Human civilization has been declining for about 4500 years, and various sentient animals have extirpated humans from their habitats. Thus humans today live in discontinuous regions of the planet, widely separated from each other, unable to communicate except by crossing through territory dominated by a different species of animal. These animals are also confined to discrete and widely separated habitats, however, so humans are on the same level as the other four powerful species: dolphins, penguins, firebirds, and crabs.
Thus humans comfort each other with myths of ancient human civilizations stretching clear through the wilderness, where humans could travel from one city to another without the fear of being eaten by wild animals or attacked by packs of clustered ones. Wild animals such as wolves cause humans more trouble on land than the other three sapient species, since all three are confined to areas near water. However, most deep inland areas are overrun by predators for whom humans are no match, and therefore humans are also clustered mostly around bodies of water. By contrast, the other sapient species are never preyed upon: the firebirds, dolphins, and crabs are all apex predators far too strong for other animals to attack, while the penguins live in isolated areas where few other animals can survive.
Along the coasts, humans coexist with the various other species, just as these other species coexist with each other . The only exception is that the habitats of the penguins and the crabs do not overlap: penguins are bound to the glaciers and islands that are near glaciers, whereas crabs live in temperate and tropical regions but avoid water which becomes seasonally frozen.
Humans living in close company with other animals are at a disadvantage because they cannot own weapons, and of the five sentient species, humans are the most physically delicate. In most areas, humans who attempt to fashion weapons to protect themselves will be quickly attacked by other humans, as these other humans know that if they were to tolerate the presence of the weapons, a pack of the dominant species would then attack the weakest and most vulnerable humans. Thus these other species perform the role of police in some symbiotic settlements. The one case where humans are allowed to own weapons is that of humans cohabiting with crabs: no humans have ever succeeded in manufacturing weapons that can harm the exoskeletons of the crabs, so crabs have no reason to fear armed humans.
Each of the four species has different subspecies within it, with the penguins being the most internally diverse. Smaller penguin species can fly, while larger ones dive into deep water to find food. The penguin species as a rule cohabit with each other, with each subspecies performing a different role in society. There are no examples of penguins fighting wars against other penguins based on subspecies divisions: although penguins have occasionally fought wars, each side always has an internally diverse army that fights the other's.
By contrast, the subspecies of the dolphins, crabs, and firebirds tend to live separate existences and maintain territorial limits. Race is the most comparable division of the human species, but human races are more similar to each other than any of the subspecies of the various animals, and racial boundaries are difficult to discern. In general, the tropical subspecies of all animals are smaller than the polar morphs but rely more on their anatomy's sharp parts — claws and teeth — to hunt and to protect themselves from attack.
Ive posted here before but I felt a new writeup might explain things more clearly, particularly that humans have been in decline for a long time and are making no progress at getting back on top.
Sorry guys, this one has the worst sting.