Before we go further into the nature of Gaia's many fascinating combat-worthy flora and fauna, I feel that some words of thanks are in order. You see, the writing of this manuscript would have been totally impossible if not for the aid of several people and parties, and as such, they have earned a sot of gratitude in this foreword, at the very least.

Firstly, I would like to thank the ShinRa Electric Company for backing me in cash and also in kind. If they had not agreed to fully sponsor the production of this manuscript, as well as agreeing to loan me the numerous Materia needed to scrutinize the organisms being studied, it is likely that this thesis manuscript would not have been started at all.

Also, I would like to thank my thesis supervisor, Professor Gast. He has been rather understanding of my more eccentric tendencies, and as such, has even allowed the publication of this thesis manuscript despite the occasional outburst or several that have found their way between its pages.

Lastly, I would like to thank my partner in the production of this thesis, Lucrecia Crescent. She has truly been a wonderful assistant in my combing the four corners of Gaia for the profiles of the various species noted later on in this document.

Now that the tedious and rather unnecessary task of thanking my helpers has been done with, I would like to note that Applied Zoology is a highly precise branch of Biology. As such, not every moron out there can simply pick up a dissection kit or Materia orbs and claim to be a qualified Applied Zoologist. Indeed, Applied Zoology requires a great deal of patience, discipline, and also prerequisite scientific skills. After all, tracking down a specimen in the wild can be extremely difficult, even under ideal circumstances.

I personally have a fondness for Applied Zoology, and of course this thesis was the prime opportunity for me to indulge my hobby while working on my doctorate at the same time. Despite that, I found it rather hard to gather all the knowledge needed. So it need not be said that most of you normal, ignorant people out there would be even remotely capable of starting, let alone completing, such a grand piece of work.

As for how the information in this thesis was obtained, I have already mentioned that I made use of some Materia, to be specific, Sense Materia. The Sensory spells cast using those Materia were invaluable in assessing the relative strength of a specimen in combat, and also for determining the weaknesses of a particular species towards the various elements. Hence, it should also be noted that I even used an entire complement of elemental Materia, in trying to prove the immunity and vulnerability of an organism against certain spells. To a lesser extent, Manipulate Materia were used to experiment with the battle-worthiness of the more commonplace specimens, and Chocobo Lure Materia orbs coupled with pheromones were used in some cases to attract a specimen.

All physiological and anatomical observations were done using a standard-grade dissection kit, after the specimen in question had been killed using either chemicals or a Death spell.

So, with that, I bid you good day, and also hope that you possess sufficient intelligence to comprehend what I have written down in this manuscript for my doctoral thesis in Applied Zoology.

James Hojo