The Banyan Bison: Some Observations

I recently read a post over at Zen Habits regarding creative inspiration hacks. The guest post by blogger Ben Cook lists five sources for inspiration regarding blogging. Initially I was surprised that he listed ‘Art’ as the last and least likely to consider muse, but he’s talking blogging in the regular sense not the stuff we do here at 1000 Days.

I used to collect links to great art that I knew would inspire me once I had the time to pay it some heed. I suspect had I looked harder and sooner I’d have come across plenty of starving artist portfolios. Some not so hungry I bet too. I mentioned Gorilla Artfare before, but I am going to do it again in the same month because right now they are doing it for me. Right now they are cranking out arguments against any writer’s block I might lamely posit as credible. I suspect they’d be able to stave off any casual speculative fiction work stoppage that you might have as well.

I don’t know that any of my prose here would be all that inspiring for an illustrator. If you are one and you find some, then feel free to create a visual derivative. Let me know in the comments if you do.

Today I am riffing on the piece on page 14 of the 2d Artist Magazine Patri Balanovsky was interviewed for….by….in?

The 14-spined Banyan Bison
This native of the forest edges of southern Dilingon Nato is rarely captured on film–at least as far as this author knows. This particular illustration is based on a combination of aboriginal storytelling, second-hand accounts, and distant personal sightings over a number of years spent in the tall-bush.

A Banyan Bull is marked by several outstanding characteristics. Most notable is the one that lends to the animal’s namesake: the unique banyan-like muscles which separate from the lower legs into thick strands and meet back up at the heel of the broad elephantine foot. It is thought that this separation substantially increases the animal’s leverage and therefore efficiency and speed. Further speculation by some fewer authorities–your author among them–suggests that these separate ropey muscles are able to cool more quickly. At twice the size of a Bismark Elephant you’d expect this animal to lumbar sluggishly, but in reality it is quite swift and remarkably nimble.

It’s gaping maw never closes and probably can’t considering the scale and proportion of it’s fang-like teeth. No one has ever found a skeleton of the animal that included the teeth. Most megafauna fans and biologists take Grainer’s word that the teeth are composed much like the horn of a rhino of hair rather than dentine and that the teeth simply decay as quickly as the flesh [Grainer, H.L. (2035). ‘Dentilogical Studies of Mega and Submegafauna’. Nature 749: 632-40].

The barely 14 dorsal spines of the of the beast are of course typically used to cool animals of this size, but the surface area and apparent cartilaginous or potentially even boney make up of the Banyan Bison spines makes them an insignificant heat sink. Most field reports and indeed the most dramatic of all local tales make these out as weapons in mating clashes between bulls. The animal will duck it’s head very low while running at it’s competitor full speed. Just before they clash each bull leaps toward his opponent with his back leading the way. They clash no more than a couple times before the lessor of the two is so bloody and injured that he is compelled to quit the endeavor. Ancient myths boast that following particularly raucous mating the breeding pair may even kill and eat the loser.

Word count: 629
Days <=174