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"If it bleeds, we can kill it. "
―Dutch

The Yautja (ya-OOT-ja); commonly known as Predators; are a sapient, spacefaring species of extraterrestrial humanoids: a race of hunters that continuously seek Human and other exotic prey, whether sapient or non-sapient.

In addition to the name Yautja, the alternate name Hish-qu-Ten, or simply Hish; has also been applied to this species; although there is evidence that they might represent a distinct subspecies, ethnic group, or faction.

The notable encounters with the Yautja species seemingly consists of mostly male Predators - the Predator females are a somewhat rare occurrence as there are only a few known female individuals.

Biology

Predador

Predators are physically distinguished from Humans by their greater height, arthropod-like mandibles and long, hair-like appendages on their heads that are set into their skulls. Their bodies are resilient to damage, capable of recovering from multiple gunshot wounds and radiation doses which would be fatal to Humans. They are much stronger than Humans, being easily capable of outmatching a conditioned adult Human male and shattering solid concrete with their bare hands. They are also skilled climbers, and will readily move through trees or across rooftops in pursuit of prey.

Though capable of surviving exposure in Antarctic temperatures for an extended period of time, it is believed that Predators have a preference for hot equatorial climates. Their diet is omnivorous, as they've been shown to consume both meat and vegetable roots.

Doctor Miriam Revna has noted that the Yautja have a completely different cell structure from the Xenomorph facehugger.[1]

Blood

The Yautja blood is easily recognizable as a luminous phosphorous green fluid: a trait they share with other creatures which are presumed to have a close evolutionary relationship to them, such as the Predator Hound.

When Batman had the opportunity to test some of the Predator's blood, he found that its biochemistry was alien, but still carbon-based. Because of this, he was able to use a wide-spectrum tranquilizer, with a dosage which in Batman's words could stop a herd of rhinos, to partially incapacitate the Predator.[2]

Dreadlocks

The dreadlock-like head tendrils are an iconic physical feature of the Yautja. Speculated to represent thermoregulatory or sensorial organs; it's also possible that they serve primarily for display. Some individuals have been observed to wear what appears to be jewelry on them, and the "Predalien" (a Xenomorph born from a Yautja host) eventually grew them; implying that they are genetic.

The first step towards becoming a warrior amongst the Yautja is the agony of the plaiting of these locks, a process that can take months of ritual and scalp pain, performed in public sessions. If there is any sign of tears or even the tiniest voicing of pain, then the intricate weaving will be undone, and the candidate has to start from the beginning.[3]

When a Predator's dreadlocks are shot off, they bleed profusely.[4]

Dread-removed

A Predator with his dreadlocks removed.

Variations in their dreadlocks have been shown to exist. One of the Yautja hunting in Gotham had short dreadlocks that appear to be uniformly cut.[5]

It's also been stated that the Yautja apparently use their "High Tech Dreadlocks" as scanning devices.[6]

The members of the Dark Blade clan captured by Borgia Industries all had their dreadlocks removed for unknown reasons. As the Human Hunter Borgia began to undergo genetic augmentation with Yautja DNA, he began to develop dreadlocks similar to the Yautja in place of hair.[7]

The Hish apparently have flesh braids.[8]

Evolution

Therapsids

Therapsids may have been the ancestors of the Yautja species.

Very little is known about the evolutionary history of the Yautja, which are believed to have originated in a hot-temperature planet known simply as "Yautja Prime".

Primitive-predator

A primitive Predator.

During her experience with the species, however, Dr. Maya Bergstrom created several elaborate theories on the origins of the Predator. She theorized that the Predator she met was on a pilgrimage to Earth, driven by instinct to return to its species world of origin, because, according to her theory, the Predators were descendants of primitive mammalian precursors called therapsids that had somehow been taken away from Earth by a greater intelligence to fulfill their evolutionary potential.[9]

She also speculated that they may have evolved on Earth, and simply have moved on after running out of challenges. There was not any considerable evidence to support any of her theories, however, and they should be considered what they are: speculation.

Having evolved on Earth would explain the Yautja's ability to eat Earth plants and animals, but wouldn't explain their need for a different atmospheric composition. The therapsid identification is consistent with the combination of reptilian and mammalian traits, such as a preference for tropical temperatures and the fact that females often (although not always) have breasts.

Respiration

PREDATOR2-0

A Predator's hand-held mask.

When operating on Earth, Yautja hunters have been consistently observed to wear masks to apparently aid in breathing. They can, however, survive just as well without them for some time, as demonstrated by various occurrences in which the masks have been removed or lost, and the individuals continued to operate without being visibly hindered by Earth's atmosphere. It is possible that the masks may serve to filter out alien pathogens, although the fact that the Yautja have been often seen feeding on raw meat suggests that they don't have such worries. In one case, when the City Hunter lost his mask, he used a hand-held breath mask.[10]

Conversely, when the Jungle Hunter's mask was knocked off, it was revealed that oxygen is poisonous to the Yautja and they do not survive long without their helmets in an Earth-like atmosphere.[11]

On another occasion, when a Predator leader was captured and restrained by the Human colonists of Ryushi, the doctor Miriam Revna commented that the specimen appeared to breathe a mixture of methane with traces of other common elements.[12]

It has been claimed that female Predator "Big Mama" can function in an Earth-like atmosphere with some difficulty, but apparently the Yautja lungs evolved in a radically different ecosystem. The air on Big Mama's ship burned Caryn Delacroix's lungs like acid, and when she set the life support on the ship for Human settings, she noted an undertaste of methane. Later, when other people attempted to enter the ship, the methane atmosphere was confirmed.[13]

One captive member of the species was provided with a hot and humid tropical environment with a high methane-content atmosphere.[14]

In other occasions, distinct observations have been made about the Yautja's preferred atmospheric composition, suggesting that the key component might be nitrogen, rather than methane. One source suggests that they breathe 1% more oxygen, and 4% more nitrogen than Humans, and that they can adapt to Earth's natural gases, but it could only last for one week at the most.[15] It's been mentioned that they thrive in air that is rich with nitrogen[16] and Ripley 8 has also commented that the heavy air on the Yautja ship is nitrogen rich.[17]

Although it's not easy to make sense out of these apparent discrepancies, it should be noted that there might be different subspecies of Yautja, and that the species is not above using genetic augmentation on themselves, and even combining themselves with genetic material taken from the trophies of the most dangerous life forms that they hunt; with the goal of perfecting their own biology. How widespread these hybridizing practices are is not clear, but they may possibly account for different individuals having radically different biological needs, such as atmospheric composition.

Reproduction

The subject of Yautja reproduction is a mystery, and although females are confirmed to exist, only a few individuals appear to be blatantly female by Human standards.

Deadliest of the Species issue 1 The Female Predator !

The Big Mama

In at least some Yautja cultures, the females are apparently not hunters, but are still none-the-less equals in Yautja society and mentality. "Lou-dte kalei" is a derogatory term that is sometimes used to refer to females; it literally means "child-maker". The warrior Dachande ("Broken Tusk") has never heard the word spoken to a female's face. It's apparently considered a very unwise thing to do, or even consider, for an insulted and angry Yautja female is not something even a not-too-wise male would want to see. Apparently, an angered Yautja female is far stronger than even an armed male.

Mating is considered pleasurable, but might be violent. One of Dachande's mates once tossed him across a room during the heat of their mating, although that was an accident. Females are known to howl in ecstasy during the act, and it is noted that there is apparently a breeding season. Additionally, some of the females have milk glands of some sort, confirming their mammal-like nature. Dachande was not able to recognize a Human female until he saw her breasts. The children are referred to as "suckers".[18]

A female individual called "Big Mama" was shown to be actively hunting; she beared only a little distinction from male individuals, both physically and clothing-wise; notable differentiation include more colored crest and dreadlocks; she has shown to be extremely protective and caring of her progeny and an elite huntress.[19]

Female predator

Female and juvenile Yautja.

Some Yautja clans display a distinctly tribal structure, including several females and infants living alongside the males.[20]

A Yautja female named Vagouti accompanied her husband on a hunting trip to Earth. It's been noted that she seems to be more calculative and hesitant to make an attack compared to her partner.[21]

Skeleton

Pred-skull-1

A Predator skull.

Not much is known about the Yautja skeletal structure, as their remains are hard to come across and a full skeleton has never been seen, as far as it's known. However, a Yautja skull was present in a Super Predator trophy-site.

Doctor Miriam Revna noted that Dachande had four cracked ribs[22], confirming that their chest cavities are protected by a ribcage, probably similar to a Human's.

The Predator Scarface collected the skulls of his three brain-washed clan-brothers, and Hunter Borgia had a Yautja skull as a, presumably decorative, part of his own armor.[23]

Vision

The Yautja naturally see on the infra-red bandwidth of light, most likely exclusively. This has been shown to be both a strength and a weakness, and has been exploited by some Humans. Dutch was able to avoid being seen by covering himself with mud while being hunted, and Royce was able to blend in with another heat source, likewise to evade his pursuers.

The Predators' vision can be altered or augmented with their masks. Several different vision modes have been seen, but their functions have not been clearly defined. It should be noted that, when the Jungle Hunter removed his mask, his vision changed greatly, but the same hasn't been observed with other individuals. There are numerous theories as to why this is, the predominant one being that the relative temperatures of the jungle were very high and his mask aided in filtering them.

Hish-qu-Ten

The Predators who call themselves Hish-qu-Ten, or simply Hish, are physically and culturally similar to those who call themselves Yautja, but there are some peculiarities that suggest that they could represent a distinct biological variant of the race; or perhaps even a separate species.

The most notable distinction is that the Hish possess what is called a "Kill Gland", a small cherry-red gland located beneath their clavicle, that produces a dangerous hormone that causes the Hish to launch into a homicidal rage.

Another distinction is that the Hish are sequential hermaphrodites, and involuntarily change genders from male to female and vice-verse, multiple times throughout their lives.

The Hish evolved in a swamp planet, and can survive twenty minutes under water because of a gas-sac that holds extra atmosphere.[24]

Culture and society

Most Yautja dedicate their lives to hunting, and seeking out "worthy" opponents, singling out the most potentially challenging species of each planet they visit. They're also known to abduct members of other species and bring them to other worlds to be hunted. In terms of technology, they're most infamously known for their camouflaging system, which renders them completely invisible, allowing them to stalk prey.

When they successfully take down a strong creature, they generally take some trophy, and an experienced Predator will have a whole trophy room in his ship to display those. They frequently employ a particularly brutal practice of killing by ripping off the victim's head along with parts of the victim's spine.

As a principle, a Yautja hunter will usually ignore those who are weak, pose no danger to them, and have no means of offering a fair fight. However, there have been exceptions to this general rule.

Relations with Humans

There is clear evidence that there have been mutually beneficial relations between the Yautja and Humans, with ancient civilizations that worshiped the Predators as deities, as well as performed Human sacrifice so the Predators could partake in their hunts of the Xenomorphs. It may also be said that the Yautja may have held considerable influence over some known Human civilizations, such as the Egyptians and the Aztecs, from teaching humanity about architecture and giving them certain technologies.

Furthermore, despite being much weaker, Humans have been noted by the Yautja as being respectful warriors in their own right. This shows the behavior of the Yautjia when dealing with warriors not of their own kind and when recognized, a notion of respect is given. Yautja are naturally driven to hunt for the most dangerous, cunning and challenging prey available in whatever planet they're in, and whenever they visit Earth, they opt to hunt Humans. Some Humans have been able to defeat the Predators, even in spite of the latter's clear biological and technological superiority.

Government

Yautja often operate in groups with clear leaders, but there is little evidence about how their society functions, although they appear to be ruled by a King. When a Predator ship crashes on an alien planet, there is a quick response to the situation, indicating a governing force that monitors the hunts.

Ancient-yautja

A Yautja ancient.

The many distinct Yautja clans are governed by the Council of Ancients. It's been shown that if a clan desires to have exclusive hunting rights to a planet, they must be petitioned. It is also shown that they seem to have exclusive use of atomic weaponry in Yautja society.[25]

Food and drink

Fittingly for a race of hunters, many Yautja have been shown to consume the meat of their hunts, but their eating habits vary wildly, from carefully-prepared ceremonial banquets to simply devouring the raw flesh of the prey after killing it. They don't seem to worry about the potential biochemical difficulties of ingesting food that is alien to their own biology.

On Earth, the City Hunter covertly raided a slaughterhouse for frozen beef.[26] Another Predator was seen skinning and eating muskrats[27], and another one was observed eating the roots of an Earth plant. It was speculated that he was guided to the root either through instinct or scent.[28]

C'ntlip is a fiery Yautja brew that fogs mind and body with pleasure.[29]

Clans

Yautja are clearly shown to be organized into groups; which are generally referred to as clans. These clans seem to be somewhat familial, with clear hierarchical structure and leaders, and each seems to have distinct technology and customs, although the fundamental bases of their culture are still largely the same across the species.

Known clans

  • Dark Blade Clan - The Dark Blade clan is known for having unique plasma-forged weaponry. The clan came into conflict with Borgia industries and many of its clan members were abducted and experimented on, but this rivalry was ended when Scarface killed Hunter Borgia.
  • Karepta Clan - A Hish clan. The leader of Clan Karepta launched an nuclear attack on a rival clan while under the influence of the kill gland.
  • Kuk Clan - A Hish clan with exclusive control over Safari Planet 3998. The clan is led by Shesh-Kuk. It is unknown how many (if any) members of the clan survived the incident on their Safari Planet.
  • Killers - The Killers were a Bad Blood clan of Yautja who were considered heretics by the mainstream Hunter Yautja. This was because the Killers did not engage in standard hunting practices, but instead sought only to kill, rather than hunt, which many Hunters found no honor in.
  • Lost Hunters - The clan that made a hunting ground of Los Angeles in 1997.
  • Lost Colony - The Lost Colony was a Yautja clan that settled on Earth 14,000 years ago in the volcano Viejo Abuelo, living underground.
  • Super Predators - A group of large and hostile Yautja who seem to have a long-standing rivalry with another Yautja clan. These Yautja are a racially and culturally distinct group. Only three of them are known, and it is believed that they are outcasts, possibly having been sent to the game preserve planet as a form of punishment.[30]
  • LV-742 Clan - This clan was granted exclusive hunting rights to the planet LV-742. The Council of Ancients pitted this clan against another, and succeeded.
  • LV-742 Poachers - This clan was also granted exclusive hunting rights to the planet LV-742 by the Council of Ancients, but was wiped out by the other.

History

The Yautja civilization has had an extensive history of influence on Earth which includes being worshiped by early Human cultures who viewed them as gods.

Appearances

Films

  • Predator (1987)
  • Predator 2 (1990)
  • Alien vs. Predator (2004)
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
  • Predators (2010)
  • The Predator (2018)

Literature

  • Aliens vs. Predator: Prey (1994)
  • Predator: Concrete Jungle (1995)
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter's Planet (1997)
  • Predator: Cold War (1997)
  • Aliens vs. Predator: War (1999)
  • Predator: Big Game (1999)
  • Predator: Forever Midnight (2006)
  • Predator: Flesh and Blood (2007)
  • Predator: Turnabout (2008)
  • Predator: South China Sea (2008)
  • Predator: Incursion (2015)
  • Alien vs. Predator: Armageddon (2016)
  • Predator: If It Bleeds (2017)

Video games

  • Aliens versus Predator (1999)
  • Aliens versus Predator 2 (2001)
  • Aliens versus Predator: Extinction (2003)
  • Predator: Concrete Jungle (2005)
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
  • Aliens vs. Predator (2010)

Comics

  • Dark Horse Comics

Notes

  • Although they are never named Yautja on film, it is the name used in the slight majority of expanded material and non-film sources, and thus is generally accepted by fans and writers of the material.
    • However, in two of the DH Press Predator books, starting with Predator: Forever Midnight, they are portrayed as the Hish-qu-Ten (abbreviated as Hish), with seemingly no attempt to even loosely connect them with previous versions of the species.
  • A Predator makes an appearance in the game Mortal Kombat X as DLC. It can appear with or without its mask, but it does not appear to suffer any ill effects with its mask removed. It can also have two different types of mask. This depends on the three variations.

See also

References

  1. Aliens vs. Predator (1990 comic series)
  2. Batman versus Predator (1991-1992)
  3. Aliens vs. Predator: Hunters Planet (1994)
  4. Predator: Strange Roux (1996)
  5. Batman versus Predator III: Blood Ties (1997-1998)
  6. Alien vs. Predator (2004 film novelization)
  7. Predator: Concrete Jungle (2005 video game)
  8. Predator: Forever Midnight (2006)
  9. Predator: Homeworld (1999)
  10. Predator 2 (1990)
  11. Predator 2 (1990 film novelization)
  12. Alien vs. Predator (1990 comic series). However, this dialogue is absent from Steven Perry's novelization of the comic.
  13. Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species (1993-1995)
  14. Predator: Captive (1998)
  15. Predator: Homeworld (1999)
  16. Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator (2007)
  17. Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator (2000)
  18. Aliens vs. Predator: Prey (1994)
  19. Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species (1993-1995)
  20. Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predators (2007)
  21. Predator: If It Bleeds (2017)
  22. Alien vs. Predator (1990 comic series)
  23. Predator: Concrete Jungle (2005 video game)
  24. Predator: Forever Midnight (2006)
  25. Aliens versus Predator: Extinction (2003)
  26. Predator 2 (1990)
  27. Predator: Strange Roux (1996)
  28. Predator: Homeworld (1999)
  29. Alien vs. Predator: Prey (1994)
  30. This idea comes from Robert Rodriguez, the filmmaker behind Predators.

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