Dutch to Jungle Hunter: "What the hell are you?" >>Predator. 20th Century Fox, 1987. DVD.
Predators. Yautja. Hish-Qu-Ten. No matter their name, they are infamous for one thing: Being hunters.
The Yautja are a large, sentient, long-lived tribal humanoid extraterrestrial species who possess advanced technology and are infamous by their hunting of other species.
The Yautja have been coming to Earth to Hunt for centuries, maybe longer - although Dr. Bergstrom speculated their origins are here on Earth (Predator: Homeworld). Some think that they may have hunted the dinosaurs into extinction (Predator: Homeworld). They have existed for a long time, dating back to at least 2000 BC (Alien vs Predator), and exist in 4000 A.D (Predator vs Magnus, Robot Fighter).
They have been associated with many stories, myths, and fables from the Choctaws cannibal spirit to rakshasa, even hoblings to will 0'wisps. They often afford the onlooker the merest glimpse of "shimmering air" across the rooftops or through thickly wooded forests. The sight is nevertheless unforgettable -- however one survives to remember.
Every so often, a Yautja will arrive at a planet with intelligent game and hunt them for trophies. Even the deadly species Kiande Amedha have had encounters with the Yautja.
Their entire society revolves around on individual strength and the hunt, traveling from world to world in search of any formidable prey; however, as of yet they have not shown intentions of invasion.
They have their own code of honor: they show mercy to the young and the weak, slaughter and behead what they perceive as "worthy prey", and show respect and acknowledgment for their adversaries. On several occasions, when the prey has beaten the Yautja, the prey is let go; other Yautja will not avenge their comrade. In fact, should the Yautja still be barely alive, either will fall on his own blade or be willingly executed by other Yautja. The exceptions to this are "Bad Bloods".
They stalk and kill their prey using various weapons; high technology smart weapons of various kinds are often mixed with low-tech blades or spears. After killing their prey, they usually remove part of their body as a trophy, a cull if you will. This trophy is usually the skull and spine of their victim.
Yautja sometimes temporarily ally with another hunter from a different race to eliminate common threats, such as emergent Kiande Amedha infestation.
Billy: I'm scared Poncho.
Poncho: Bullshit. You ain't afraid of no man.
Billy: There's something out there waiting for us, and it ain't no man. We're all gonna die. >>Predator. 20th Century Fox, 1987. DVD.
In 1987, Jungle Hunter's ship flies past Earth with a smaller ship departing from it, descending into the atmosphere - demonstrating that the Yautja is indeed an alien being from another world.
In 1999, Dr. Bergstrom theorized about the origins of the Yautja, while an unnamed government agent (possibly from OWLF) attempted to suppress any knowledge of it. She theorized that the Yautja encountered in Yellowstone (1999) was on a pilgrimage to Earth, to return to its roots, to their spawning grounds, following some homing instinct across space. There are so many gaps on the evolutionary chart. Creatures that apparently disappeared virtually overnight.
Dr. Bergstrom went on to assume that the Yautja descended from Therapsids - primitive mammalian precursors - that had somehow been taken away from earth by a greater intelligence to fulfill their evolutionary potential. However, there was not any considerable evidence to support any of her theories.
Maybe they did evolve here. The mountains were once full of the biggest game there is (dinosaurs, etc.). They could have survived, and having run out of challengers, moved on. Conditions were different where they went. Somebody once speculated that if crocodiles had better circulation, they would be dragons.
Migratory animals use magnetic fields to navigate. Perhaps there is some kind of conductivity in space. Perhaps their ships pick it up. This is why it's a rare privilege to return. Normally one like the tattooed Yautja would be allowed, but not the Bad Bloods.
"Different predators require responses, you know. With some, you must stand your ground, or they perceive you as prey. While with others, confronting them is seen as a challenge."
>>Predator: Homeworld #2
Noland: Anyway, there's two different types of them out there. Hmm? Now, they're similar, but they're different. It's kind of like the difference between dogs and wolves. The one's that are running things up there, the larger ones, hunt the smaller ones. It's some kind of blood feud, I guess. Been going on for a long time.
Royce: They do this just for sport?
Noland: Oh, yeah, they bring in fresh meat season after season. I mean, shit you wouldn't believe. Bring it in, hunt it and kill it. In that order.
>>Regarding the Super Yautja
>>Predators. 20th Century Fox, 2010. DVD.
There may be variations between clans and Yautja sub-species, since clans do not often interact with each other. So, each Yautja has unique features, evident in the difference between Jungle Hunter and City Hunter. These features change slightly (in color or magnitude), but they are still present nonetheless.
On the Game Planet, there are two types of Yautja, the difference being the same as between a dog (Classics) and a wolf (Super Yautja), as Noland noted. Berserker, Tracker and Falconer are the first recorded Super Yautja, battling with the Classic clan. Super Yautja all have larger heads than Classics, as well as different eyes and a more protruding mouth. It's currently unknown why the "Super Yautja" are so different from a physiological standpoint.
Character displacement refers to the phenomenon where differences among similar species whose distributions overlap geographically are accentuated in regions where the species co-occur, but are minimized or lost where the species' distributions do not overlap. In Darwinian evolution, organisms compete for resources, and the winners get to pass their genome to future generations. According to these rules, two similar species using the same resources in the same environment will be forced to compete with each other. If both are to survive, they will need to become more distinct from each other over time. The famous naturalist E. O. Wilson, along with collaborator William Brown, dubbed this pattern character displacement in the 1950s and proposed that it explains much of the diversity among the world’s organisms. Tobias and Peter Grant, among others, contend that robust examples of character displacement are relatively rare. If that indeed means that the phenomenon itself is rare, rather than just difficult to reliably detect, scientists would need to reconsider the role of competition in the evolution of diversity.