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They weight around 60 to 80 kilograms and have a long trunk like proboscis used to grab food. A small and compact body with a really flexible spine to be able to curl on itself and lacking a lot of ribs. The limbs are quite long and powerful in comparison to the rest of the body.. Not like a giraffe but more like a horse on steroids.

Here's the best sketch I was able to do on my phone hope it doesn't get deleted automatically

The front limbs have two anchor points marked with two green patches for better visibility on the sketch. From those anchor points starts a shield that rounds to the shape of a pea pod around the body. On top of the spine right before the beginning of the neck there's another osseus anchor point for the top shield. The creature has 3 shields in total and when it curls on itself the shield is fully closed creating a protective pod. The creature can escape by rolling on itself if there are inclined terrains or valleys. It can also set the most outer layer of the shield on fire. This is a migratory animal, becsuse every time it rolls away to escape it also burns down grasses and trees making the territory inhabitable for a few months.

Invetibly people and this small elephant like thing will meet, and since hunting them off would result in people losing their homes to fire and smoke it doesn't seem the best idea. So how would cavemen deal with it? They could ignore it, but what if a stupid child scares one off turning everything to hell fire? What if a big predator finds it?

I just realized the entire description of this animal might be useless for the question, but honestly I dont know... Just tell me if I have to remove it.

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  • $\begingroup$ How tall is this animal? You said the leks are long compared to the rest of the body, so it might be taller than people are imagining. Which might also impact how your cavemen deal with it. Also, what is the source of the fire? Chemical? Magic? If the former, how does it ignite, how long does it stay lit, how does the creature avoid barbequing itself? $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2021 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Xavon_Wrentaile it burns fat for fuel, has a mechanism which triggers fire when rolling and hitting the blade/shields one against the other, the shields protect the animal inside from flames which wpuld burn its short furr and it is evolved to resist high temperatures. $\endgroup$
    – user81643
    Jan 10, 2021 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Xavon_Wrentaile about 1 meter and half in height. $\endgroup$
    – user81643
    Jan 10, 2021 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ I noticed the cloven hooves - seems intentional - is the animal meant to scale things? $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Jan 10, 2021 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Mikey yes it is..... $\endgroup$
    – user81643
    Jan 10, 2021 at 18:04

2 Answers 2

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Pit trap.

People don't like these creatures. They start fires and burn down their homes or crops or hunting grounds

Even if you leave Mr PeaPod alone he might still be startled by a bear or pack of wolves, curl up and start fires. Twice per year he causes fires anyway, when he migrates in and out of the area.

So we should hunt Mr. PeaPod to extinction. But in such a way that we don't have to chase him across the landscape, starting fires as we go.

Fortunately for us Mr PeaPod is a large animal. This makes him vulnerable to short falls. Especially so because of his rigid shell. So dig a four foot pit trap for him to wander into and break a leg or two. Then stick him with swords until he stops moving.

If you capture a baby Mr PeaPod (Master PeaPod) then tame him and use his shell to fry eggs on.

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If you were going to have an animal that can travel by rolling, I would go with a build closer to an armadillo (compact, armored, lower to the ground, very long noses). There are a LOT of questions about organisms that can start/start themselves on fire on this website, so look around and see what fits your needs best.

I'm guessing these things migrate collectively, and the environment they live in would become filled w plants that are fire-resistant or depend on seasonal fires from these things to release seeds. Long-term plants would be destroyed without adaptations, and extreme seasonal fires are likely to make the animals in the areas have adaptations for fire (resistance to smoke inhalation, quick flight at the smell of smoke, etc.) It would require a somewhat specialized predator to hunt these things - most others would develop strong aversions to animals that acted/smelled like them (leading to copycat animals...?)

Such a transformative species would have a profound impact on the ecosystems, and would likely be mythologized. Human interactions are rather unpredictable, so I proceed with caution.

  • People could decide to hunt these things. Specialized hunting skills would need to be developed, likely involving areas cleared of dry plants, encirclement, and possibly rings of spikes in the ground (a bamboo-like plant would be good in these ecosystems due to fast growth, so I'm picturing bamboo stakes in the ground). These people would likely be nomadic, so losing their homes would not be an issue. entrap it, encircle it with stakes, then kill it with atlatls or bows. Ignore the fire - it cooks itself! Trapping and killing these things in pits would be an ideal way to hunt - they can be killed with ease and fire danger is contained. Their behavior of rolling down hills/slopes to escape danger means people could easily direct them in predetermined directions to traps/ambushes. The capacity to start fires is probably chemical-based and could likely be depleted by deliberately provoking a response.
  • People could worship them. They become mystical symbols of life/death/renewal. For cavemen, this would probably involve seeking behaviors, and either attempt to domesticate OR provoke responses (symbolically invoking gods). I'm thinking sacred Minoan bulls equivalent. Death at their hands might even be considered deeply symbolic. They might be mythologized, and are likely the source of fire for early hominids. Such a culture would have heavy use/symbolism to fire. Treating them as sacred doesn't preclude hunting, though - many "primitive" cultures reserved their highest place for their food animals.
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