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Author Topic: Twilight Ramblings 7a - Fubarnii 101  (Read 1628 times)
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« on: August 26, 2012, 02:52:01 pm »

Fubarnii 101 - by Bethar
Chapter 1: The Fubarnii Species

Evolution

Fubarnii, like humans, evolved from dextrous, omnivorous ancestors and became intelligent, self-aware, societal beings with language and culture and sophisticated pattens of thought.  The environment in which their development took place is however quite different from that of humans.  Fubarnii evolved in swamps from creatures that may be thought to occupy a niche similar to pigs in our world.  There were no tall trees and Fubarnii ancestors were ground-dwelling.  They were also twilight-dwelling; adapted to low light levels, but versatile so that modern Fubarnii can essentially choose to live nocturnally or diurnally.

To give you an idea of their place among the other creatures of Anyaral, let us examine the taxonomic tree (note that these are Latinate names, given by humans – the Fubarnii themselves do not use this taxonomic system).
Fubarnii belong to the phylum Trivitaetasa, which covers all creatures with the three life stage system of Jenta, Sempa and Kopa.  Compare with the human phylum Chordata, which includes everything with a backbone, i.e. the three life stage system is widespread and does not necessarily denote close kinship with the Fubarnii species, any more than a human is closely related to a fish.
The Fubarnii are classed as Molliovus (compare with human class Mammalia).  This class includes all creatures who reproduce externally through expulsion of egg matter which is then fertilized.  Other members of this class are the intelligent Devanu, as well as many of the non-intelligent species used as working beasts by the Fubarnii such as Baruk and Enuk.
Order Megalopodia (compare with human order Primates) includes Fubarnii and many of their working beasts, but not Devanu.  Megalopodia are characterized by their large hooves, limb structures, and a generally vegetarion or omnivorous diet.
Family is Omnivoria, which also contains modern descendants of the Fubarnii swamp-dwelling ancestor such as the Swamp Pig and Swamp Monkey.
Genus and Species is Megalocephalus Fubarnii.

It is unknown at present whether the Fubarnii have any understanding of evolution and how they explain their origins (scientifically as opposed to mythologically – see later chapters for Fubarnii creation myths).  It is likely however that the concept would be less shocking to them than it was to Darwin’s contemporaries – after all, they share the world with other intelligent species.

Physiology

Fubarnii are much tougher than humans, for a number of reasons.  They have three hearts; a main and two subsidiaries, which means that damage to one heart is less likely to prove fatal.  They have a non-tidal breathing system, meaning that the air flows through the lung system rather than in and out as it does in humans.  This is similar to birds on Earth and is considerably more efficient in terms of oxygen made available.  Fubarnii do not suffer from the human problem of choking while eating; the trachea (air passage) is situated above the oesophagus (food passage) which reduces the chance of food falling in, as well as having an epiglottis to close off one from the other.  Fubarnii also have more robust immune systems.

Fubarnii, along with the rest of the Molliovus class, have no teeth.  Rather, they have a beak (which grows continuously and gets worn down).  A combination of overlap towards the back of the beak and rough interior cheek surfaces allows for some grinding of food, but on the whole their diet does not require this ability (they eat very little grain for example).  Fubarnii also process their food through chopping and cooking, extending the range of foods which they can digest.  Stomach and bowels function in a similar manner to humans, but waste is excreted through a single orifice (like a cloaca, but it does not have any reproductive function).

The reproductive organs in a Fubarnii are situated in the centre of the torso and are visible on the surface only as a small diamond-shaped hole.  Modesty however dictates that this is hidden under clothing.

Sex

Fubarnii have over 20,000 different sexes, with practically no phenotypic variation.  They do not have the genetic technology to be aware of this, and it makes precisely no difference to their view of the world.  However, as a consequence there is an interesting cultural difference from humans.  As same-sex matings are not viable and sex is genetically determined, there is a biological safeguard against inbreeding.  The Fubarnii therefore have no concept of incest taboos (there are plenty of other taboos surrounding mating but this is not one of them). 

Life stages

As you can see, Fubarnii do not have male and female sexes.  More closely correlated with our understanding of male and female are the life stages through which a Fubarnii progresses as it ages.  Fubarnii begin their lives without the ability to reproduce; this pre-fertile stage is equivalent to human childhood and Fubarnii call these “jenta” (in human speech we tend to use the pronoun “she” for all jenta).  On maturity a jenta becomes a “sempa”, who has the ability for female reproduction, using the definition of female as the one who produces the larger gamete (in human speech again we say “she”).   A sempa may eventually become a “kopa”, who has the ability for male reproduction (and in human speech we use “he”).

A jenta matures at around ten years of age.  In most Fubarnii societies they are not eligible for marriage until this time, though they will have begun to learn a trade and may have been apprenticed to a kopa with intent to marry when they mature.  There is a huge variation on when a sempa becomes a kopa, from as little as a year after maturation to not at all.  This is influenced by a number of factors including genetic, hormonal and pheromonal.  A sempa whose primary duty is caring for jenta is likely to remain a sempa, likewise a sempa dominated by a strong kopa.   However, a sempa who is independent, or in charge of a group of sempa, is likely to become a kopa much more quickly. 

Throughout Fubarnii history this trait has led to strict customs around marriage and status.  As there is no immediately obvious physical difference at the point of change, most societies have implemented rites of passage which firmly determine legal status in terms of eligibility for marriage etc.  Relationships between two kopa, or two sempa, or involving a jenta, are usually illegal and strictly taboo.  Deceit over a Fubarnii’s status during the drawing up of a marriage contract has been know to happen and is a great scandal.  While Fubarnii can of course distinguish established sempa and kopa through subtle visual clues and pheromones, those around the boundaries can use artificial scent and clothing to disguise their true nature.  Modern Fubarnii are also well aware of drugs to speed or slow progression through the life stages.  The legality and use of these drugs varies between cultures.
It is incredibly rare, but occasionally possible, for a kopa to revert to a sempa.

Fubarnii are naturally inclined to a harem structure – one male with a group of females.  Three or four wives is a respectable number in most societies; more indicates high status, fewer and you might be considered a bit odd.  The politics of inheritance is hugely complicated, and it is not unusual on the death of a kopa for his oldest wife to become kopa and take the others as wives himself.

A Fubarnii lifespan is around 25 years, though after 20 years fertility will be greatly decreased for both sempa and kopa.  In addition, a kopa may become somewhat “eccentric”, losing social skills and becoming obsessed with his own projects in a manner that might be described as rather autistic.  They are often brilliant inventors, compulsive cataloguers and experts in their field, and have been responsible for some of the greatest Fubarnii breakthroughs in science.  They are known as Engineers, and command great respect, if rather careful handling.  Note that this only occurs in kopa, not in elderly sempa.

Reproduction

Fubarnii are social animals, and historically a gathering together of tribes with accompanying alliances, festivities, competitions, food, dance and celebrations set the scene for mating.  Modern times are quite different, but social events and cultural display are an important stimulus.  Fubarnii reach a peak of fertility twice a year, in phase with their close society due to the social stimuli.  Mating is usually private within households, though each household mating is likely to have one kopa and a number of sempa taking part.  Pheromonal cues trigger the production of reproductive fluids.  A sempa will produce a substantial amount of egg mass containing a few gametes.  The kopa produces a small amount of fluid which mixes with the egg mass to fertilise the gametes, usually only one of which will come to term.  The egg mass hardens in contact with the air to form a protective shell, enclosing the young until it is ready to emerge.

A Fubarnii sempa may produce perhaps five to eight Jenta in her lifetime (not all of which will necessarily survive until reproductive age), and may then become kopa and father many more.  A sempa who does not become kopa may continue to produce more jenta but her fertility will tail off as she ages.
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