Spec's cimolestans are an ancient group of mammals that reaches back well into the Late Cretaceous. DNA analyses have recently confirmed the suspicions that they are very basal eutherians and Cimolesta forms a sister taxon to Placentalia, to which all surviving eutherians of Home Earth (and thus most of its mammals) belong, as well as most Spec eutherians from the Florida pseudorat to the sut.
Fossils show that the cimolestans diversified quickly during our Tertiary, producing a myriad of strange new groups, but then mysteriously went extinct. In Spec, the cimolestans shared the first part of their Home-Earth counterparts’ history, emerging at the end of the Cretaceous as small, nimble shrew-like forms which fed on insects and small vertebrates. In Spec, however, as the dinosaurs continued their domination of the large vertebrate niches, the cimolestans failed to diversify, and the their bodyform remains similar to their Mesozoic archetype. Extant cimolestans vary from minute, 2g insectivores to frugivores that weigh just shy of 1kg. Many of the larger forms have gliding membranes, and remind the zoologist of the clougo or flying lemur of our South East Asia. Some forms, indeed, behave much like dermopterans, being omnivores or frugivores, and bear the same name despite their differing ancestry. There exist carnivorous cimolestans as well, however, aptly named batweasels. Cimolesta is entirely restricted to tropical Asia and Africa, and most forms are arboreal.
The beerats are small and agile, resembling treeshrews of our Earth and ancestral stock such as Cimolestes, and they fill much the same niche in Spec's Asian rainforests. The smallest beerats are a mere 1.5-2g and feed upon the nectar of rainforest flowers and the insects they attract. Even the largest beerats are still quite small, weighing only 100g and preying upon large insects and small lizards. These large forms are collectively called treerunners and are only found in tropical Asia.
Pseudodermopteridae contains all but one of the gliding cimolestan species, and has a relatively high diversity in the tropical forests of Africa and Asia. The group is typified by the gliding membrane that stretches between the fore and hindlimbs and between the hindlimbs and the tail. These flaps allow false colougos to glide between branches. The omnivorous and frugivorous false clougos Pseudocynocephalus, Afrocynocephalus are the largest cimolestans, with the great Indian false-clougo reaching a weight of almost a kilogram.
The sleek and maneuverable batweasels, found in both Africa and Asia, have longer tails and more extensive tail membranes than their cousins and prey upon small birds, mammals and reptiles. Some hunt prey at night when more small mammals are active, while others hunt birds and lizards by day.
The batweasels' smaller, insectivorous relatives, the shratts are usually only the size of a mouse. As with the batweasels, some species hunt by day, while others are nocturnal. Shratts are only found in tropical Asian forests.
"It is quite a sight in the Bornean dawn to see dozens of shratts gliding nimbly between the trees, their tiny bodies silhouetted against the rising sun." - The Field Diary of filed researcher Doctor Timmledorf.
Volantotheridae contains only one species, the bizarre and beautiful Voleg.
Voleg (Volantotherium sharovipteryxoide)
This strange glider can be found in forested areas alongside streams and rivers in central Africa, and are best seen at dawn and dusk when they hunt. It is quite a sight to see their strategy for hunting fish, they dive from a riverside branch, stretching their long legs out, extending the leg membrane, then gliding down upon their prey, and grasping the fish with their free forelegs. Volegs are also accomplished swimmers, and will sometimes pursue prey or forage underwater. they will also occasionally pounce of frogs, lizards, or rodents near the shore. In a world whose skies belong to birds and bats, the voleg resonates on a far more ancient frequency, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the long extinct Sharovipteryx.