|Scientific classification (disputed)|
|Species:||H. dalaris or H. sapiens|
|Homo dalaris or Homo sapiens|
|Homo dalaris dalaris or Homo sapiens dalaris|
The dalar are one of the sentient species inhabiting Sahar. They are physically comparable to humans in many ways, but have several distinct biological differences that lead them to be classified as a separate species (though this classification has been challenged by some authorities, who view them as a subspecies instead).
Habitat and population
As of 2019, the total Dalar population on Sahar was approximately 90 million. The three main centres of distribution are:
- Boroso: Tuanmali (25 million) and Lhavres (4 million).
- Alpa: Sanmra (6 million)
- Atsiq: Jilu Lyladna, Kolikon, Vronzhan Zbeshka (5.5 million)
Dalar cannot into space.
Anatomy and physiology
Dalar are closely related to humans (Homo sapiens) and are anatomically similar to them, often able to pass for human at first glance. Their facial structure tends towards narrow chins and jaws compared to the forehead, giving their skulls a pointed, triangular shape. The eyes are noticeably larger than with humans, providing dalar with slightly better visual acuity especially in low-light conditions. About 35 percent of dalar, mostly populations in North Atsiq and Alpa, have epicanthal folds. Dalar of both sexes grow very little facial or body hair. Despite stereotypical depictions, dalar do not have notably larger, thinner, or "pointier" ears than humans.
Sexual dimorphism is much less pronounced among dalar than humans. The average global height for dalar males is about 186 cm/6 ft 1 in, while females reach 183 cm/6 ft. Global averages for mass are 70-77 kg (165-170 lb) for males and 67-73 kg (139-160 lb) for females. Thus, both dalar males and females are on average markedly taller than humans, with females also heavier than their human counterparts. The body shape of both sexes is characterised by narrow shoulders and hips and limbs that are proportionally longer than in humans; in fact, a common test for good posture for dalar is whether an individual is able to touch their knee with their fingertips while standing upright.
Dalas skin tones vary less than human ones, with most dalar having medium-brown skin. On the whole, the darkest skin colours are found in southern Atsiq, especially the southern coast in the Usuva and Qaelarne regions, and Tuanmali, with lighter skin predominating in northern Atsiq and Alpa. Dalar hair is usually thick and straight, and the most common hair colour is black or dark brown, which is also the case for eye colour. There are, however, several ethnic groups with lighter skin; the two most famous are the Lorhan on Alpa, mainly found in Sanmra, and the Atqlha minority of the Thaneqh region in southeastern Atsiq. The latter group is also well-known for their striking blue eyes, depicted for example in the portrait of the Osveraali Empress Sessicon I.
The most significant distinction between humans and dalar is in life cycle. Dalar mature and age at a significantly lower rate than humans, with a total lifespan of upwards of 150 years on average, with the oldest recorded dalar having reached 200. Dalar reach physical and mental maturity at around 30 years of age (although they don't reach their full height until about 25), then more slowly age until around 120, where they begin to rapidly age. (For a more in-depth look at dalar aging, see this analysis.) They are somewhat more durable/faster-healing/disease-resistant than humans, leading to their longer lifespan. Dalar tend to live at a much slower pace than humans and do not have as much stamina, only being capable of short bursts of high-energy or high-stress activity. They require regular sleep and food; in situations where these are not available, they weaken much faster than humans.
The majority of dalar have more limited senses of taste and smell than humans, but a more developed sense of touch and slightly better eyesight. In general, dalar tend to rely on optical and haptical perception to an even greater degree than humans do, and their powers of recollection are significantly increased if they have access to tactile memory of a thing or a person. This ability also contributes to the phenomenon termed "Dalar empathy" by researchers, namely that dalar tend to pick up on others' emotions more easily than humans, especially if they can touch the person in question. In many dalar cultures, this leads to a greater emphasis on context and implicitness in their interactions as opposed to hard and fast rules that are spelled out for everyone, as well as strict taboos placed on casual skin contact.
Dalar are capable of interbreeding with both humans and vodholk, although pregnancies are rare due to various biological factors. There is strong social stigma against dalar/non-dalar relationships in many dalar communities, including Sanmra and Tuanmali, as well as against dalar hybrids, regardless of their non-dalar parent's species.
Dalar are capable of having children with humans, one of the major reasons their status as a separate species (as opposed to a sub-species of H. sapiens) is debated, although such pregnancies are rare due to various biological factors and are prone to miscarriage. When they do occur, dalar-human children are notable more susceptible to serious medical problems, both physical and mental, including unusually high rates of schizophrenia, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and other disorders with a neurological component. These effects are less serious on second and third generations, however.
Dalar-human hybrids tend to take after their mother's species. In particular, with regards to lifespan, hybrids with a human mother tend to live somewhat longer than average for a human (e.g. living to 100 would not be uncommon), while hybrids with a dalar mother tend to live somewhat shorter than average for a dalar (e.g. 150 is extremely old).
Dalar-vodholk hybrids are possible, but as with dalar-human hybrids, are rare.
Sanmra is fairly culturally and ethnically homogeneous. They can be somewhat mistrustful of non-Alpa humans, but largely don't mind other species, treating them all equally. They do not have a great relationship with their Tuanmali relatives, viewing them as the annoying, argumentative younger sibling to their wise older self. Nevertheless, they would immediately defend Tuanmali in political/military conflict, believing it is important to protect their fellow dalar against non-dalar.
Sanmra culture is oriented around families/clans led by elders. Even non-dalar living in the nation largely end up organized along similar lines. Organized religion is relatively rare, although most people participate in religious/spiritual rituals, including worship of ancestral and nature spirits and (very common!) fortune-telling. There is a heavy emphasis on nature, and outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and hunting are very popular.
It is sort of a welfare state (in the UK sense), with a lot of nationalized industries, although people outside the family/clan system tend to fall through the cracks.
Tuanmali is significantly more diverse than Sanmra, and isn't nearly as unified. It is very much a democracy and believes strongly in independent thought and independent freedoms. Compared to Sanmra, there isn't much emphasis placed on family beyond the immediate family. Instead, the focus is on the community, with everyone expected to participate in local politics--the political system includes a lot of elements of direct democracy. Tuanmali is somewhat isolationist, distrusting many human nations (particularly those outside of Boroso) but allying with some non-humans (e.g. Fals). They feel kinship with Sanmra as the only other dalar-dominated nation, but also feel that Sanmra (the wealthier and older of the two) is full of itself and wants to control dalar relations despite the distance between the two nations (both physically and historically).
Tuanmali is very capitalistic, leading to a lot of income disparities but a strong work ethic. They also have a lot of guns and boats (and possibly horses).