Night had fallen, but there were two scientists at work in the Kalahari Desert. Each one alone in the vast expanse and quite unaware of the other, though they were in fact working in neighboring valleys. Julia Jackson, a young English Zoologist, was three miles from base camp and her sleeping colleagues. In the next valley Lodden, a faithful servant of the great Criton Dynasty, was many millions of miles from his nearest colleague. That night he was following up the results of an experiment, which he himself had set in motion 40 million years before. Fascinated by the elaborate adaptations of desert arthropods to their arid environment, he had departed from the role of observer by engineering a small, but very significant genetic change. Now that the time was running out for him, he was determined to collect the data whilst he still had the chance. His main problem, the bipeds, could surely wait that little bit longer. Having caught his twentieth scorpion, he made his way back to his space vehicle where he could carry out a genetic analysis of his little captives, before returning them to their natural habitat.
Julia Jackson was not looking for scorpions. She was armed with infrared binoculars and an attached camera to study the nocturnal behaviour of migrating locusts. She had not had much success. She made her way towards a rocky outcrop below, which the desert fell away in a long gentle sweep. Flattened out prone on the smooth edge of the outcrop, with binoculars before her, she prepared herself for a long night of waiting and watching. After five minutes, she found herself looking at a pink elephant. It was impossible, of course, for an elephant to survive in the middle of the desert. She strained to catch another glimpse of the creature through the binoculars and suddenly it was before her again lurching forward on a row of stumpy elephantine legs with a rather laboured caterpillar-like gait. Its general appearance was in fact a strange amalgam of elephant, caterpillar and a proboscis more like that of a moth than an elephant's trunk.
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