The Kothoga is an ancient creature little known to the civilised world. Rare in the extreme, the Kothoga is only known by a few remote South American tribes. These tribes believed the Kothoga to be the son of Satan, sent to protect them from their enemies. Although modern science has disproved these myths, the Kothoga is nonetheless a very real and deadly species.
Deep within the remotest parts of Brazil, there exists a form of parasitic fungus which is known to grow only on one species of plant. The fungus is loaded with animal hormones and, through a virus, infects the plant. The virus takes over some of the plants cells and inserts its own viral genetic material, heavily lacing the leaves with animal proteins.
These proteins are responsible for growth, bone structure, exoskeletal physiology and skin maintenance. A huge influx of these proteins to any organism which eats the leaves causes dramatic physical changes as the virus introduces foreign genes into the hosts DNA. There are many examples of this happening in the earth based animal world, for example a salamander can turn into a frog through viral infection. These particular proteins cause a metamorphism in the animal, creating a chimera - a creature which is a combination of animals.
In evolution most species are believed to have evolved gradually through natural selection, however there are periods of sudden and radical change where grotesque, aberrant, short lived species suddenly emerge, seemingly out of nowhere. Most of them die out very quickly, but some don't. The Kothoga is one such resilient creature.
When threatened by an enemy, the South American tribes would feed the leaves to a member of the tribe, transforming them into a terrible beast. They became the Kothoga. However, the Kothoga needs the hormones present in the leaves in order to survive. The tribe would continue to feed the Kothoga the leaves until it became large and deadly enough. At this point they would stop feeding the Kothoga and go into hiding, leaving it to find a supplement for the hormones it required.
The hormones contained in the leaves are the same as those produced by the human hypothalamus (a portion of the brain), but 100 times more concentrated. Thus the Kothoga, when starved of leaves, turns to hunting for human brains. Once every human that can be found is dead, the Kothoga will die without the hormones it needs. To get at the hypothalamus, the Kothoga will decapitate its prey, punching a hole in the back of the head through which it extracts the brain.
The Kothoga is a large creature which appears to have many forms of animal DNA. It is part reptilian, part mammalian, part homo sapien, and even part insect. Measuring 15 feet from nose to tail, standing some 5 feet tall and weighing over 150 pounds, the Kothoga is a fearsome beast. It has 80 bones in its skeleton; four legs ending is sharp, clawed feet; and a slender tail which it uses to balance. The Kothoga is covered in a thick reptilian scaly hide, and has a central line of fur and hair running along its back. It has small, beady eyes, though its senses are excellent, and a forked tongue (which it may be able to sample to air with like a snake). The Kothoga's mouth is filled with sharp, slicing teeth and is completed by mandibles like the mouth parts of a spider, though enlarged to enormous proportions. It is these spider-like mouth parts that the Kothoga uses to grip prey by their neck before ripping out the hypothalamus.
The Kothoga is a very fast, strong and powerful creature. It can swim easily and is capable of holding its breath for extended periods. It can climb up vertical walls and across overhangs and can leap great distances. Like reptiles, the Kothoga is ectothermic, meaning that it cannot stand extreme temperatures.
- The creature is depicted in the novel Relic and the film of the same name.