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|A scientific document cataloging the basics on the anatomy of the pharlan species. Illustrations hand drawn by me in Adobe Photoshop. - new version (I added the references and some more data)||
Journal of Comparative Anatomy.
Vol. 258 No. 3 pp. 2266-2273
5 Cionlas AT5634
Primary Report: BASIC ANATOMY OF PHARLANS
Kelesphi Telste , Sheiltra Peltia , Alastre E. Grelatse , Kirtsai I. Eilonkiva 
Sentient Races Department, Institute for Biological Studies, Kelzen, Iristine
Mria’ka’Mrioga University, Trezen, Rona
Pharlan anatomy has remained largely a mystery for many centuries. Past political situations have hindered and in some cases prohibited research on the subject by outsiders. Often pharlan anatomy was considered a national secret by the Ronan government. However the current state of openness after the creation of the council of seven has allowed this research to go forward. Pharlans are a unique species and do not seem to belong to any of the clades that all currently known sentient species belong, mammalian, avian, ploidomorph, reptilian, or crenloan (Felsi, 5629). Indeed pharlans seem to bear no direct relation to any extant clade (T. E. Drakara, 5431). Pharlans are believed to have descended from a four footed creature bearing both avian and mammalian characteristics, but direct comparison is impossible because the progenitor species is known only from fossil evidence (K. I. Selaotoe, 5013; O. E. MaruSeke, 5625). However there are a number of notable features which distinguish the pharlan clade, including a boneless prehensile tail, tipped with a secondary pair of wings with eyes similar to those of insects, muscular finger-like appendages and a unique covering sometimes referred to as scale feathers, called kyrtsay by pharlans (A. E. Grelatse, personal communication). Our current study is a complete study of pharlan anatomy which will for the first time elucidate internal and external structures of this important and intriguing species.
Gross Measurements and structures
Typical height of pharlan males was on average about 1.85 cadla with females slightly taller being around 2 cadla. Typical wingspan was 5.7 cadla for both sexes. See Figure 1. The tail is variable in length, being largely boneless and elastic, but typically ranges between 2 and 3 cadla. Mass of individuals was on average 0.34 kred.
Surface areas of pharlan specimens were composed of three covering types, true feathers, scales and feather-scales or kyrtsay. Scales are the basic skin surface found over most of the body. Even areas surficially covered with feathers were underlain with fine scales. The scales was not keratinaceous, unlike the feathers, and the exact composition of the scale structures is still unknown as they have been largely resistant to attempts at chemical characterization. Studies regarding the biochemical nature of pharlan scales are still being conducted and will be published in a separate volume: Biochemistry of Pharlans.
Scale Feathers or kyrtsay covered much of the back and neck of all individuals examined. The wings were composed entirely of kyrtsay which are relatively thin structures, superficially resembling feathers in overall shape, consisting of less than five cell layers covered with a transparent protective material apparently similar in chemical composition to the scales although this has not been confirmed. Kyrtsay are stiffened by central veins and cross-linked structures. These veins are hollow and it is thought the stiffness of individual kyrtsay can be controlled hydraulically. Like the scales, kyrtsay are generally quite resistant to both chemical and physical damage. The cell layers seem to be involved in energy absorption as well as pigmentation, but the precise nature of the layers has not yet been fully examined.
The Pharlan specimens that were examined all bore true avian style feathers over the head, torso, back and leg regions. Head feathers were generally longer and thinner than those found on the body and were often of a different color pattern than the remainder of the body feathers. Facial structures are quite similar to those found in Homo sapiens but the skin was relatively finely scaled on most of the face with the nose being covered with larger protective scales. Two small slits along the nose open into the nasal cavity, near the eyes presumably to allow for enhanced airflow during dives.
The ventral portion of the neck and chest region of all individuals examined was largely devoid of feathers and covered with interlocking shield shaped scales. Scale size increased with distance from the neck area and reached its peak at the midpoint of the rib cage. From the sternum downward the scales were smaller in overall size and more round in shape. Feathers again became apparent on the ventral portion near where the legs joined the body. Feathers in some individuals continued down to the tops of the digits while other individuals had feathers only continuing to the knees, with larger scales extending to the knees.
Scales covered the feet of all individuals, larger protective scales covered the three digits while finer scales covered the footpads. Similar scaling patterns could be seen on the hands. Each digit on both feet and hands harbored a single talon of approximately 5 inches and 3 inches in length respectively. The color of these talons was invariably black.
The tail structure of pharlans is unique, it is long cylindrical, prehensile and without ossified bones allowing it to be extremely flexible. Scales on the tail are smaller and thinner than the rest of the body, presumably causing the tail being much more touch sensitive than other areas of the body. At the tip of the tail, small sub-wings (called akalate) are typically 8-9 inches in length and frame the kabaign or “tail head” which has 5 multi faceted eyes on the dorsal surface approximately 0.5 inches in diameter. The kabaign itself is scaled but the eyes do not bear eyelids of any kind. The eyes are capable of forming a grainy and uncolored image (A. E. Grelatse, personal communication). Posterior to the kabaign are the two interlocking scales, krentan which cover the ielan or “tail fingers”. These highly elastic structures are essentially scale-less and highly touch sensitive, often used by pharlans for manipulation of small objects. They are typically kept covered by the krentan except when in use. See figure 2.
Color patterning in pharlans seems to be quite variable ranging from black to white, with most colors represented by at least a few individuals. Most of our subjects were of gold to brown coloration on the feathers and grey to brown skin tones. Some of the volunteers had green and blue feather and Kyrtsay coloration while the measurement data contained occasional reports of pharlans with black or red coloration. Patterning was occasionally intense and detailed but solid colors seemed to be the most common. Two distinct races had been noted in the records, called Sayarten and Galesa. Our volunteers reported that the two races still exist but are much less common than in the past, none of our volunteers were members of these two races but were reported to be mostly of mixed heritage. The measurement records seemed to support the assumption that more distinct forms of pharlans existed in the distant past.
From the dissection and scanning operations we obtained considerable data on pharlan internal anatomy. Brain size was proportionately on-par with other sentient species. The cerebellum was proportionately larger than most other species. Eyes were also proportionately large averaging 1.2 inches (30.48 mm) in diameter. Pharlans have 2 eyelids and an additional nictiating membrane. This membrane is transparent but quite flexible and resistant to both physical and chemical damage. It is presumably used for protection of the eyes, while still allowing sight. Pharlan dentition indicates a carnivorous habit with large canines as well as slicing incisors and sharply pointed molars, similar to carnivorous mammals. Large jaw muscles indicate a powerful bite, which is likely essential for their typical diet. Pharlan tongues are generally rough and studded with hairs. Throat and esophageal tissue was thicker than most other extant species, presumably an adaptation for the consumption of bones.
Pharlans are similar to most other extant races in the possession a centrally located heart, liver and kidneys. Instead of the usual saclike lungs and diaphragm found in mammals, pharlans have a system of interconnected tubes and smaller sacs which provide air to the body. There was a connection from the lungs to the Kabagain region, which apparently allows pharlans to breathe through their tails. This secondary air opening also apparently allows for flow-through breathing during flight. In addtion to the usual organs pharlans have an additional accessory organ called the chadake was usually located just below the diaphragm. The chadake is thought to be responsible for energy storage and transmission and was connected to the rest of the body via nerve-like tissue. True nerves and chadake connections were often intertwined and often inseperable, leading to speculation that the chadake may also be involved in pharlan telepathic abilities. The digestive system of pharlans consists of an extremely large expandable stomach with two chambers and a relatively short intestinal tract. Sexual organs in the vivisectioned and dissected individuals of both sexes were of an extremely reduced size in comparison to most other sentient species of similar size. We were later informed that these organs only develop during a physiological period known as metnena’a. We were told it would be very difficult to examine an individual in this physiological state, as they would be “otherwise occupied” and extremely dangerous (A. E. Grelatse, personal communication).
Skeletal structures were difficult to examine as pharlan bones are very resiliant and resistnant to damage despite being of extremely light construction. The pharlan skull is strikingly similar to that of humans but a number of notable differences were found. The top of the skull near the rear bears a large crest for the attachment of powerful muscles. It is these muscles thought to give pharlans their extremely powerful bite. Additionally the jawbone estended much further back on the skull and the attachment on the neck was towards the rear of the skull rather than directly beneath - as with most other upright species. This adaptation, combined with the longer neck structure gives pharlans the ability to rotate their heads in almost any direction. The neck bones of both sexes had direct connections to the overlying kyrtsay and were well reinforced with muscles and tendons. Pharlan arms were attached in a standard fashion, like most other known species but the wings were attached about 9 inches farther down the skeleton with a second set of scapula and wishbone. Additionally the sternum at and slightly above this region elongated into a keel to support the large flight muscles. The rest of the skeleton was not unusual, when compared with other extant species, save the cartalaginous nature of the tail. it's appearance was of small harder knobs interspersed with more elastic cartilage. The kabaign retained a skull-like structure, but the bone covering it was quite thin. The ielan contained no bones or cartilage.
Sexual dimorphism is subtle in phalrans and less obvious than that of most mammailan races. At approximately 250 years of age a pharlan reaches sexual maturity. Female pharlans have proportionately longer ears and usally grow long featherlike tassles on the ends of the ears. These structures are attractive to males (K. I. Eilonkiva, personal communication). Females are typically taller and thinner than their male counterparts by about 15% on average and typically bore duller coloration. Sexually mature male pharlans bore elongated kyrtsay on the back of the neck which can be raised as a threatening gesture.
The Ronan government graciously donated three specimens of deceased pharlans. Each was handled with utmost care to ensure preservation and accurate data collection. External measurements and photographs were taken to document the state of the bodies before dissection. Dissections were performed in the standard fashion, however the very hard bone structure of the pharlans forced us to utilize the Drenara University high density saw apparatus for cranial, kyrtsay and bone structure studies.
Since the sample size for dissection was quite small we also utilized data from the pharlan institute for anatomical studies. These data have been collected continuously from all members of the population over a period of 10,000 years and intermittently for several thousand years prior.
About 50 pharlan volunteers aided us with this study. Due to the excellent healing ability of pharlans we were able to perform vivisections on some of the volunteers without compromising their safety. These were performed with the aid of several volunteers to hold those under dissection.
Drakara, T. E., and Tavais, R. I. (5431). Origin of Pharlans: A new look at old evidence. Discovery 2620, 201-204.
Felsi, J., Kladara, K., Nirina, T., and Breztai, Y. (5629). An overview of sentient species: Lessons from intergalactic conquest. Journal of Animal Systematics 176, 3584-3588.
MaruSeke, O. E., Sialen, Q., Gizaiden, B., and Ishaikeliak, F. E. (5630). New discoveries of Nerianke homo: A separate population. Archeology 130, 3655-3670.
Selaotoe, K. I., Klashdaolo, T. E., Shakraotoe, Y. I., and Ishaikeliak, F. E. (5013). Fossil evidence of Nerianke homo. Discovery 952, 155-157.
Kred are a Keynari unit of mass - One kred is approximately 250 pounds (under terran gravity)
|Kigrada and the Pact of Dragons||The Pharlan Dictionary|
|The First Hunt||Council of the Seven Great Races|