Anatomy and Morphology

The orc is a large humanoid creature, distantly related to humans. They stand taller than your average human, making six feet quite easily. They are bulkier and more muscular, but their greatest physical differences are their head and their skin. The spine of an orc curves almost 90o at the upper torso, causing an orc's head to jut from their body at around the level of their shoulders. The head itself is large, with a slab-like, jutting lower jaw from which prominent tusks emerge. The nose is flat and flaring, and the brow is graced by heavy bone ridges. The skin of an orc is green in colour, colonized by microalgae housed in special cells called algephores. The shade of a given orc depends on age, race and basal genetics, with a general trend toward darkening in older individuals. This colonization allows orcs to survive hunger much better than and equivalent human.

Orcs are mammals, and like most mammals their is differentiation between the sexes. This is less prominent than in humans and other primates, mainly due to the harsh environments that orcs reside in. A female orc possesses minimal breasts, remaining mostly unnoticeable except during lactation. The facial features are also finer and more delicate, but this is only in comparison. They tend to be slightly smaller, but this is due mainly to altered hip structure that leads to a more bow-legged stance. The sexes also differ by scent, but this is most obvious to another orc.

While their symbiosis with algae provides a portion of the orcs nutrition, they are forced still to subsist on regular food. Orcs consume mainly meat, with plant material being merely supplemental or as a delicacy. Most of the plant supplied nutrients necessary are taken in from dead or aged algal cells. This makes orcs primarily predators, and this more aggressive lifestyle may have governed their size, strength and comparative lack of sexual dimorphism.

Orcs retain less body hair than most humans, living as they do in hotter environments. They retain hair on the head and face, but in a reversal of human attitudes, facial hair is considered a juvenile state, unsuitable for mating. This is not hormonally driven, but a basis of lifestyle. Scar tissue doesn't contain hair follicles, and an orc with facial scarring is considered both a survivor and a provider. Over evolutionary history, orcs with scarce facial hair have been selected for, leading to a paucity of full bearded orcs. Some orc sub-cultures consider sculpted facial hair attractive, and thus, like modern human males adopting long hair, a typically feminine trait, some orcs boldly display full beards, sometimes elaborately braided. This trend away from hair leads most orcs to shave or reduce their head hair also, with bald or short topknots being common.


Ecology, Behavior and Life History

Evolutionary History

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