I'm interested in the evolution of the humanoid races - human evolution we already know of from our own reality, but I want to talk about elves, dwarves and kossith, and their evolution. How did the races evolve? How closely related are they? What impact does their evolution have on their culture, behavior, philosophy, way of living? Can we maybe make a family tree of the races?
- Humans - Homo Sapiens
- Elves - Homo Nympha
- Dwarves - Homo Pumilio
- Kossith - Homo Cornus
Just for example - In "Stolen Throne" (I've heard) the elves have Tapetum lucidum - eyeshine. Does that mean elves are at least partially nocturnal? Should dwarves, who live underground, also have see-in-the-dark? Kossith looks most distinguished from the other races, does that mean they split off earlier than the other races? Could dwarves be evolved from the Neanderthals, with their stockier built (comparing to humans)?
I'd like to leave out magic and demons as much as possible, or else we can come up with pretty much anything. Also please leave out Creationist-ideas (this is a thread about evolution), and simple facts that "we don't know enough to make a statement". The dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years, but paleontologists can build up an entire world from what they find. What can we learn from studying the Thedas races? --SylvanLore (talk) 09:48, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, I am no scientist but I would theorize that since the Elves' ancient capital, Arlathan, was in a great forest, it is not unlikely that they stem from the forests of Thedas.
As such, they would probably develop some different skills, such as the ability to see with less light present and pointed ears to better pick up sounds in the underbrush. If the dwarves might have been developed from the Neanderthal branch of humankind going underground where height is a disadvantage, then elves would likely be a further development of the Cro-Magnon that lead to humans. Kossith could possibly be the Neanderthals developing in a different direction, but with the horn it might be a stretch. Maybe they came from plains outside of Thedas, where height gives an advantage; the horns could possibly come from the need of defense/weaponry or be seen as a status symbol among the clans.
I found this side  that makes some pretty good notes on elven evolution (probably Tolkien, but it works on Thedas elves as well, at least partially).
As for dwarves, they are short, stocky, hairy and broad (male shoulders and female hips). A short staure might mean the baby has to lay more "outside" a pregnant dwarf, just to fit and not squash the mother's organs, and broad hips to support a more hanging-outside stomage.
I am in the dark when it comes to the amount of hairiness of dwarven females, I assume they are about as hairy as human females. But stereotypical dwarven males are very hairy - beard, chest-hair etc. Could be a evolutionary-design-turned-cultural-preference to keep warm in the cold underworld (Orzammar has lava, but we cannot presume all thaigs have that). Lyrium resistance we already know about, but broad dwarven male shoulders might be to move large quantities of rock, for creating new "burrows", and as a result broad chest might indicate large lungs, to take in as much oxygen as possible. --SylvanLore (talk) 10:50, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
I read the link and found it very interesting, a lot of the statements about elven evolution makes sense, though for the art part, the author probably did not take into account that though elven sex drive is less, they might instead show their skills in long-term projects (as art), displaying mental abilities instead of short displays of physical attributes. But I digress, my apologies.
However, the most interesting race is the Kossith; they are relatively exclusive to the Dragon Age world (Thedas AND beyond) and little is known about them. Their horns in particular, since they have head-hair as well, is a mystery to me. You don't really see that combination in nature, yet the rest of their bodies seem rather hairless.
Assuming we believe that the modern human lost its fur due to the climate they were in or some other reason lost in the past did the Kossith split up from the humans before or after we lost our fur? if before, how did they lose theirs? if after, was there enough time to develop horns for the species? Just some thoughts I was pondering. --AnjaHaSch (talk) 12:06, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
- Well interesting theory, but I would like to point out one thing, our species is not called "Homo Sapience" it is called "Homo Sapience Sapience", we usually leave out the last sapience, but it is there to distinquish between us and our closest cousin "Homo Sapience Neanderthalsus"
- As sapience mean "to act with reason" all the four species should have "sapience in it, because that is what defines all of the four races, which I believe is just races, as they can interbreed.
- To use your names it would therefore be more logical to call them either:
- Humans - Homo Sapiens
- Elves - Nympha Sapiens
- Dwarves - Pumilio Sapiens
- Kossith - Cornus Sapiens
Or to sympolice the very close relation
- Humans - Homo Sapiens Sapiens (or homo homo sapiens)
- Elves - Homo Nympha Sapiens
- Dwarves - Homo Pumilio Sapiens
- Kossith - Homo Cornus Sapiens (or just Cornus Sapiens)
Anyway, the kossith seems to me to be of a completly different family then the humans, possibly descendent of bulls instead of monkeys, which would explain their horns, but that would also prohibit any kossith homo hybrid. Other then that its a fine idea-rphb- (talk) 14:21, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
I love thinking about this kind of stuff, and am really excited to see what people have to say. I think that as far as Elves are concerned, I would say that they followed a path of evolution similar to that of humans. Except of course their elvish features. Smaller, more slender bodies to move better in their wooded homeland. Sharper, more acute ears to hear sounds in the underbrush, and possibly be aware for threats sooner. (The Dalish Warden does start with a level of Survival skill) And perhaps their eyes do shine to see in low light, not so much making them nocturnal but capable of seeing in the dark better than humans.
As far as Dwarves are concerned I completely agree with the sentiments already stated concerning the dwarven stature. I would also suggest that perhaps their hairiness is a result the same genes that create their muscular bodies also result in hairiness. I mean testosterone, is linked to both higher muscle content and hair. Could also attribute to the gruff personalities in a lot of dwarves.
Like everyone else, I think the Kossith are the most interesting group of which to consider the evolution. I don't think I'd go as far as to say they evolved from any sort of bovine. They're too similar to the other races, especially hornless Kossith who simply look like large humans. I would say that they share a similar ancestry. And perhaps, going out on a limb here, their culture played a role in their evolution. Maybe they didn't initially have horns but perhaps their early culture focused on headbutting as a sign of virility or dominance. (I know it sounds strange, but if you think about it we don't really know a lot about Kossith culture outside of the Qun. The Tal-Vashoth are more like ex-Qunari than reborn Kossith because they still talk and see the world like Qunari, only choosing to be nothing over their assigned role) But perhaps this culture of head smashing caused individuals with stronger skulls to survive more frequently and thus give them the option to reproduce. Over time, talking a lot of time here, maybe the development of horns became seen as advantageous in the strive for dominance and became symbols of power. This would explain why the Arishok has larger horns than everyone else. It would also explain why some Kossith are born without horns. Maybe the horn gene hasn't completely wiped out other possible evolutions of the Kossith because it is still early in their evolution as a species. Tyrannus3 (talk) 22:34, May 30, 2012 (UTC)
I'm surprise that no one question why in real life there isn't race that also have a very different body structure like a dwarf, or like an elves and like a quanari. I mean, yes, there is a European and Asian but not in the same extent as the fantasy race in Dragon Age.--14:36, May 31, 2012 (UTC)
There isn't any evidence to support or deny the existence of evolution in the Dragon Age setting. For example, it's entirely possible that Dwarves did come from the Stone, perhaps originally being molded Wonder Woman-like by some long-forgotten god. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, I typically just assume that "magic did it" in a fantasy setting. Son Goharotto (talk)
I once participated in a theory-group about Dwarves and their vision from living underground. My hypothesis was that they had partial thermal vision, to be able to see by heat. Someone else stipulated that this could be the cause of the extra hair on their bodies, to generate more heat from themselves so they could see. I have no idea how well this holds up under actual science but I thought it was a good idea. Friendlysociopath (talk) 19:42, May 31, 2012 (UTC)
That's...not how infrared vision works. Also, I'm pretty sure the books describe Darkspawn as being cold and clammy, basically walking corpses. So-called heat vision wouldn't be much use there. Son Goharotto (talk) 20:50, May 31, 2012 (UTC)
A rynos horns are just hardened hair so the kossiths horns may be hardened hair. (unsigned)
- The idea about this discussion as far as I understood it, was to pretend that the story of DA and the world it is set in Thedas, is logical coherent and makes sense.
- To say "the Maker did it" or the like is to admit that it does not, and as a consequence that the story behind the games is poorly written.
- Of course there are evolution, there can be only two ways for any kind of beings to come into existence, from natural selection or by design, but if you choose option 2, then it entails a designer and that designer must himself have come into existence from natural selection, or at least his or his designer would, ultimately evolution is the only explanation.
- of course we can dismiss the explanation all together, but to do that is to give up on the story, to admit that it dosn't make sense.
- And as a sidenote, there is nothing in the game that indicates that the maker is real, and that is part of the beauty of the game. They may ruin it with DA3, although it is difficult to imagine how they could ruin it more then they already have, but I guess we will just wait and see.-rphb- (talk) 20:29, June 4, 2012 (UTC)
- There is also nothing in the game that indicates that the maker is not real. -- 21:41, June 4, 2012 (UTC)
However, the appearance of Maker seems to coincide with the Fen'Harel betraying elves and sealing away both the ancient elven and the Forgotten Ones, who are likely the same Old Gods the Tevinter worships. Since ancient elves knew more about Fade than anyone else, with the Tevinter coming close second, I'm far more inclined to believe in their legends than in the Chant of Light. 4Ferelden (talk) 07:54, June 5, 2012 (UTC)
- Why is it that you are looking for a debate? I didn't even said about anything that the maker is "the real God" and that the Elven Gods and Goddesses are the "false ones". -- 10:13, June 5, 2012 (UTC)
My point was, that there is nothing in the game that indicates that the Maker is real AND as Asteral9 stated, there is nothing that indicate that he is NOT real. This is what makes it interesting, this is why there can be disagreements about the religions, disagreements that can never be solved as no one can know what is real and what is not.
And this discussion was about the non dues ex machina elements of Thedas, about evolution. Can't you guys just accept that the question about the Maker, Fen'Heral and the elves are an unsolvable mystery, that is not supposed to be solved, because there is no solution and no truth in any of it.
We don't discuss whether or not God is real, not like this at least, can't we just do the same, and stop these pointless specualtion about elven gods, dwarven gods, kossuit gods, human gods and pony gods for all I care.
If any of the stories have any truth in it, then it is not a truth. The existence of a god as a being itself falsify that that being could be a god. So the discussion of the exsistence of gods is pointless in the fullest extent of the word. Now please, lets get back to topic.-rphb- (talk) 18:20, June 5, 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Even in real life people disagree about the existence of god.
Assuming that the Maker did not create the races I think the hypotheses about the elves evolving in the forest makes sense. They have larger ears to detect danger or prey, eyes that allow them to see in the dim light, and their smaller stature and thinner bodies allow them to move through the underbrush more easily.
The dwarves could be short and stocky so that their tunnels do not have to be as large. I personally like the theory the the same gene makes them both hairy and muscular.
I assume that human evolution is the same in Thedas as in real life.
As for the kossith, I think that they split off from the human line very early (somewhere between fish and monkeys) and evolved on the plains where food is plentiful. Their size would be an advantage against other species and the horns developed for added protection. --CouslandRogue (talk) 01:30, June 7, 2012 (UTC)
Rather than Humans being the original race from which the other species evolved, I'm wondering if they're actually the result of crossbreeding between Elves and Dwarves? That might account for why Elves and Dwarves are known to have ancient civilizations, while Humans are the relative newcomers. It could also explain why a Human breeding with either species produces a Human. As for Kossith, well, they're not even from Thedas. There's no reason to assume they're at all related to the other sentient species. Son Goharotto (talk) 04:05, June 7, 2012 (UTC)
The dwarves evolved from moles that would count for their stoky build and the fact they live underground. The kossith may have evolved from a set group of homo sapien that lived in a harsh enviorment. All hail Darkside! 126.96.36.199 (talk) 04:59, June 7, 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it's possible that every sentient species evolved from different creatures entirely, eventually ending up similarly due to convergent evolution. But the ability to interbreed sort of precludes that idea. Son Goharotto (talk) 14:19, June 7, 2012 (UTC)
The ability to interbred and produce living offspring that is themselves capabler of producing offspring means that they biologically speaking aren't distinct species but just subsets of the same species, but as far as I know they also just call them "races" which would be scientifically correct, but wouldn't really leave much room for difference in evolution. -rphb- (talk) 19:35, June 7, 2012 (UTC)
- Yes, thank you for repeating the very thing I said. It occurs to me in retrospect that some people need things spelled out for them. Son Goharotto (talk) 21:28, June 7, 2012 (UTC)
Where does it say that a human breeding with an elf or dwarf produces a human? Also I was under the impression that humans, elves and dwarves could not breed with kossith.
Since humans, elves and dwarves can breed together but not with kossith, I think that humans, elves and dwarves are closely related and kossith only look similar because of convergent evolution--CouslandRogue (talk) 03:59, June 8, 2012 (UTC)
- Elf/Human interbreeding is a matter of Word of God. As for Dwarves, that's only speculation so far, given that the Dwarf Warden can conceive a child with Morrigan which is presumably Human (in form, at least).
- But you are mistaken regarding the concept of convergent evolution. That refers to when unrelated species evolve to appear similar, because they both naturally came to develop the same useful traits, like binocular vision and erect posture. But such species are incapable of natural interbreeding. (Genetic manipulation in the laboratory is still an option.)
- The ability to interbreed among Humans, Elves, and Dwarves is at best an example of parallel evolution, when related species evolve along similar lines and remain genetically close enough for interbreeding. (Tigers and lions, or horses and donkeys, for example.)
- For the sake of comparison, the other option is divergent evolution, when a single species breaks up into different populations that evolve along different lines, usually the result of environmental differences and adaptational necessity. (Dragons and wyverns, for example, might have a common ancestor, but that's purely speculation on my part.)
- You're right about Kossith, though. It's unlikely that they are related to the Thedasian races. Son Goharotto (talk) 15:56, June 8, 2012 (UTC)