Torvir

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Notolopha torviris

    • Class Mammalia
    • Subclass Marsupialia
    • Order Diprotodontia
    • Superfamily Phalangeriodea
    • Family
    • Genus Notolopha

The torvir are a sentient species of diprotodont marsupial. The torvir originated along the northern coast of the Kellsith, but around -400 GR some torvir came to the Hajasith and became the goblins (subspecies N. t. potomica) and orcs (subspecies N. t. pelagica). No torvir are known to have survived on the Kellsith. The story of the Tide of Blood and the Bringer of Hope is one version of the orcish oral tradition of this exodus.

Contents

Physical Characteristics

Differences from Hominids

N. torviris has a number of physical and biological traits which are very different from hominids. These are of two main groups: on the one hand, there are the differences between placental mammals (including hominids, and most other mammals of the Hajasith, except eptenyctans). The most obvious of these is that infant marsupials (including torvir) are born very early and undeveloped compared to placental mammals. The tiny newborn then crawls to a nipple and attaches itself sometime while it develops further.

The second major group of differences are in those traits for which hominids (or rather, in most cases, hominoids at large, including monkeys as well) have diverged significantly from the mammalian norm, but the torvir have not.

Some of the traits in this category include:

  • A split upper lip, with the division continuing into a division between the nostrils.
  • Whiskers.
  • Alternating bands of light and dark coloring on hairs (called agouti).

These traits of N. torviris are basal mammalian charcteristics, i.e. the lack of primate traits.

There are also derived diprotodont and Notolopha traits, such as having three pairs of upper incisors, and no bottom canines.

Parallel Traits to Hominids

Many of the traits of the Notolopha genus are actually parallel developments to the hominid line, due to their mirror history of developing from small arboreal animals to fairly large, terrestrial, intelligent bipeds. Some of these parallel traits include:

  • The rotation of the scapulae, the flattening of the chest, and the development of a greater range of movement for the shoulders. These traits are not equal between the two groups, hominids are more highly derived for the most part.
  • Re-arrangement of the connection between the skull and the vertebral column, so that the skull sits on top of the (vertical) vertebral column, facing dorsally.
  • An expanded skull and brain.
  • Expanded concious control over breathing and the air pathway (this is an important part of the development of langauge, as well as a natural result of the expansion of neocortex). In this trait, Notolopha is the more highly derived group, partly due to their semi-aquatic history.

Vision

Torvir vision shows a mix of traits evolved parallel to hominids, and of more standard mammalian traits. Like hominids, torvir are among the few mammals to have retinas dominated by cone-type receptors. Cones are the photoreceptors that distinguish color and fine detail (but require more light than rod receptors). Torvir retinas are not quite as dominated by cones as those of hominids, giving torvir vision the following differences (all to a minor degree only) from hominid vision:

  • Slightly poorer detail vision. That is images that are clear to a hominid are slightly blurry to a torvir. 20/30-35 vision is average for a torvir, meaning that images that are clear for a human at 30 to 35 (9-11m) feet must be within 20 (6m) feet to be clear for a torvir.
  • A sligthtly less intense experience of color, since a smaller proportion of the visual information reaching the brain is color information. More on color below.
  • Better night vision, and better motion detection (from the higher proportion of rods).
  • A higher flicker rate than hominids. Human eyes create images about 30 times a second, any movement faster than that is a blur. Torvir eyes create images twice as often, about 60 times per second.

In cone/rod proportion, torvir and hominids are relatively similar compared to the mammalian standard. However, while hominids have added a third cone type to the standard two mammalian cones giving them increased capability to distinguish colors, torvir retain the standard mammalian dichromatic vision. Torvir are lacking the long wavelength cone that hominids have (the "red" cone type). Without this third point of comparison, all colors are seen as blue or yellow, and if something is not very blue or yellow, it is grey. This means that green to blue-green colors cannot be distinguished from red to purple colors (except that the latter look darker at the same light intensity).

Below is a very rough approximation comparing what a goblin (N. t. potomica) would see compared to a human (Anthropus gracilis):

Human: Torvir:
Image:Human_Spectrum.jpg Image:Torvir_Spectrum.jpg

See also


This article has Design Notes: Torvir/Notes

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