Meet the Ike, sapient hominids of Tekuo

The planet’s dominant species are a lot like us. Except when they’re not …

The planet Tekuo is home to 4.2 billion Ike. They are sapient primates who resemble the humans of Earth. We should not be surprised by this as they fill a similar ecological niche and are faced with similar problems. For the same reasons, several other Tekuan species have close Earthly analogues.

Our early ancestors left the rainforest for the savannah. The Ike, however, stayed longer in the rainforest. This single fact accounts for the main differences between the Ike and ourselves.

Appearance

The Ike are shorter and slighter than us. Adults are 120 and 150 centimetres tall and weigh around 40 to 50 kilogrammes. They are built for tree-climbing. They are agile and have great upper body strength.

Their torsos are a little longer than their legs, so to aid balance, they have evolved large flexible feet and a wide-legged stance. Their hips are more flexible than ours, so their leg movements are less restricted. They walk with a rolling gait.

Feet and hands are also long with five long digits on each, including opposable thumbs and big toes. The Ike can, therefore, grasp things with both hands and feet. Their fingers curve when at rest whilst ours straighten out. This makes it easier for them to grip branches.

The heads of Earthly humans may be round, square, oval or long. Amongst the Ike, heads are usually long, though some are round and others shaped like an inverted triangle.

Ike mouths are smaller than ours. So their languages tend only to use two, three or four vowel heights. Five vowel heights are rare, but more is impossible, so the Ike could never master a language like Hungarian with its six vowel heights.

A smaller mouth also prevents the Ike from making a number of fine distinctions between consonants. For example, they cannot make a distinction between post-alveolar and alveo-palatal sounds.

Hair is always black and straight. They have less body hair than we do. Eyes have an East Asian shape. They may have blue, green, yellow or brown irises. Ears are pointy and stick out somewhat. Nails resemble talons.

As befits forest dwellers, the Ike have a better sense of smell than us and better hearing. Their eyesight though is worse than ours. They cannot see so well long distance and are less tolerant of strong light.

Ike may be male or female. They reproduce in the same way as us. Females tend to be shorter than males and to weigh more. Males tend to be stronger. None of these differences is as pronounced as on Earth. Males live to around 120 years old and females to around 130.


The three races

There are three races of Ike. The Utai or Copperfolk live on the north-eastern continent of Umãga and most of Aheku, the south-eastern continent. The Utai come in various shades of red-brown. The inhabitants of Mohai are Copperfolk of a dark red-brown hue.

The Kurõ or Olivefolk live on the western continent of Teohiti. As their English name suggests, they come in various shades of green-brown. In tropical areas, their skin colour is a dark green-brown. In more temperate climes they may have a yellowish cast.

The Mekha or Ashenfolk live in the temperate southern regions of Aheku and Teohiti. Their skin is a grey colour. A recent Kurõ ancestor gives them sage-green undertones. A recent Utai ancestor gives them pinkish-grey undertones.


Behaviour

Diet is omnivorous, with an emphasis on vegetables, fruit and nuts. Some meat and fish is also consumed along with honey, eggs, the bark of certain trees and grubs of various kinds. Only a little cereal or dairy is consumed.

The Ike need a siesta in the early afternoon. They have a corresponding waking period in the middle of the night.

They are better than us at balancing, jumping, diving and suspensory locomotion. They are less good at running and swimming. Even in the modern era, they squat on the ground rather than sit on a chair.


Psychology

The Ike are sociable and highly intelligent. They have a better long-term memory than us. Most are calm and diplomatic, though some hustler/trader types are also encountered.

Unlike us, they do not need a common enemy in order to bond as a group, a common problem is sufficient. This may explain why there has been less war on Tekuo than we have endured on Earth.

The Ike have no magical powers. To get magic performed, they need to ask a favour of a supernatural being. This may partly explain their diplomatic nature.


Societies ancient and modern

In their natural state, the Ike lived in bands of 80 to 250 and were nomadic within a territory. They were gatherers and trapped their meat or scavenged for it rather than hunted. No societies like this remain in the modern era, though recreating a simpler, more natural lifestyle is a common holiday activity.

Traditionally, nuclear families were large and extended families and clans were very important. Nowadays, nuclear families are small, just as they are in advanced earthly societies. Clans and extended families have retained some importance as their functions have been updated to cope with the modern era.

Civilisation began in the north-west of Aheku. It spread to the rest of Aheku but appeared in southern Umãga long before all Aheku was reached. Teohiti was the last continent settled and the last to see the beginning of civilisation.

Modern Ike societies are just as complex as ours. They cannot be effectively ruled by a single person and tend to be bureaucratic. Many are democracies like Mohai, but some are ruled by businessmen or a knowledge-based elite.

Author: David Johnson

Conlanger, writer and activist.

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