|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 (33 million) and Lhavres (4 million). Tuanmali is the country with the highest number of Dalar citizens in the world.
- Alpa: Sanmra (5 million)
- Atsiq: Dachashk (14 million), Qatilluu (8 million), Jilu Lyladna (5 million), Tlha Ngai (8 million), Qotsia (5 million), Thargun (7 million). Atsiq is the only continent where Dalar represent a majority of the population.
Dalar cannot into space.
Dalar are externally similar to humans, often able to pass for human to those unfamiliar with them. Anatomically, they are generally taller and skinnier than humans, with proportionally very long limbs (including fingers and toes). Their skulls are more "triangular" than humans, with broad foreheads and narrow jaws and chins. Because of their limited population, there is less variance in appearance compared with humans, with virtually all dalar having a "medium" skin tone comparatively to humans, with dark brown or black hair and brown eyes. On average, Sanmra dalar are lighter than Tuanmalis, but the Lorhan ethnic group (primarily located in Sanmra) is significantly lighter than both.
Despite stereotypical depictions, dalar do not have notably larger, thinner, or "pointier" ears than humans.
The majority of dalar have highly limited senses of taste and smell, with nearly half being born with congenital anosmia (total lack of sense of smell). Their eyesight and hearing is comparable to that of humans. Dalar are naturally excellent at picking up on the emotions of others, enhanced by skin-to-skin contact, leading most dalar cultures to have strict taboos against casual skin contact.
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.
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).
On Atsiq, dalar make up the majority (about 80 percent) of the population. From the fourteenth to nineteenth century, Atsiq was unified under the Osveraali Empire, which was the first time the Atsiq dalar made noteworthy contact with other dalar communities abroad. The Empire wielded considerable influence in Asuranesia and to a lesser extent in Nagu, contributing to the Dalar diaspora in no small way.
The continent's history is characterised by tensions between dalar and humans, with many violent clashes between the two species and repeated efforts on the part of dalar-ruled countries to restrict, displace or at times even exterminate their human population. The nadir of dalar-human relations is held to be the lathe nineteenth to early twentieth century, which was a period of great upheavals in the wake of the collapse of the Osveraali Empire and saw a marked rise not only in nationalism but also pro-dalar racism. The successor states of the Empire vary in their treatment of humans, with many forms of discrimination persisting to this day.
Atsiq dalar speak Osveraali languages, which are descended from a common ancestor spoken roughly 3000 years ago. Most of the great literary works of Atsiq are composed in the highly standardised and regulated Imperial Osveraali prestige dialect, although Osveraali loans in other languages just as often stem from the vernacular of dalar soldiers, sailors and traders.