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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:The same disclaimers hold for this as for the candy raver thread...

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New Species Report: Homo olarius (Southern California Surfer)
Michael L. Ginsberg, M.S.

Abstract:


We report here the finding of a new species which resides on the beaches near Santa Barbara, CA. This new species, which we have tentitavely designated Homo olarius (wave man), is commonly known as the Santa Barbara Surfer and is morphologically very similar to H. sapiens sapiens. We describe initial findings on its physical appearance, behavior, habitat, and life cycle.

Introduction:

During a visit to Santa Barbara, CA, U.S.A. in December of 1998, we observed several dark hominid forms moving on the nearby beach. These creatures appeared to be attached to long, flat board-shaped objects with one pointed end and a streamlined shape. These boards, known as surfboards by locals, featured between one and three ventral fins that protruded from the rear at right angles to the plane of the board.

Shortly after the first sighting, these creatures were observed in the water. They repeated a curious behavior in which they floated there on their surfboards in a group for up to ten minutes, at which point, a number of them would suddenly begin to paddle violently with their hands and stand up on the boards as a wave approached. They would then ride the board on the advancing front of the wave as it began to break. As they approached the shore, disaster seemed inevitable, but they would suddenly sink back into the water and re-surface behind the wave as it crashed on the beach.

The local belief is that surfers (the local name for the animals) are, indeed, Homo sapiens sapiens, but some natives suspect that they are a separate subspecies with the proposed name Homo sapiens olarius. We have evidence to support these animals as members of a novel species, although they do appear to be closely related to H. sapiens, and thus in the same genus.

Physical Description and Anatomy:

H. olarius is closely humanoid, which could explain the local belief that this species is actually a subspecies of H. sapiens. H. olarius, like the closely related H. sapiens varies in shape and size on an individual basis. The average specimen, however, is somewhat taller and more athletic than the average human. Their skin pigmentation is often fairer and they more often have blond hair and blue eyes than their human relatives, although many surfers with other hair and/or eye colors have been sighted. In addition, some specimens are somewhat stocky and support slight-to-moderate paunches. They are all, however, clearly athletic, despite these variations.

Most surfers appear to be male, and while most locals report that female surfers exist, we have not observed any examples. Surfers of apparent human equivalent age as young as 12 or 13 to as old as 50 have been observed, although the majority appear to be in their late teens, twenties and even early thirties. The mean age is estimated at 20-25.

The surfer integumentary system is quite unique. They are covered by skin much like that of the closely related H. sapiens, but in addition, the Santa Barbara variety is often also covered by a dark-pigmented, thick, rubbery coating called a wet suit by locals. Wet suits are usually black or dark blue, but individual surfers appear to have different patterns of other, brighter colors on their wet suits. Whether this is a form of conscious decoration, or involuntary individual pigmentation is not clear. The wetsuit apparently grows on the body of the surfer, but they occasionally molt. Surfer wetsuits are sold in local sporting goods stores for trophy. They are likely collected from moltings or, in a more disturbing possibility, from the bodies of dead surfers. The wet suit apparently is permeable to water, but serves as a source of insulation by trapping a layer of water close to the surfers skin and thus preventing its movement. Whether the wetsuit is attached to the surfer by a membranous apparatus is not clear, since it may be merely hung over the surfers skin and held in place by its close approximation to the surfers form.

The so-called surfboard is another unique adaptation of H. olarius. At first, it was thought to be a reproductive organ or a stage in the surfer life cycle because surfers are so protective of their surfboards. However, the rough treatment exhibited by surfers towards their surfboards casts doubt on this hypothesis. This made investigation of the surfboard difficult because we could not approach a surfer closely enough to inspect its anatomy very closely. Fortunately, local merchants also collect molted surfboards or (possibly) surfboards from surfers who have been killed.

Surfboards vary in length, from approximately two to four meters. They are white overall, with some colored patterning. They are approximately flat structures, although they usually have a slight ventral curve. The sides are rounded and one to three ventral fins project near the posterior, as described above. The ventral fins appear to be made of a different substance than the board itself. The exact chemical composition of the board has not been determined since they are quite expensive to buy as trophies and no surfer or vendor could be persuaded to allow us to take a sample. The outer coating does seem to have a texture almost like keratin, but it appears to be hollow because it floats on water. The surfboard appears to be attached to the surfer by a thin, flexible cord that protrudes from the surfers ankle. Most of these cords were attached to the surfers right ankle, but some cords were observed on the left ankle. This cord, which is approximately one meter in length, probably functions to prevent the loss of the surfboard.

We suspect that surfers may be more closely related to an aquatic ape ancestor of H. sapiens. They have several adaptations that facilitate their watery environment. They have downward-pointing nostrils, like H. sapiens, to prevent the entry of water into the nasal cavity. Some have been observed to flare the nostrils, indicating a possibility of muscular control over nostril size. We have not been able to approach a surfer closely enough to determine if they posses webbed fingers or toes.

Habitat and Nesting Habits:

Surfers are primarily observed on the beach. They are not usually observed further than 100 meters from the ocean. They have also not been observed in the water more than 150 meters from the shore. They are only observed during daylight hours, but particularly during dawn and dusk. They have never been sighted at night. For more details, please see the "Behavior" section.

Surfers are observed on the beach starting during the twilight just before sunrise and will remain until dusk. It was this behavior of voluntarily jumping in the ocean at approximately 6:00 AM that initially led to our suspicion that surfers are not humans. What happens to surfers at night is a mystery. Since they have never been seen arriving at the beach in the morning or leaving at dusk, we do not believe that they leave the beach to nest for the night. In fact, surfers seem to appear suddenly and without warning. Several investigators have reported surfers appearing in places which had very recently (within the previous minute) been observed to be unoccupied. In the evening, a specimen will walk around a bend in the rocks by the beach, but will be gone by the time the researcher can round the bend to investigate.

We suspect that surfers may burrow in the sand on the beach at night. This would explain their sudden appearance in the morning. However, a newly appeared surfer will appear to be clean and free of sand and will also leave no hole in the sand of the appropriate size, which seems to indicate that surfers do not burrow at night. We have tried to follow their foot tracks in the evening, but since surfer tracks are identical to human tracks, we have always been confused by the effort.

Behavior:

Surfers practice curious behavior that seems to have no adaptive use. They will enter the water at a dead run, holding their surfboards in front of them. When the water is approximately knee-deep they will dive forward onto their surfboards so that they are laying on top of them and start to paddle violently with their hands. Should they encounter a breaking wave during this effort, they will dive under the water with their surfboards and resurface on the other side of the wave unharmed.

When they are approximately 20 meters from the shore (although they often go further, depending on where the waves start to break), they will stop and float in a group of as many as ten surfers, although groups as large as fifty have been reported by locals. When a sizable wave begins to break, several will orient their surfboards toward the shore and begin to paddle violently and then stand up on the surfboard, riding it on the advancing front of the wave. This is the famed behavior for which surfers have been given their common name. By apparently shifting his weight, a surfer can alter his course so as to ride sideways on the wave, slalom back and forth, or execute any other number of maneuvers.

Surfers have an innate ability to sense when an incoming wave will form a tall breaker. However, other than this special talent, they appear to only slightly more intelligent than the chimpanzee. They are capable of at least some speech and seem to have a rudimentary language, consisting of monosyllabic words. Examples which we have heard repeatedly include kool, dood, rd, and seet. We do not understand the meaning of these sounds, but they seem to follow a pattern of use and surfers do appear to understand each-other. Surfers are skittish when approached by investigators speaking any number of human languages. Surfers appear to be somewhat skittish around humans. This is odd because, aside from isolated incidents, humans are not known to attack or eat surfers. The only natural enemy to the surfer appears to be sharks.

Surfers have never been observed to feed, but we suspect that they subsist on a mostly aquatic diet consisting of fish and seaweed. They most likely dive to catch their food, but no surfer has ever been observed eating a fish or seaweed. In fact, all surfers who have been observed holding seaweed have been in the process of casting it away as if it were a nuisance, which puts our theory in doubt. Surfers have been known to raid human lunches left sitting on the beach, and are reported to prefer tuna sandwiches to other foods.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

The reproduction and life cycle of the surfer is perhaps their most mysterious aspect. While Santa Barbara locals do report that female surfers do exist, they concede that they are rare creatures, and that sometimes male surfers can be mistaken for females due to excessive hair length. Whatever the case, there does not seem to be a sufficient number of females present to support a steady population of surfers. Furthermore, no surfers under the apparent age of 12 or 13 have been sighted.

We propose that surfers may reproduce through binary fission, which would explain the apparent similarity in appearance from individual to individual. Some sort of genetic recombination during this form of reproduction might account for the minor individual differences which are observed. How a mammalian organism could undergo binary fission, however, is not understood, and this mechanism of reproduction is purely speculative.

Interestingly, male surfers appear to display an occasional interest in female H. sapiens when not in the water. Furthermore, they have been known to perform especially elaborate displays of surfing technique when female humans are present. Surfers even seem to have a word for an attractive female H. sapiens, which is au-sum chik. Whether they are physically capable of mating with human females is not clear, and they may simply be confusing human females with surfer females.

Surfer death is also poorly understood since we have not ever observed a dead surfer. We propose that many die while surfing, either by getting pulled into the undertow or by being eaten by sharks. No surfer older than approximately 50 apparent years of age has been sighted. Trophy collectors all deny having taken any trophies from dead surfers and claim that all such items were molted. We have not observed any such molted items, but we have also not observed any surfer hunting, although such activity might explain their apparent skittishness around humans.

Conclusion:

Surfers have been reported in other parts of the world, such as Hawaii, Portugal, and Mexico. Most sightings have been made on west-facing beaches, although some sightings in Florida have also been reported. The Hawaiian variant does not appear to posses a wetsuit at all times, although it is covered by a tough and often colorful covering from just above the knees to the waist. Other than this variation, most surfer varieties seem to be similar in physical description and behavior. It is not known whether they are all one species, if they migrate, or if they interbreed.

The habitat of the surfer is severely limited, and they appear to frequent beaches which are also frequented by humans. This was likely the source of earlier erroneous belief that surfers were H. sapiens or a subspecies thereof. It is difficult to track their movement, and it was once thought that they could remove their wetsuits, don human clothing, and even drive cars. However, where an animal like the surfer could obtain a car is unclear, and this is one of the major flaws with this theory. Surfers do not appear to be sufficiently cognatively advanced to safely operate a motor vehicle. That said, they possess heads similar in size and shape to H. sapiens, but we believe that the heads may be mostly air-filled and serve as buoyancy devices.

Finally, it is not known how many surfers there are world-wide, but most estimates place the number below one million. We do not yet understand what sort of niche they may fill in their ecosystems, and we should be careful to not disturb them. These beautiful and graceful creatures are rare indeed, and we should take great care to protect them.

Update:

We have returned to Santa Barbara in June of 1999 and observed H. olarius again. It appears that H. olarius is behaviorally similar from season to season and we have no new behavioral information to report.

However, we have made the exciting discovery that at least some specimens of H. olarius molt their wetsuits for the summer. Surfer skin appears to be identical to human skin for the extent of the body, but again, we could not get close enough to a surfer to make any more substantial observations. They are covered from approximately waist level to just above the knees by a loose covering which appears to resemble swim trunks, but they appear to be somewhat coarser in texture. The origin of these coverings is not well understood. We also do not know whether these can be removed, although no locals could ever recall having seen a nude surfer.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Pyro_Tech
Pyro_Tech

Crazy Nutter stuck in Farmidale...
Location: Newcastle, Australia
Member Since: 4th Jan 2003
Total posts: 264
Posted:Hey...
not bad I have to say...very amusing
I was suprised to see many likings from your 'study' to myself...not sure if that's a good or bad thing yet though!
Have to say though that I find absolutely no comparison between myself and the stereotypical 'surfer language'....
Anywayz,
Rad posting dude - completely far out.
hehe
Rach


We all take different paths in life, but no matter which path we take, we take a little of each other everywhere...

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Pyro_Tech:

Have to say though that I find absolutely no comparison between myself and the stereotypical 'surfer language'....
Anywayz,
Rad posting dude - completely far out.
hehe
RachThat's because you're not a California Surfer, dood!


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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