Some of the cells in Shalimar's oceans stayed joined end to end in long strings. We have similar organisms on earth. The cords are long and individually fragile, but where there are many of them they make up a noticeable biomass.

Cords float at or near the surface in warm, shallow water areas. They may be green, brown, orange or purple. They are indifferent to the state of the ocean floor below them.

Cords do not seem to have differentiated into many other species. Occasionally they are found joined sideways as well as end to end, forming ribbons, but this form does not seem to have become particularly successful, except in one variety. Our survey team is working on a theory that some sort of genetic combination of a ribbon and an early animal form is responsible for the snake-like green gulpers that swim in Shalmar's seas. This life form may have started off simply as a multi-layered ribbon that was hollow in the center. This hollow might have held bubbles of gas to help promote buoyancy, but if the ribbon were a sort of collapsed tube, some unicellular life forms would probably have found their way into it. If the lower cells, starved for light, had begun to digest these cells that washed into the opening, a sort of proto-intestine might have formed in the center of the tube-like ribbon. Fueled by this additional source of energy, and perhaps propelled by cilia, the ribbon might have slowly become more mobile, capturing more floating cells as it went. Over a long period of time, it might have developed into the swift, surface swimming green gulpers that now patrol Shalimar's oceans.

© Elizabeth Anne Viau, 1996. This material may be used freely for instructional purposes but not sold for a price beyond the cost of reproduction. Please e-mail me at if you use this material. I'd be interested to know how it works for you!