Dr. Frankenstein’s lab is a place where the impossible becomes possible. Her work builds on the secrets her great, great, great grandfather learned when he built his first monster, a story most of us know well. Following in the footsteps of her family, her life’s work as a comparative animal physiologist is to figure out how animals’ bodies work. Other comparative physiologists do this by learning about different species separately, then comparing them. But Dr. Frankenstein takes this to the next level. She compares animals’ bodies directly by connecting their body parts together.
Dr. Frankenstein doesn’t want to harm any living animals, so she prints these body parts in her 3D physio-printer before sewing them together. Some of her past creations have included “The octo-finch-ion”, that had the peeping head of a small bird, the tough midsection of a scorpion, and 8 wriggly octopus arms. Or, who could forget the “huma-tode fly,” that had the slimy head of a nematode, the buzzing midsection of a fruit fly, and the arms and legs of a human? Dr. Frankenstein is excited to continue studying physiology with her new laboratory assistant: you!
Do these animals deal with dehydration the same way?
How do seals and penguins dive underwater for long periods of time without breathing? How can bumblebees actually fly? Do lizards and birds deal with dehydration in the same way? These are all questions about an animal’s physiology. Physiology is the study of how living organisms work. When a researcher studies the physiology of one species as it relates to other species, this is called comparative animal physiology. In Frankenstein’s Lab, your goal is to invent new and interesting creatures, but there is a catch. For your creature to live and chirp, its body parts must work well together. Accomplishing this will take good knowledge of the physiology of different animals.
When building a creature, you must consider the physiology of each of its parts, and how they will work together. In Frankenstein’s Lab, you will have to consider the different systems of physiology, including how you move nutrients and oxygen (circulatory), how your body sends electrical signals (nervous), how you breathe (respiratory), how your body uses energy (metabolism), how you control body temperature (temperature) and how your body is structured and moves (body support). A poor match will lead to your creature not performing well.
Putting animal parts together is not ordinary work, and Dr. Frankenstein is no ordinary scientist. She has had plenty of problems trying to build her creatures. Think about it: if you mixed the blood of an octopus with the blood of a human, their immune systems might attack each other. Fortunately for you, she has solved many of these problems.
In the real world, the immune system of a host will sometimes recognize a donor body part as a threat. The donor body part is considered a threat when it is different enough from the host’s body. In Frankenstein’s Lab, you will combine body parts from animals that are very different, and that in the real world, would never match. Fortunately, the genius Dr. Frankenstein has invented a special chemical, “Immu-No-More,” to solve this problem. Now, the creatures she creates in her lab never have immune problems accepting parts from new creatures.
Frankenstein’s lab is filled with high-quality housing for her creations. Whenever she creates a new creature, she can place it in the environment that works best for it. Taken together, all of this means that the trouble she has with building new creatures is whether the body parts match in terms of physiology.
The animals you put together are all sorts of different shapes and sizes. This was, at first, a problem in Frankenstein’s Lab, because it was difficult to fit something like a big human body onto tiny fruit fly legs. But because Dr. Frankenstein uses a 3D physio-printer (“The Carbonic Combobulator”) to create animal body parts, she can change the size of the animals you are using, so that their body parts will fit together perfectly.
Though her collaborators study the physiology of other organisms (such as plants or bacteria), Dr. Frankenstein is a comparative animal physiologist. That means she only studies the physiology of a variety of animals, and currently is not making animal-plant creatures. Now that you are acquainted with the lab, it is time to help Dr. Frankenstein build some new creatures!