on ecology, evolution and anatomy! Get out your notebooks, class.

Drunkenfool: alf, what’s the BIOLOGICAL diversity on mudos? like, the variety of creatures, how many, etc? (On earth,for example there are like 900 thousands known living insects which would be about 80 percent of all living things, while around 99 percent of all of our everything is extinct)

Alf: Oddworld’s a pretty big place. I’ve done a lot of traveling, but I ain’t got the Moolah for intercontinental flights or access to the Vykkers’ Bestiaryboxx. I can’t give ya numbers, but I can give ya rules! As a rule, the meek outnumber the powerful. It might look like there’s a whole lotta Sligs between you and that Bird Portal, but rummage around in the undergrowth and count the Fuzzles or Rats. Assuming you don’t get shot, you’ll probably lose count. Now kick it down a notch and count the Bolamites or the Slurgs. I ain’t even got lenses to see smaller than that, but you’d better believe there’s bigger worlds down there. Interestingly, the same holds true for Mudokon slaves versus powerful industrialists. It takes a lot of Mudokons to operate a factory that maybe only a single Gluk runs. It makes ya wonder what would happen if those kinds of numbers started standing up against the superior firepower.

It seems that a lot of creatures from Odd are similar, highly evolved versions of creatures from Earth. Stunks are like skunks, Fleeches are like leeches that can attack from afar, and Bees are, well, bees.

Alf: Whadaya mean, ‘highly evolved’? Our creatures have their own evolutionary history that’s totally independent of everything you’ve got going on down there. Well, maybe not totally independent. They’ve got much the same threats and dilemmas to be working against: shortage of food, shortage of physical support, shortage of not getting eaten. Some shapes and adaptations just make sense, y’know? I’m pretty sure you’ve got animals that shoot their tongue out to catch things, even if your equivalent ain’t a two-headed sharp-toothed worm.

Billy: I have a question, in Abe’s Odyssey, when he was given power by the ancients, did that change his physical appearance, im speaking muscular wise, the other mudokons (spelled wrong, but whatevz)are all bony, but he is ripped…sorta

Alf: Ha ha ha! Abe! “Ripped”! You crack me up. Seriously now, Abe’s about as skinny as they come outside of starvation. When the rest of us were carrying heavy loads and doing a hard day’s work in RuptureFarms, that high-celled patsy was nudging machines along the floor. And now we’re bustin’ our butts building villages, hefting tomahawks and hunting food, and he doesn’t so much as lift a finger to help with the bonfires. Gimma a break. The only ripping Abe does comes from his behind.

exo: Hey Alf, another question for you about the wildlife of oddworld. How do the reproductive cycles of the various species on oddworld work? are Scrabs HErmaphrodites? do paramites have queens? do fleeches even reproduce? what about slogs, do they have a queen or are they born as a mix of males and females? (Without the use of a queen)

Alf: Most of the creatures you’ve seen so far belong to superspecies: tiny numbers of reproducing males and females, lots of members of other “castes”. In Stranger’s Wrath you started seeing species more familiar to you, with mostly even splits of two sexes as far as we can tell. There are far more reproductive models that you’ll learn about as we introduce new species. Paramites have Queens, they sit ginormously in the nests. Female Scrabs form herds with the leader being the ‘Queen’, while the males are expelled and left to fend for themselves. Who knows where Slogs come from, if they have a Queen she’ll be locked away and forced to produce large numbers of disposable offspring. Fleeches I don’t even wanna think about.

Kinga: I’m also curious about the Slogs: where did they came from? I know that they are killing machines, but are they used to be tame and nice creatures before they got to the Sligs?

Alf: I’ve heard some of the eldest shamans talk about Slogs like they could be tender, loving lifelong companions. I’ve also heard them talk about how tasty boiled grodwort is, so they’re clearly not to be trusted.

rui: and finally there are humans in oddworld?

Alf: I sure hope not! Oddworld’s got enough problems already.

Wait, why are you leaving my Rehab? Hey, come back! I didn’t mean it like that! Fine, see if I care! You’re… you’re coming back next week, right? For Fan Art Tuesday?

If you do forgive Alf enough to ask him more questions, simply pop them in the comments below or use the hashtag #DearAlf on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll see you for more Dear Alf next week!