RUN FOR THE HILLS
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13-05-2010, 10:06 AM
RUN FOR THE HILLS
The Shrike is real!

I'm scared. Someone hold me.

...No, actually, this is just really, really cool. See, Dan Simmons wrote the Hyperion Cantos, and one of the major features of the series was a character called the Shrike. The Shrike was a semi-organic killing machine, an eight-foot-tall monster covered in spikes. It is, apparently, indestructible, and has the ability to "step outside" time. Its purpose and intention is never revealed.
And one of its more memorable habits is of pinning you to the Tree of Thorns - a skyscraper-sized metallic tree covered in spikes, where it leaves you to writhe for eternity in agony, never allowing you to die.

Artist's impression:

[Image: The+Shrike+Hyperion.jpg]

Anyway, yeah, it's not exactly real, but it was based on something that is. Meet the real shrike.

[Image: loggerhead-shrike-bird-picture_9696.jpg]

Now, you're probably going "Awww, how cute... but wait, how is that a killing machine?" One reason:

[Image: great-grey-shrike.jpg]

Tree of Thorns.

The shrike has actually evolved to take advantage of thorny plants. Its primary method of killing its prey is to impale it on the spikes.

Not so cute now, huh? Definitely cool, though.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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13-05-2010, 12:33 PM
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
What I want to know is how it evolved to do that. Must have been a fascinating process.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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13-05-2010, 12:59 PM
 
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
It is totally amazing story. Actually I am surprised about that bird because it looks so much cute but at the same time it is a big killer and very dangerous for small lives. So the cuteness is the power of that bird.
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13-05-2010, 01:00 PM
 
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
Pretty easily I imagine. It'd be like many discoveries made by humanity; accidental. We already know that birds are intelligent and capable of teaching their offspring, thus it becomes a kind of cultural tactic. When the original members of the species learned to do this, they passed it on, it gave them an edge and thus those that continued to use this tactic became more prolific. Fast forward, and you have a species that relies upon this convenient and readily available, not to mention simple and less dangerous, method of killing and containing their food.
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13-05-2010, 01:37 PM (This post was last modified: 13-05-2010 01:43 PM by Unbeliever.)
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
(13-05-2010 12:59 PM)martine4161 Wrote:  It is totally amazing story. Actually I am surprised about that bird because it looks so much cute but at the same time it is a big killer and very dangerous for small lives. So the cuteness is the power of that bird.

Huh. Funny how that bot managed to sum up my thoughts on the subject. Big Grin
(13-05-2010 01:00 PM)Ceryle Wrote:  Pretty easily I imagine. It'd be like many discoveries made by humanity; accidental. We already know that birds are intelligent and capable of teaching their offspring, thus it becomes a kind of cultural tactic. When the original members of the species learned to do this, they passed it on, it gave them an edge and thus those that continued to use this tactic became more prolific. Fast forward, and you have a species that relies upon this convenient and readily available, not to mention simple and less dangerous, method of killing and containing their food.

Oh, yes, I don't doubt that it's passed down through the birds' ability to teach. What I want to find out is how the first one learned it. A single, accidental occurrence of its prey impaling itself on a thorn probably wouldn't be enough, and I doubt that this is a frequent thing.
I've been thinking about it for a while, and I'm pretty sure I'm starting to figure it out, but I don't have much time right now. I'll post my theory later and we can all laugh at how wild a guess I'm making.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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13-05-2010, 01:49 PM
 
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
I doubt it'd be as wild a guess as you say; but I will never the less be looking for your post.
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14-05-2010, 01:56 AM
 
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
Woo i will surely post this information on my site.
Regards
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15-05-2010, 11:28 AM
 
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
- Just joined the forum today. Was looking for this information since quite some time.

Regards

Steven
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15-05-2010, 01:49 PM
 
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
This bot has a name? Lol ^_^

Behold! Steven, the bot!
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16-05-2010, 09:50 AM
RE: RUN FOR THE HILLS
Anyway, here's what I've come up with:

- Shrikes evolve a tendency to live in thorny areas, granting them defense from predators.
- Shrikes retreat to thorny areas when threatened and tend to hunt in and around thorny areas.

And from there, I think Ceryle already mentioned the ability of birds to learn. I don't know...

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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