Pannovas

Average mass: 40 kg (female), 55 kg (male)
Average length: 1.3 m (female, standing), 1.6 m (male, standing)
Thermoregulation: Endothermic homeotherm, 37° C

Description

Pannovas are uplifted chimpanzees - apes given full sapience, the power of speech, and talented hands by genetic engineering. Their appearance is nearly that of the common chimpanzee, although they have a larger cranium to house their bigger brain.

Communication

Pannovas have been genetically engineered to be able to speak Human languages. For historical reasons Pannovas mostly speak English, but they can talk and understand, read and write any Human language they grow up speaking or take the effort to learn, just as a Human. Like Humans, Pannovas use their mouth to shape their sounds, so they must open and move their mouth and jaw in order to speak.

Pannovas have their own particular body language, facial expressions, and non-language vocalizations which, while related to those of humans, are distinct to the point that mistaken familiarity can cause misunderstandings. A Pannova open-mouthed "grin", for example, usually indicates fear, while a closed mouth grin is for appeasement or showing submission (however, an open-mouthed laugh means the same thing to Pannovas and Humans). A common vocalization is the pant-hoot, used when the Pannova is excited. A pant-hoot starts with a series of soft "ooh-ooh-oohs" that get progressively louder, culminating in screams and barks until subsiding back to quiet "oohs" again.

Locomotion and Biomechanics

Pannovas retain the basic morphology of their chimp ancestors. They normally support themselves on all four limbs, with their arms bearing the weight on the knuckles. They can walk on their two hind legs if they are not in a hurry. The average Pannova can run a bit faster than the average Human and jump higher. They are natural acrobats and are exceptionally strong for their size.

Pannovas are good climbers. Long, strong arms, flexible shoulder and hip joints, and the ability to grip with their feet as well as their hands help them easily clamber up trees with speed and agility.

However, Pannovas cannot float, making swimming nearly impossible without floatation aids. They are also not particularly good at walking or running long distances, becoming easily winded.

Pannovas are more sexually dimorphic than humans, with males significantly larger and stronger than the females. Males also have large pointed fangs for fighting.

Pannovas are not as well adapted as Humans for throwing or hitting. The arrangement of their arm and wrist bones does not allow them to punch well or strike powerful blows with melee weapons, nor to throw with the power or accuracy that a Human can achieve. When Pannovas fight unarmed, they usually grab and bite although they will also use pushes, slaps, and overarm hammer-fist blows.

Diet and Feeding Habits

The bulk of a Pannova's diet is made up of fruit, leaves, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Most will eat meat and eggs, but it makes up less of their diet than that of a typical Human. Pannovas cook and season their food in the Human fashion. Like Humans, ethyl alcohol is more of an intoxicant than a poison. Since most Pannovas are lactose intolerant, dairy is rarely used in Pannova cooking and drinking raw milk is almost unheard of (with the obvious exception of infants nursing from their mothers).

Psychology

As an example of how Pannovas and Humans differ psychologically, consider how each react to bullies. Humans tend to see someone acting cruelly and sympathize with the victim, as well as considering that the aggressor could mis-treat them as well. Consequently, the Human will not want to associate with the bully. A Pannova will see the bully and think that the bully is strong and dominant. Since it pays to have dominant allies, the Pannova is more likely to suck up to the bully and try and ingratiate itself.
Pannovas are psychologically similar in many ways to humans, but tend to be less inhibited, less naturally cooperative, and more competitive and pushy. Their social structure revolves around a strong dominance hierarchy, and Pannovas naturally jockey for position for status within this hierarchy. Despite this, Pannovas form strong bonds of friendship and can be very caring, loyal, and empathetic towards those that are close to them. However, there is certainly a wide range of personality types which can be found among them; some will be playful, others mischievous, dominant, excitable, timid, or more or less impulsive. Males tend to be more aggressive and dominant than females. Male Pannovas are very protective of their friends and allies, their territory, their troop and clan, and their honor, and can become violent when these are threatened.

Pannovas do not have a sense of modesty as understood by Humans. They feel no need to wear clothes just for the purpose of covering up. However, they do wear clothes for environmental protection, looking fancy, and pockets for carrying things.

Society

Pannovas live in groups of several adult males and females and any offspring they may have, called a troop. The core of a Pannova troop is a coalition of allied males, who are usually closely related. Females are more loosely bound to the troop, and may come and go (although they are still considered to be part of the troop, as they tend to return to the same troop). Social bonds are reinforced by grooming.

Clans of related troops are the dominant force in the greater Pannova society. Pannovas identify with their clans first and foremost, and the clan organization looks out for its members. Each clan will have a name, its associated symbols, traditions, and rituals. Females may move between clans, but this is rare for adult males. Young males entering maturity often strike out on their own for a time, clanless, as they seek their own identity and way forward in life before settling down to permanently join a clan that suits them. Most end up rejoining the clan they were raised in, but there is no stigma attached to choosing a different clan (although the reaction of that individual's family troop may range from good natured ribbing to outright rejection and shunning, depending on the personalities, circumstances, and which clans are involved). Because females are more mobile, they are the glue that binds the clans together peacefully, acting as mediators to calm squabbles between otherwise rival groups.

Each clan is named after a totem or mascot. A Pannova takes its troop name as its middle name and its clan name as its last name – a Pannova with a given name of John from the Moera troop and clan Pirate would be called John Moera Pirate.

Pannovas are partially integrated into human society - their clannish, pushy, and hierarchical nature can make it difficult for them to fit in socially but they are equal under the law and guaranteed all the rights and privileges of any sapient being. Many Pannovas are stuck in the lower classes, trapped in a cycle of violence, poverty, and distrust; but some are quite capable business-beings or rise high in corporate, government, or military hierarchies.

Racist Humans may call Pannovas "Pansies"; calling one a Pansy to its face is a good way to get your own face ripped off.

Culture

Pannovas have nearly no native culture of their own, unless you count fishing for termites with twigs or building leaf nests in trees. Almost all Pannova culture has been adopted from Humans. Since they were created by Western-educated English-speaking scientists and granted asylum by the United States, most Pannovas come from a Western European/American cultural background. However, their origin in enslavement, history of oppression, and displacement from their homeland in a forced diaspora to an alien world has led them to be suspicious of Human culture and Human things as they attempt to forge their own identity.

Architecture

Pannovas have adopted Human styles for their own, but there are some differences to allow for their different body shapes. The ceilings are usually lower, and access to different levels is more often by climbing ladders than stairs. Pannova beds are usually set up high, near the ceiling. They are more comfortable sleeping up high, and this allows the space underneath the bed to be used for other purposes.

Dress

As in most other cultural aspects, Pannovas have adopted Human customs for clothing – when they choose to wear clothing. Since pockets are useful for a sapient species that usually walks on its hands, Pannova clothes usually have lots and lots of pockets, as well as load-bearing loops, belts, and other methods of stashing gear. Pannovas dislike boots and closed-toed shoes of all kinds and may dispense with the shirt and possibly the pants (although they like the pockets of cargo pants), but commonly wear vests and have toeless shoes and gloves without fingertips or thumbs for walking.

Music

While Pannovas have adopted much of the Human musical heritage, they have developed some of their own styles of music. The most popular is called Jungle, featuring deep rhythmic beats rich in percussion. Jungle concerts often feature wild and ecstatic dancing featuring great leaps, acrobatic climbing, and beaing one's fists against things (or even oneself). Jungle has gone beyond the Pannova community and been incorporated in Human, Gummi, and Tweechi musical styles as well.

Sports

Pannovas largely play Human-style sports with the exception of those involving throwing and hitting, which they are not very good at. Expect the Pannova to go for the slam dunk rather than the three-point shot. Most professional football teams include a mix of Pannovas and Humans – Pannovas for their strength and agility, Humans for their throwing accuracy.

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