The Kovur of Yantas

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sangi39
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The Kovur of Yantas

Post by sangi39 » Tue 22 May 2018, 22:58

I decided to try and rewrite some of my work on the Kovur. The physical details are largely the same, but I've thrown out the idea of male "gangs" and female "bands" in favour of a simple musth-like period that is dealt with differently from culture to culture (the band and gang system felt to rigid and monolithic for a cross-continental species), although I still want this period to be pervasive aspect of the species as a whole. And with that:


Introduction

The Kovur, the second sentient species of Yantas alongside humans, are bipedal descendants of a wolf-like creature, with an evolutionary development beginning some 4 million years ago, when it split off from its closest relative, a relatively recently extinct species of semi-arboreal "wolf". They are native to the continent of Mistaya, although they have spread through most of Hungas and into north-eastern Konyur. Humans, on the other hand, are native to northern Sirden, south-east of the Bridge, spreading south throughout the rest of the continent and north in Arenda, and further into Konyur and south-western Hungas. It was on these two continents that the first contact between the Kovur and humans occurred approximately ten to twenty thousand years ago. Their appearance and behaviour are different from that of humans in a number of areas, which also have an effect on their cultures and languages.

At the time period I'm dealing with on Yantas, i.e. the rough equivalent of 1AD here on Earth, interactions between humans and the Kovur are limited to Hungas and Konyur, but later explorers from western Sirden, several centuries after the collapse of the Empire of the Kusan, encountered the species after travelling westward across the Sunset Ocean, stumbling across the previously wholly unknown (to humans) continent of Mistaya. Before this, the Kovur weren't known outside of Konyur, instead being spoken of only in the form of legends of monstrous "wolf-men" living in the far corners of the world, similar to the mythical humanoids like the Monopods of Ancient Greek tales. Generally speaking, by the time explorers starting sailing out further west, very few people believed in these tales of strange human-like beings in far-flung regions, as more and more exploration by land and around the more "local" coastlines turned up people who looked more or less like, well, people.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
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Re: The Kovur of Yantas

Post by sangi39 » Tue 22 May 2018, 22:59

Physical Description



The Skull

The Kovur have show noticeable signs of sexual dimorphism, although, as in humans, some overlaps between “typically male” and “typically female” do exist, and with examples at either extreme of the spectrum being somewhat rare.

Both sexes have flexible triangular ears (similar those of wolves, and capable of independent movement) and a prominent, snout-like jaw protruding 12cm (4.7 inches) out from the location of the eyes, forming a gentle slope to the top of the skull. The main body of the skull, housing the brain, follows the slope of the snout forming a distinct ridge about 5cm (2 inches) backwards from directly above the base of the spine (giving the head a total length of approximately 36cm (14.2 inches). The skull, from the rear cranial ridge, slopes gradually downwards and slightly forwards for roughly 17cm (6.7 inches), forming a lower ridge, with a section of bone about 3.5cm (1.4 inches) reaching the base of the spine.

The skull is typically around 15.5cm (6.1 inches) wide, although males have a slightly pronounced temporomandibular joints which protrude around 1cm (0.4 inches) outwards while females have a slightly pronounced zygomatic bone of similar dimensions.

Overall, the Kovur brain cavity is roughly 2,400cm³, roughly 900 to 1,000cm³ larger than that of a human. This difference in brain size, however, does not make the Kovur more “intelligent” than human beings. For example, the Kovur parietal and occipital lobes are significantly larger than that of humans, but the human frontal lobe is larger than that found in the Kovur brain.



Height and Build

Males stand, on average, at around 182cm (6 feet) tall, while females are usually 168cm (5 feet and 6 inches) tall, marking the first note of sexual dimorphism in the species, with females being similar in height to most humans, but with males being significantly taller. Other than the skull and neck (around 5cm (2.5 inches) in length), which were generally the same size in both sexes, the rest of the body is “scaled down” in females.

The male's back, from the bottom of the neck to the hips, is around 50cm (19.7 inches) in length, as iss the length of the upper leg (the femur). In females these are 45cm (17.7 inches) each. The middle leg (the tibia and fibula) is around 40cm (15.7 inches) long in males but 36.5cm (14.4 inches) in females while the lower leg (the tarsal bones) are 10cm (3.9 inches) and 9.1cm (3.6 inches) in males and females respectively (this brings the male and female leg length to around 100cm (39.4 inches) and 90.6cm (35.7 inches) respectively). The upper arms (the humerus) and the lower arms (the radius and ulna) are 41.9cm (16.5 inches) and 33.1cm (13 inches) long in males while respectively being 38.2 (15.1 inches) and 30.2cm (11.9 inches) long in females (thus the male arm is 75cm (29.5 inches) long while the female's is 68.4cm (26.9 inches) long).

While the torso (measured from the hip upwards) is somewhat shorter than that of a human by about 5cm (2 inches), the Kovur chest is a bit larger in both males and females. The distance between the two shoulders was 46.5cm (18.3 inches) in males and 42.4cm (16.7 inches) in females. Other measurements are shown below:

Code: Select all

           : Male : Female
Chest Depth : 29.4 : 26.8
Chest Width : 46.1 : 42.0
Waist Depth : 28.1 : 24.9
Waist Width : 44.1 : 39.0
Hips  Depth : 27.4 : 26.2
Hips  Width : 43.0 : 41.0
This gives males an overall chest-waist-hip circumference measurement of 121.5cm-116.2cm-113.4cm (47.8- 45.7- 44.6 inches) while females had chest-waist-hip measurements of 110.7cm-102.8cm-108.1cm (43.6- 40.5- 42.6 inches).



Colouring

Females also differ in colour to males, with a thin layer of light reddy-brown through dark brown , almost black, fur covering the majority of the body besides the face and the soles of the hands and feet which are most often lighter than the shade of the fur. Males have a more limited shade of fur colours, specifically dark brown to black, but the fur does not cover as much of the body, most often not appearing on the arms, chest or lower legs (including the entirety of the foot), although some males do have a very thin layer of fur in some of these areas, although it is considered a more “feminine” trait (similarly, some females have thinner fur in these areas, some even lacking hair on the forearms or lower legs, likewise considered a “masculine” trait).

Males also possess a mane of hair, running down from the top of their heads, sometimes growing from as far down as their lower backs, although the majority of manes stop growing any further down than from between the shoulders. The mane is usually darker than the shade of the fur covering the rest of their body, but not often as dark as the shade of their skin.



Teeth

Males possess a longer pair of maxillary canines than females, sometimes growing to be as long as 7.5cm (3 inches) in length, although they usually grow no longer than 5cm (2 inches) in length. The maxillary incisors are also somewhat longer in males than in females, with the lateral incisors usually being longer than the central incisors, but they do not grow to nearly the length of the canines, being between 1.2cm (0.5 inches) to 3cm (1.2 inches) in length (female maxillary incisors and canines will normally be about half of this range, i.e. 0.6cm (0.25 inches) to 1.5cm (0.6 inches) for incisors (although in females the central incisors are usually longer than the lateral incisors) and around 2.5cm (1 inch) for canines). In males, the incisors are more noticeably pointed than in females.

In either sex, maxillary teeth behind the canines are usually around the same length, growing to around 1.1cm (0.4 inches) in females and 2cm (0.8 inches) in males. In males again, though, the maxillary premolars are more pointed than in females, although less pointed than teeth further forward in the mouth, with the molars being similar to those of humans.

The mandibular are somewhat shorter than the maxillary teeth, typically by between 1 and 3mm (0.04 inches) in both males and females. In males, the mandibular canines, like their maxillary counterparts, are longer than surrounding teeth, but normally only grow to between 2.5cm (1 inch) and 3.5cm (1.4 inches). There are some exceptions to this rule, however, with some males having larger mandibular canines than maxillary canines.



Eye Colour

Kovur eyes are usually light brown eyes, sometimes being closer to a golden colour. This is true of both males and females. In some populations, typically in northern and eastern Hungas, blue or green eyes are also somewhat prominent, and there are also rare instances of red eyes in Konyur and north-western Hungas. Eye colours other than brown or golden are rare in Mistaya.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
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Re: The Kovur of Yantas

Post by sangi39 » Tue 22 May 2018, 22:59

Age, Life and Death



Lifespan

The Kovur typically live to be around 45 to 50 years old (females tend to live longer than males), although some individuals can live into their 60s and some rare individuals live into their 70s. The average life expectancy, may vary somewhat depending on infant mortality rates, but individuals who reach the age of about 5 years old will most likely live for another 40 to 45 years.

Infant mortality rates depend on a number of factors, the key factors being disease (either genetic or transmitted) and the availability of food and clean water, as well as violence towards young children, which will be discussed later.


Puberty, Sex and Reproduction.

Surviving beyond the age of five, most individuals will expect to reach sexual maturity between the ages of 13 and 16 years of age. Females often go through puberty between the ages of 13 and 15, although, other than an increase in height and a widening of the hips, few exterior physical changes occur. Males, on the other hand, go through puberty between the ages of 14 and 16, marked by a dramatic increase in height, loss of body hair on the chest, arms, hand, lower legs and feet, continued growth of the canines and increased musculature combined with a decrease in fatty tissue in the legs, chest and arms.

Male puberty is also marked by increasing aggression, feelings of paranoia and anxiety, making their behaviour more erratic. For the first few years of puberty, these stages can be intermittent or prolonged, with short or long gaps in between them, but they tend to settle into an annual pattern that peaks during the late summer, with a slightly smaller peak occurring around mid-winter, a behavioural period similar to the musth of bull elephants on Earth.

Despite this, males are actually fertile throughout the year, but enter into a stage of increased sexual activity during this musth-like period. Similarly, while females are capable of conceiving throughout the year, they become most fertile through the summer and autumn months. This musth-like period, however, can make reproduction particularly dangerous, especially for females, but also for other males. It is not unheard of, for example, for males to fight amongst themselves, especially when they are younger, for the chance to produce more children.

After giving birth, the presence of the new-born child affects the hormonal changes which occur during the mother's fertile period for the next 2 to 5 years, decreasing the likelihood of conceiving during the next few summers, although births during these years are not unheard of.

Unlike human females, however, the females of the Kovur never go through menopause, remaining fertile throughout their lives. Despite the general ability to conceive right up until the last year of life, the possibility of successful conception gradually drops at around 30 years of age. In addition to this, after the age of around 40 years, childbirth is more likely to result in the death of the mother, with a similar trend occurring for younger mothers, usually those between the ages of 13 and 18, with successful conception rates peaking at 18, with mother's below the age of 16 prone to death during childbirth.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
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Re: The Kovur of Yantas

Post by alynnidalar » Wed 23 May 2018, 19:21

You've mentioned the skeletal structure of their skulls, but I'm curious about the rest of their build. E.g. are they plantigrade or digitigrade? (I assume from the mention of "upper", "middle", and "lower" legs that they're digitigrade?) If you couldn't see their head and they were wearing concealing clothing, could they plausibly pass for human, or is their overall shape quite different? What about their hands and feet--do they have claws, nails, etc.?

Just trying to get a mental image in my head! Your description of their skulls is quite evocative but I'm not quite sure if I should be picturing a big ol' wolf head on human shoulders, or something very different.

(I know I can always go look up your previous writing on the subject, but I assume you'd eventually put it all here anyway!)
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Re: The Kovur of Yantas

Post by sangi39 » Wed 23 May 2018, 20:26

alynnidalar wrote:
Wed 23 May 2018, 19:21
Just trying to get a mental image in my head! Your description of their skulls is quite evocative but I'm not quite sure if I should be picturing a big ol' wolf head on human shoulders, or something very different.

(I know I can always go look up your previous writing on the subject, but I assume you'd eventually put it all here anyway!)
I actually haven't covered the Kovur in too much detail because I honestly wasn't sure where to go with them, so for the most part the above sections are where I'm up and, hell, where I more or less stalled over four years ago. I'll try and answer questions as best I can with what I have in mind at the moment, though [:)]


alynnidalar wrote:
Wed 23 May 2018, 19:21
You've mentioned the skeletal structure of their skulls, but I'm curious about the rest of their build. E.g. are they plantigrade or digitigrade? (I assume from the mention of "upper", "middle", and "lower" legs that they're digitigrade?)
I've always planned on having the Kovur be digitigrade, as their quadrupedal ancestors were, but with fairly phalanx bones in the feet (my current thinking is that they'd be about the size of human feet, providing better balance than the shorter feet of their quadrupedal ancestors, while the longer legs would allow them to retain a longer stride).


alynnidalar wrote:
Wed 23 May 2018, 19:21
If you couldn't see their head and they were wearing concealing clothing, could they plausibly pass for human, or is their overall shape quite different? What about their hands and feet--do they have claws, nails, etc.?
The snout-like jaw would probably make them stand out would definitely make them distinctly non-human, but if you couldn't see their head and they were wearing clothes and a well-made pair of boots and gloves, they could potentially pass for humans of a "muscular build" (broad shoulders, relatively tall), although it is likely that both male and female Kovur would pass as male humans rather than as females in the majority of circumstances.

They do have small claws on both their fingers and their toes (although the ones on the toes are longer), but they're as long as those found on a wolf. I'd imagine their fingers are slightly longer than those of a human though.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
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