by Chris Wayan, 2004
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These cat-sized, warmblooded, hairy, quadrupedal creatures look and act like mammals, but their ancestors were crustaceans, like their relatives the Serranian "mammoths." They use their snout-claw to drill into the largest trees in the equatorial rainforest and pseudo-baobabs in savanna country, and form large colonies inside the trunks. They have large and efficient brains for their body size, and both brain and body have grown steadily for the last five million years. The Green Shore subspecies (SE Narek Sea) builds treehouses in the branches, out of wood cut from other trees--thus they avoid weakening their own. And since they're not entirely confined to the trunk, these dogs really do approach dog-size; they're at least as intelligent as chimps.
Primary habitats: the Niirg and Ngirps Shores on the Niirg Sea, the Tutisni Rainforest, and especially the Green Shore of the Narek Sea.
An example of woodogs' half-in-half-outness: individuals in Green Shore colonies have names, but their language has no word for I. A woodog refers to itself by name, in the third person (or non-person: their verbs have time-indicators but no cases). Yet is this true unawareness of self, or mere modesty in a highly social culture? After all, chimps seem to have the concept of a self, even without language--or are we reading too much into mirror tests?
Are woodogs not yet people for lack of a single word?
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