Last Wednesday, astronomers made an astonishing accidental discovery while studying the atmospheric composition of the exoplanet Gliese 581 c. Their observations demonstrated with absolute certainty that the planet is inhabited by an animal which has come to be popularly known as the Cow-Shark. Cindy C. Carnell, a xenoethologist at the State University of Northern South Dakota, has tentatively named the new species Xenobovinus pistrix, and is attempting to determine the cow-shark’s life cycle and evolutionary history:
For many years, we believed that the Cow-Shark was impossible on evolutionary grounds.1 Now, much to our surprise, we know that this animal exists, but we really don’t know a whole lot yet about it. There is some evidence that this species bears live young and secretes a milk-analogate. But what we are really at a loss to figure out is the cow-shark’s means of locomotion. Since the animal has gills, we are fairly certain that it lives out its adult life underwater. But since it has a pair of legs as well as fins, we’re really not sure how it gets around. It is possible that it spends its life, or part of its life with its head in the water and its feet on the shore.
James Walters, Marketing Director of Exotic Pets™, Inc., issued a press release in the wake of this breaking news, stating that his company “hopes to import these animals for the exotic pet market within the next three or four years.”
Since Gliese 581 c is more than twenty light years distant from Earth, this confident statement suggests that Exotic Pets™, Inc. has made important technological discoveries which they have not yet made public.
Photo based on the following:
“Ayrshire cow”. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
“Carcharodon carcharias drawing” – Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
- As opposed to the family Hexanchidae, Cow Sharks ↩