Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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ectotherm transport
  [vote for,

Horses, donkeys, cattle, camels etc still have many advantages over fuel-driven machines for transporting people and goods and in farming. They are self-replicating, largely self-repairing, can run on sustainable feeds and agricultural by-products, produce useful manure and milk, and can be recycled as food, hide, compost etc. Their big drawback is that they need feeding for the long periods when they are not working.

A breeding program to produce a suitable (docile, trainable, herbivorous) reptilian beast of burden could lead to savings of 80-90% of this wasted energy. Future farms or apartment blocks would have low-temperature sauroparks; owners would merely have to move their animals into a warm-up chamber or into the sunshine shortly before they are needed.

An alternative approach might be to identify the genes for hibernation in dormice, bears etc, modify them for rapid switching on or off and transfer them into our familiar, well-loved domesticated species.

Armpit, Sep 08 2010

reptomobile? http://singularityh...-a-real-tree-video/
Something like this was what I thought this Idea might be about.... [Vernon, Sep 08 2010]

The Empire is way ahead of you. http://fineartameri...daniel-bergren.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Sep 08 2010]

I've seen this somewhere in the past... http://www.youtube....watch?v=2PPf3aaZmUw
[rcarty, Sep 09 2010]


       I bet you could warm up any reptile quickly with microwaves. You just don't want to overdo it, is all....
Vernon, Sep 08 2010

       I like this a lot [+]   

       It may even lead to other popular but wasteful mammals being replaced by reptiles. I wonder what alligator milk tastes like.
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 08 2010

       [+] Although many sf stories feature reptilian beasts-of-burden just to "be alien" it's the first time I ever saw an argument for why it's better.
FlyingToaster, Sep 08 2010

       What about insects?
pocmloc, Sep 08 2010

       I think being cold-blooded and possessing good endurance are mutually exclusive traits. Didn't they decide that is one of the reasons why many of the Dinosaurs weren't cold blooded?
MisterQED, Sep 08 2010

       Assuming a reptile is large enough to do useful work around the place (pulling carts etc.) this puts it's mass around 1/2 ton.   

       The warm-up time for such a beast would be long and possibly inconvenient.   

       I guess Alligator milk would taste just like chicken milk.
Twizz, Sep 09 2010

       Supposedly only the male of this genus can effectively be milked.
rcarty, Sep 09 2010

       great idea. there would probably end up being parking garages on the edge of the city, for more long-distance travel. but I feel like fuel consumption (and related emissions of nasty things) would be cut down tremendously if we used reptiles for all our in- town transportation. they have to be quick, though, built more vertically than most reptiles. and we have to deal with lizard poo.
fischerman, Mar 25 2011

       //The warm-up time for such a beast would be long and possibly inconvenient. //   

       Microwaves would solve a lot of problems.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 25 2011

       Why herbivorous? Ectothermy already constrains your power generation some (e.g. hard to be strong, fast, *and* high- endurance). Might as well make things a little easier by feeding it the highest-energy diet you can get. Feed the vegetables to whatever this thing eats.
mouseposture, Mar 25 2011

       This sounds like a job for geneticists. The half cow – half alligator – half bear. Good endurance, low food consumption, milk, steak and, because of the enormous teeth, everyone would get out the way.
saedi, Mar 26 2011

       //What about insects?//   

       They can go in the microwave too...
saedi, Mar 26 2011


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