Yautja Encyclopedia: Society

(Taken from Predator: Race War #0)

"You have to understand the culture of this area. It's the only way you can appreciate the thrill of the hunt. This isn't about sport, it's about trophy-taking. That's why men hunt - to see who bags the biggest prize. And the biggest prize of all is a killer, see? When you kill a killer, his kills belong to you. Numbers. That's what makes the world go round, big numbers."

Psychology

The data in psychology are always on observations of behavior. Through Darwin's natural selection, living things have acquired innate predispositions to behave in ways that promote their survival environment.

Many survival-related behavior patterns are "wired into" the animal's nervous system and triggered at the appropriate time by the co-occurrence of specific stimuli in the environment (such as the sight of an appropriate mate) and the events inside the body (such as the heightened production of sex hormones).

Unfortunately, not much is known about the social interactions of Yautja when not on a hunt.

Social Anxiety

In the Yautja's world, they encounter genuine threats to their physical safety everyday. However, some threats have more of a psychological impact. These psychological threats trigger a mild version of the fight or flight response, that we call anxiety.

Anxiety is a danger or an alert signal. Social anxiety is also called a social phobia. An individual with this problem has persistent fear of social situations, and is fearful of embarrassment. People with social anxiety realize that their fear is exaggerated, but they still cannot control it. They tend to avoid situations in which they need to perform in front of others, and this tends to interfere with life adjustment in some way.

The Elder Yautja (AvP Annual 1: Chained For Life) was a Master, with the laurels of an entire world laid before him. However, such exalted status demands to be constantly proven in a society where all must improve their position in their pack, or die. He would be replaced, or challenged. Thus, he embarked on one final, glorious hunt - although he was well aware that he was growing past his prime, and died by the Kiande Amedha's talons.

Reproduction

It is assumed that even Yautja must be attracted to each other enough to initiate sexual liaisons. All senses are connected to sexual attraction, but smell, the most primitive one, is primary.

"And cleanse your ears as well, you smell of child-bearers musk. Hurry or your betters will wish to mate with you."

(AvP: Hunter's Planet)

Yautja may know instantly which female is in estrus (heat) and at what stage her cycle she is, since their acute sense of smell can detect "child-bearers musk". It is unknown that, once deprived of the sense of smell, the males would become sterile or if the female would continue to go into heat.

Males generally father up to 70 "sucklings".

The female Yautja are known to occasionally throw their mates during moments of passion.

Yautja reproduction is unknown. Females of nearly all earth mammals are sexually motivated only during a specific time in their hormonal cycle. Their male counterparts know instantly when this time occurs, and at what stage of her cycle she is in. Since the Yautja can smell the musks of other Yautja, this might be a possibility. Humans and pygmy chimpanzees differ in this. These females are permanently in estras (heat) - which means they can be sexually motivated at any moment. With the Yautja lifestyle, a male might die on any Hunt. Thus, females might need to be able to breed at any moment, and so this also might be a possibility.

Breeding/Mates

Not much is known about their breeding period. It is assumed only one female in a pack becomes pregnant (usually the dominant female) Sometimes two or more females may breed.

In other earth animals, including most primates, copulation occurs in a stereotypical way, with one set of postures and movements form the female and a different set for the males. Humans are hampered only by imagination. considering how ritualistic the Yautja are, this might be how they copulate.

There is always the threat of castration for males - not only does it eliminate his chances of continuing his line, but also any rank he may have had in male society. Such males would most likely kill themselves in such a situation. It seems reasonable that only females would ritually castrate, males giving each other the respect of killing their opponent instead.

"To think that the elders had once considered him unsuitable for breeding, had even considered severing his gonads."

(AvP: Hunter's Planet)

It is known that they are not monogamous. In such an atmosphere of high competition for breeding rights among males (it is the male who must attract the female), there are many males who never get the chance to breed. These frustrated males may turn on their subordinates.

Thus, the Yautja who do breed have proven themselves by hunting dangerous prey and gaining many impressive trophies. It is not uncommon for veteran warriors to sire hundreds of offspring with multiple mates. A second windfall of this accomplishment is the admiration of their clan brothers, which they spend most of their time.

Youth

Their longevity may suggest that sons live with their mothers for much longer then we would before leaving. It takes longer for them to grow up and fend for themselves, and daughters stay with their mothers for the protected environment to raise their own children and maintain dominance over their clan's territory.

Mothers during this time would teach their young to fight and survive and they hunt for, protect their own children, and are viciously and relentlessly protective.

"Predators aren't big on theory, with them you learn by doing."

"She trained me as she would her own."

(Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species #10)

A female clan would thus be made of succeeding layers of generations; daughters, mothers, grandmothers etc. It would be easy to consider such a clan would be led by a single matriarch.

Considering longevity once more, it takes a lot of energy to raise a child, and so individual females would probably only have a child every decade or two and would be very particular about who was to be the father, and perhaps choose favorites, but do not have permanent pair bonds. This leads to very high competition among males.

The Pack

Packs are the common social structure in the Yautja society. Males live in packs of generally unrelated males and females live in clans of related females and their children.

Every pack develops its own unique personality, its own way of doing things within the rules of honor and the Hunt, that differentiates it from others.

Whereas humans on earth were agrarian, the Yautja never settled down. Their culture revolves around the concept of hunting and stalking prey.

The nomadic nature of males suggests that they have no 'home territory' of sorts, but that their home is what they carry with them. Their ships for example, are the territories that they carry with them. Sons would be more interested in whom their fathers were than daughters, for it may reflect their rank when they leave.

"He looked through the dancing young warriors for Nei'hman-de, whose blood he shared by the same father."

"He was Leader of the Ne'dtesei, son and grandson of ship leaders and warrior trainers..."

(Aliens vs. Predator: Prey)

Some packs may last a relatively short time, breaking up after one or two hunts. Others remain together for years, inhabiting the same space, hunting the same territory, and maintaining certain behavior patterns, even after the founding members have left or died.

Matriarchy

[Female Yautja]

Since females rule over their territory and generally run internal affairs, the Yautja have a matriarchal society. Rarely is it ever needed to be enforced however, males do not involve themselves with female politics and females are uninterested in male socialization. Males conquer. Females rule.

Should the need to enforce this arise however, the male would not only be against a female physically larger then himself, but also her sisters, and their mothers and grandmothers etc. The brethren of this unfortunate male would offer no support, only their derision.

"A warrior who would dare such would not be wise, for an insulted and angry yautja female was not something even a not-too-wise male wanted to create. Assuming the warrior was armed and expert, it might almost be an even match, but Dachande would put his wager on the female. His most recent partner had tossed him across a room during the heat of their mating and that had been an accident."

"Yautja females were bigger then males ... It also explained why this warrior was smarter then most of the yautja he taught. Females of any species were usually smarter then the males."

(Aliens vs. Predator: Prey)

Picture of female yautja provided by Melissa Hitchcock

Hierarchy

So, males hunt for one reason, status. Every member of the pack has a place, or rank, within this order. When a Yautja with a higher rank has a disagreement with a Yautja of a lower rank, the lower-ranking Yautja usually gives up without fighting.

The Pack may contain a dominant breeding pair and other adults. These Yautja retain their leadership until some circumstance forces them out of this position (bad honor, limited Trophies). Events in Avp Annual #1 (Chained To Life and Death) would seem to dictate this.

The dominant male (the Leader) would determine when the Pack hunts and what prey is taken. Initiating the majority of attacks, the alpha male is sometimes injured due to his boldness. The alpha male also claim first rights to all food.

The role males play in their society, that is postulated, is keeping any outside race from interfering with the internal affairs of theirs. Basically, they intimidate other races into submission to protect their females breeding grounds; in addition, the fact it is very amusing to them.

Very early in life, young Yautja may start to establish a dominance order among themselves. They may start fighting with each other every day for a number of days. In the end, one of the sucklings will yield to show that it gives up, and the other raises its tail to show dominance.

Each warrior has trophies on their walls on the homeworld. As proper, a warrior kept only those he thought worthy of his wall. Soft Meat skulls are highly prized, the centerpiece of the wall.

To take a trophy of another Yautja, living or dead, is considered to be a great insult. For example, two Unblooded go on their first hunt. One Yautja takes on a kiande amedha and moth are mortally wounded. while the wounded hunter is dying, the other Yautja conveniently finishes off the prey and claims the kill as his own, abandoning the wounded Yautja. This is the most embarrassing crime, and the hardest to prove.

Yautja that worried more about their ambitions rather than True Glory would, normally, be found out and dealt with, hoisted on their own petards. That, after all, was part of their nature. Ego was a genetic as well as a cultural development in True Dominators. Ambitious fools tended to get themselves killed at an early stage or warriorhood; however, an occasional hothead would advance to leadership and make a mulch of things -- a situation not considered particularly bad, but rather, a challenge.

These creatures do not understand compassion. If a person could sit down and explain it to them, they would be challenged to a duel within five minutes of opening their mouths, as the concept would offend the Predators greatly. Mercy is not given nor expected, but they do understand it and will usually accept it as an opportunity to walk away from a lost duel with honor. The most misunderstood of their codes, the prohibition against killing the young, is not due to any sense of morality. It is simply there because it wastes what could become a real trophy later.

Hatred was not unusual in a Yautja, but generally reserved for another of their species. Hatred for the hunted usually meant fear.

Female Hunters

It is a gray area why females would hunt for trophies. Females do hunt for trophies (Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species #5) but it may be for somewhat different reasons then males. Dominance may certainly be a factor yet not necessarily the only reason. Perhaps it is to show their ability to protect their territory, from enemy female clans. Perhaps to show ability in protecting their children, both their own and their sisters. Perhaps just for a laugh. However, this is entirely speculation.

Yautja

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