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06.23.2017
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Spirit of the Wind

Eoterraphyta

Eoterraphyta, meaning "dawn land plant," are one of the oldest groups of Rixarn life, and the ancestors of all Terraphytes. They are the primary photosynthesizers and producers in Rixarn ecology, but unlike Plantae on Earth, they are often motile, and frequently predatory, using their long tendrils to move around.

All Eoterraphyta are obviously derived from a single basal form; this basal form is one of the most commonly fossilized soft tissued organisms from the Cupruzoic, and was a disc of plant matter with tendrils branching of it that it used for steering. Similar organisms can be found today on Rix, and are considered living fossils.

Eoterraphyta was the first organism on land, besides microscopic bacteria-analogues. Due to this they had a leg up in exploiting niches, and since Eoterraphyta was already motile, the evolution of forms that used their tendrils to drag themselves forward took fairly little time; the species also adapted to be able to detect relative levels of light using the degree to which its chloroplasts were active. This adaptation allowed it to move to better sources of light, which was crucial in the often overcast environment of Rix.

Eventually, some Eoterraphytes became sessile, and developed a fractal body plan. Each pad had three tendrils branching off at 120 degrees from each other, and each tendril had a smaller pad at the end. As the plant grew, not only would the pads and tendrils grow larger, but more layers of complexity would be added--this maximized the area available for photosynthesis, while retaining a very simple body plan and allowing the plant to easily reproduce by budding. Several genuses of Fractafolium grow on water, similar to lilypads, and they are often used as nurseries, since they have long, feathery tendrils reaching down into the deep water that collect nutrients.