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|Na'vi Name||Na'vi or “The People”|
|Range||Various biomes of Pandora. Population concentrated in rainforest regions. Outlying clans have been detected on each continent and in subarctic, swampland and mountainous regions.|
|Feeding Ecology||Omnivore. Hunter and gatherer with incipient agriculture, including brewing.|
|Size||Average male is three meters tall, females slightly smaller.|
Generally peaceful, but ferocious in defense of home, clan and family. Uniformly religious; deity known as Eywa. Clothes The Na'vi are weavers whose dress is primarily for comfort and practicality. Though clan leaders such as Mo'at and Eytukan wear ceremonial pieces, because both men and women fight, there is a balance between adornment and armament.2
The Na'vi are the only known species outside of Earth to have human-like intelligence. Although their society is essentially Neolithic, they have developed a vibrant, complex culture based on a profound spiritual connection to their moon, to one another, and to the deity they call Eywa. They are superb artisans who celebrate the interconnectedness of nature through storytelling, song, dance and crafts.
In many respects, the Na'vi body is almost human-like (and, even by human standards, beautiful). The waist is narrow and elongated. The shoulders are very wide, creating a v-shaped upper back. The neck is twice as long as an average human and can rotate, owl-like, almost 180 degrees.
The Na'vi body is more slender than the average human and is reminiscent of a Masai or Watusi. But the musculature is sharply defined, giving no sense of emaciation despite the thin proportions (they have roughly four times the strength of the average human). Their almond-shaped, cat-like eyes are large and hypersensitive to various bands of light. For balancing their long torso and legs, the Na'vi have a long, prehensile lemur-like tail. Their feet feature opposable “thumb toes” which allow for excellent grip on tree branches and vines with all four limbs. They can traverse the landscape on the surface as well as from tree branch to tree branch.
Anatomy and TaxonomyEdit
The evolutionary lineage of the Na'vi among the lifeforms found on Pandora is something of an open question. The work of reconstructing Pandora's evolutionary past is hampered by the fact much of the world is covered in lush rain-forests with acidic soil, which is a poor medium for fossilization to take place. Therefore classification must be done largely through the techniques of gene sequencing and comparison, as well as application of evodevo principles.
The Na'vi possess a single pair of eyes, where most animals have two pair, with the smaller pair specialized for infrared sight. The Na'vi are also one of only a very few vertebrate tetrapods (four limbs) among a bestiary filled with hexapods (six limbs). The other notable exception is the Ikran (banshee), which also appears to be unique among Pandora's flying vertebrates for having only one pair of primary wings. The Ikran's secondary wings are extensions of their rear legs. All other flying genus identified so far, (such as the Great Leonopteryx) possess two pair of wings and dedicated hind legs. But this is suspected to be an example of parallel evolution, with the Ikran simply loosing a pair of wings. It is unlikely that a direct line between the Na'vi and Ikran will be drawn without going extremely far back in time.
The most likely candidate for a close relative of the Na'vi is a creature called a prolemuris. It is a medium-sized, arboreal animal that possesses a unique kind of hybrid body form. While it has six limbs, its two sets of lower arms branch off from a single pair of upper arms and shoulders, which could identify it as a transitional form between the hexapod plan of most of the rest of Pandora's vertebrates and the tetrapod form of the Na'vi. Further, the prolemuris sees with only a single pair of forward facing eyes, exactly like the Na'vi. At this point, it is unknown how far back in their shared lineage a common ancestor was, if it existed at all.
Current thinking suggests that the Na'vi developed from a bipedal creature that split its time between the forest floor and canopy. Their large eyes and blue tiger-striped coloring suggests that their immediate ancestors were largely nocturnal, as the blue hue and stripes, while obvious in the daytime, would be effective camouflage in the muted hues and bioluminescent light of the night time. Their own light producing cells could also have served a dual purpose of individual markings and to break up their silhouette when hiding amongst so many illuminated plants, insects, and animals.
The Na'vi skeletal system, like much of Pandoran fauna, is incredibly strong. Their bones are constructed through a similar process as that of Terran vertebrates. A flexible cartilage-like tissue acts as a scaffold. This scaffold is hollow and very porous. However in place of calcification, the next process finds strands of a very strong keratin type fiber layering through the pores of the scaffold. Only once this step is complete does the bone begin to calcify. This is analogous to reinforcing concrete with rebar.
The result is a skeletal system that is actually 20% lighter than that of mammal bones, while having a tensile strength nearly three times greater. Because of the fibrous reinforcement, Na'vi bones don't shatter like human bones when broken. Instead, they fray under stress more like rattan or bamboo. As such, even a broken bone retains its basic shape and can hold some weight, although at a reduced capacity and with considerable pain. The strength of their bones coupled with the lower gravity of Pandora means that Na'vi can survive jumps and falls from considerably greater heights than their human counterparts.
Perhaps the most distinct characteristic of Na'vi anatomy, indeed that of nearly all Pandoran vertebrates, is their neural interface. This is a roughly meter long appendage that protrudes like a slender, flexible tail from the base of the skull. It is informally known as a Lekku, in reference to the head tails of the Twi'lek species from the Star Wars films. Running through the center of this appendage is what amounts to a second spinal cord, which itself runs through a second foramen magnum at the base of the skull. This bundle of nervous tissue connects directly to the brain stem at the same location as the spinal cord that communicates with the rest of the Na'vi body. However in one sense, the neurons terminate at the base without connecting to anything. In another more profound sense however, they connect with everything, allowing the Na'vi to communicate almost telepathically with all manor of creatures from direhorses to banshees when physically linked. It also allows them to commune directly with the worldwide neural network of trees that they refer to as Eywa. What has not been observed to date has been two Na'vi linking with each other, this behavior is integral to mating and is considered confidential between mated pairs. It is not openly discussed in Na'vi society, and xenoanthropologists have only learned about it through half whispered rumors.
As opposed to most other Pandoran vertebrates, who have two, the Na'vi have only one neural interface. Also, most other animals that have been observed so far have prehensile control over their interfaces through a collection of thousands of muscle fibers similar to an elephant's trunk. For unknown reasons, the Na'vi have not retained this feature through their evolution, and their interface hangs limp. It is common practice for Na'vi to grow their hair long and braid it around their interface as a measure of protection (although Na'vi cranial hair raises another question, as no other Pandoran animal observed to date possess hair).
Na'vi have been known to sever the interface of criminals or enemies, thus forever severing their connection to Eywa and drastically reducing their effectiveness in hunting and combat, as the victim can no longer partner with a direhorse or banshee. This punishment is reserved only for very serious crimes, as it is seen by many to be worse than simply killing the victim.
Technology and CultureEdit
The abundant flora and fauna of Pandora have ensured a steady population of Na'vi; it is hypothesized that there was little Darwinian pressure to adapt new traits. Indeed, studies indicate that the number of Na'vi have remained remarkably consistent over the eons. The widespread access to natural resources has also helped limit (but not eliminate) warfare among the various Na'vi clans.
The Na'vi use a variety of simple, yet expertly crafted tools and weapons for hunting, food preparation, crafts, and infrequent clan warefare. The Omaticaya clan prefer a nearly two-meter long bow as their primary hunting weapon. These bows are made of wood collected from Hometree. They are very sturdy and are frequently used as close-quarter melee weapons once the arrows have run out. Some bows meant specifically for warfare or ceremonial purposes are reinforced with additional bracing, often made from ribs or wing bones of sacred animals. These war bows require enormous strength to draw, even by Na'vi standards. A typical Omaticaya arrow is almost two-meters long and made from the shoots of a hard, segmented grass resembling bamboo. The flat, slender arrowheads are made of a volcanic glass similar to obsidian which craftsmen have learned to heat-temper for drastically improved shatter resistance after knapping. They are then coated in a neurotoxin harvested from a local scorpion analog. The toxin is very potent, and is lethal to most of Pandora's fauna as well as Terran mammals. The fletchings are made with a pair (as opposed to the typical three fletching arrangement of Earth's history) of wings take from a parasitic flying insect that are arranged perpendicular to the flat head at the front.
The Omaticaya also carry a hunting knife whose 25-30cm reverse curved blade is fashioned from the wing claw of the Ikran, (banshee). These knives are used in the hunt to deliver a coup de grace to a downed prey animal. They are also used in melee fighting and for ceremonial purposes.
In addition to the neural interface the Na'vi also have a spoken language.
- Little apparel is worn by the Na'vi. Cloth, most likely woven from native flora of the planet is the basic garment worn by all Na'vi. It is possible that very little clothing is worn by the Na'vi because it is simply what is needed for the Na'vi to work and live taking minimally from the environment. Clothes appear to also show the ranking of one's importance in the hierarchy of a clan, either by the use of The Omaticaya clan leader, Eytukan wearing a garment made of brilliant materials] interesting or precious materials in comparison to a simple clothing piece worn by a normal clan member. Accessories are added to a Na'vi's attire as he or she moves up in the clan hierarchy. For example, Jake Sully, as an apprentice clan member, wore only an undecorated loincloth; as he learned more about the Na'vi culture, however, he wore armbands and necklaces to display his ranking.==Mating==
The Na'vi are monogamous creatures who mate for life. The mechanics of reproduction are similar to that of humans and other Terran mammals. But their unique physiology provides the Na'vi with a level of intimacy unknown on Earth. Cultural anthropologists believe that when an appropriate mate has been selected (which can take many years), the male and female Na'vi will connect queues (called Tsahaylu) to create an emotional bond that lasts a lifetime. The intertwining of queues is both highly erotic and profoundly spiritual, but does not in itself lead to reproduction.
Traditionally, once a Na'vi male has passed the tests on the path to manhood and has been accepted into the clan as an adult, he is not only allowed to make his bow from the wood of the Hometree, but he is also expected to choose his woman. After the woman has been chosen, the new couple are mated before Eywa. Jake Sully chooses Neytiri to become his mate, and she mates with him under the Tree of Voices following his acceptance into the Omaticaya clan as 'One of the People'.Jake Sully and Neytiri mating under the Tree of Voices, Or also known as Utral Amokriya. It is known that, once Tsahaylu is made between the couple, the ultimate in intimacy, or pleasure that is unfathomable to humans, causes the somewhat unwillful sharing of the couple's good memories, and is a sign of Eywa's acceptance. If a couple can be foreseen to not have a pleasant or happy future, Eywa has been known to reverse the feeling produced by making Tsahaylu, a sign to the couple that mating would only, in simple words, ruin their lives together, and therefore prevents the mating, because of it's life-long span. After the resulting embracing and kissing, the couple is sent to sleep by Eywa, and the two dream hintings of their future together. While they sleep, they are bonded spiritually and emotionally, but possibly also by either their bioluminescent markings, or slightly by physical appearance. It is not known whether it is a mix of the two, or one or the other. The couple will experience the pleasure of Tsahaylu from the moment of connection, until they awaken and have completed mating, when they disconnect and return to the clan, mated for life.