I am an evolutionary biologist. My research has been described as challenging Darwin's theory of Natural Selection.
I see things differently! So when I go searching, I have little idea what I might find.
On Saturday afternoon, after a torturous morning of wind, rain and noise, I left the sanctuary of suburbia (Moto Dynamics) to embark on an epic field excursion.
I travelled many miles on a lonely highway before descending deep in to a dank and misty valley, midst the rolling hills of Roelands. As the struggling light of winter faded early beyond the ridges, I went further down and down some more, into a place I'd expect only wilderpeople would go.
Though I didn't find any wilderpeople, I did find some Wallings.
The Wallings are a unique species. I suspect that their lineage has its origin in the early Enduriassic period; but I could be wrong. Their predecessors may have arisen in the older precursor period of the Trialascene.
Whatever the case, this is a special breed of people. Their tolerance to the elements and tenacity in the face of environmental adversity suggests to me that they are, themselves, comprised only of alloys, plastics and rubber. They appear to be micro-habitat specialists; dominant in their niche biome, occupying habitats of mud, fallen trees, slippery grass, large boulder rocks and escarpments and fast-flowing streams.
A young male Walling; on the hunt.
In all of the time I was able to observe them, I did not see them grazing. Hence, I conclude they are powered only by hydrocarbons (primarily two stroke).
In terms of their circadian rhythm and activity patterns, they are clearly diurnal; readily and most easily observed during the day. That does extend, however, to crepuscular activity. Highly mobile and quite obviously matutinal, I was able to observe them in a new location (the rolling hills of Pinjarra at Prestige Series Round 4) very early on the second day of my expedition.
First thing in the morning the matriarch is effervescent. However, the young males are heavy-bodied, slow and lethargic. The dominant male also moves incredibly slowly as the sun rises, but (unlike the young males) does seem to act with the intent of moving the herd forward in the right direction for the day.
This species is not at all nocturnal; that would be physiologically impossible. Like all highly evolved animals they must require sleep. The dominant male has, however, been observed active late at night (on social media).
I hypothesize that this species is ectothermic, as the young males get especially more agile as the day progresses. As the sun is at it's highest and the day is at it's warmest, activities culminate in incredible feats of animal behavior that I have not previously observed in similar congeners (those of the same Genus, but a different Species).
Moreover, research has shown these same young males to be virtually inactive as soon as they retire to their overnight refuge, strengthening the hypothesis of ectothermy.
A tough breed, observed to vigorously defend their territory.
One thing that I found most incredulous about the Wallings was the altruistic behavior of the family group. Observed when the conditions are most harsh, I noted the family concentrates all energy and resources on the welfare of the individual suffering the most at any point in time. These types of selfless acts are seldom observed in the animal kingdom.
No matter how hard the conditions, it is "one in all in for the Wallings".
Truly a unique species.
When one is at his weakest the rest of the cohort swarm in to assist. Like Meerkats.