On Predator Females

by Ben Reilly
    |     AvP Universe
Outline of the issues with "bigger" Pred females. [Discuss in Forums] On Predator Females It is a widely held belief among fans of the Predator series that Predator females are larger and more aggressive then the males seen in the films and comics. Some go so far as to extrapolate on Predator society, stating that the females are therefor the rulers of Predator society, as well as the land-owners, the scientists and warriors, the nobles and the priests. The only role suited for a male, it seems, is the hunting observed in the films. I come to you today to tell you that this is not true. First of all, lets examine the source material that these beliefs are drawn from. The first and most common is the novel "AvP: Prey" in which the Predator known as "Broken Tusk" or "Dachande" (who is always a fan favorite) reminisces about his last bout of lovemaking on the Predator homeworld, stating that his mate was capable of throwing him across the room, and that no male ever wanted to anger a female. Other female Predators that have actually been featured in stories are "Big Momma" from "AvP: Deadliest of the species" and the bizarre female Predator in "Aliens/Predator/Witchblade/Darkness", both of which hunted, and appeared faster, stronger, larger and smarter then their male counterparts in every conceivable way. Lets look at these individually. AvP: Prey, written by Steve Perry, is an adaptation of the original Aliens vs Predator comic series presented by Darkhorse. In the original version Dachande made no such comments about females, nor did he say much of anything in terms of inner-monologue. Now, even if the novels are accepted as just as canon as the comics (which many fans would disagree with) it isn't really in continuity at all. There are two mutually exclusive sequals, War and Hunter's Planet, each of which has several other continuity gaps inside as well (such as the character Jess becoming white since his last appearance in "Berzerker", where he was a black man). Steve Perry gave many fans their first look at Predator culture, and some of it was actually pretty interesting. The Blooding ritual is what most fans immediately think of. But even this doesn't make much sense...why are Aliens, accepted by all as one of the universe's deadliest predators, chosen as the Predator's first prey? And moreso, why do the Predators come equipped with camosuits to fight an enemy without eyes? And they use a rifle-like weapon against an enemy that has no ranged attacks? Most will agree that the Predator race lives under a strict code of honor, and this doesn't really fit into that concept. Perry is a decent author, but I don't think he can be trusted to devise the Predator's culture. The case of Big Momma in "Deadliest of the species" is a no brainer. The story was ridiculous. Not only did it feature a cadre of humans trained and equipped as Predators, but someone also decided to create Alien/Human/Predator hybrids. Pick up some issues if you don't believe me. I'm really amazed that the series went on for as long as it did. "Mindhunter", the Aliens/Predator/Witchblade/Darkness crossover was thankfully much shorter. Despite fantastic art, the story dragged down the whole thing. The concept was outlandish enough to begin with. Witchblade and Darkness are both mystically-supernatural powered superheroes...not exactly the kind of people you'd expect in a story about space aliens. The story starts decently enough, though we never do find out how either the Aliens or the Predators arrive on earth (Predators in a ship, ok, but the Aliens....) until we find out that the entire first issue was in fact some kind of VR-simulation. Witchblade and Darkness had been kidnapped without their knowledge, taken to a space station in earth orbit, and hooked up in a video-game by some arch-villian (probably Irons...I dunno, never been a fan of Top Cow). As soon as they get out of the VR, real Aliens and Predators coincidentally arrive once again. One of the Darklings that the Darkness creates get impregnated by a Facehugger and creates a "Demon-hybrid"...perhaps the silliest thing to grace comics since Howard the Duck. In the middle of it all a large, female Predator dressed in exotic space armor and capes and such arrives to give Witchblade a hand. If memory serves, the female Predator briefly took command of the witchblade herself, and helped witchblade (the person) because of some psychic, universal "bond of sisterhood" or some crap like that. I admit that I might be missing a bit of the plot, I could only read so much before I threw the issue down in contempt. So now that the "proof" of bigger Pred females is cast into some doubt, lets look at what we have as absolute canon: the movies. It can be safely assumed that the the Predators seen in both films were the males of their species. While there is no absolute evidence of this stated in the films, even the movies creators referred to the Predator as a male, and it's basically accepted universally. We also know that they hunt other species not for food, but for trophies. Why would they take trophies? Most assert that it holds a cultural, or perhaps spiritual significance for them. My hypothesis is that Trophies serve a cultural and biological role for the Predators. In almost every terrestrial species that is higher in the food chain then insects, arachnids and other creepy crawlies, the male is larger and more agressive. This is an evolutionary mechanism that exists out of logic and nescesity. Females, by definition, bear the young of the species, whether by being pregnant, laying eggs, having a pouch, whatever. The strain and hindrance that this puts on their body, as well as the time spent raising young, and the overall effort of reproducing is much greater then that of the male (just ask any mother!). Thus, the female's anatomy and biology must be designed and prepared for this, while the male's body is free to the same biomass to other functions. They need it too, since it's almost always the male that must compete for mates. This is where one aspect of the trophies comes into play. Most animals compete for mates through physical combat, and the Predators likely began the same way. At some point in their history, however, the Predator culture realised that fighting each other was counterproductive...knowing their typical attitudes, one would expect such a competition to be to the death. Therefore, hunting was devised as a way to test one's mettle, without having Predators die in droves. One's trophy case eventually became the measure of a male's worth as a mate, though there are signes that females can be attracted to other things as well. The "Dreadlocks" of the Predator are almost always seen sporting small decals that look to be carved out of wood or bone or something else. They don't seem to serve any practical function, so one of the simplest conclusions is that they are a form of vanity. The males decorate their dreadlocks in the same way that human women wear earrings or a peacock displays it's feathers. This leads one to believe that the dreadlocks are themselves a form of "plumage" meant to attract mates, so a female Predator might well have underdeveloped or no dreadlocks at all. But I digress... Hunting as a form of competition not only attracted mates but also benefitted the community by bringing in food, culling the populations of other large carnivores, and driving the community to achieve greater technical knowledge...as evidenced by the Predator's wide array of sophisticated weaponry. But, as with all species that compete physically in some form, the Predator males were forced to grow bigger, stronger, more resiliant. The larger and faster the males got, the more impressive the prey they could hunt, the more trophies they could collect, and the more mates they would win for themselves. Thus, big strong males genes were passed down and eventually became the norm, becoming the giants that grace our movie screens. The females, not facing any such pressures, would have no need to evolve to match their counterparts, and certainly wouldn't have any need to grow larger then the males. Certainly increased size and strength would be benificial, but evolution doesn't work that way. Surely it would be nice for humans to have heat-ray-eyes and to be bullet-proof...but it's not nescesary for our species as a whole, so our genome has not developed those functions. Steve Perry also insinuates that the females are more physically agressive then the males. Again, this just doesn't make any sense. We have seen how agressive the males already are...now imagine something even meaner. Now, can you imagine that female caring for her young, especially when they're crying, teething (tusking?), soiling their diapers, and demanding to be fed. Perry's Predators wouldn't live past age 2. Now, I've read essays on the net claiming that because of their physical size, the females must therefore rule Predator society. How they established a model for Predator society based on a (flawed) biology alone I'll never know. But if that assumption were true we'd be ruled by the NFL and NBA, instead of people like the Queen mother and Bill Gates, right? Lets' not forget the one bit of canon evidence we do have...in Predator 2, a "head" Predator is seen wearing an ornamental sword and conducting a ceremony of some kind to mark the passage of the dead Predator. This puts a male Predator in some position of power, whether he is a shaman, cleric, clan or tribe leader, or whatever. So we do know that males can achive a rank higher then that of hunter. Any more inferences about their culture is difficult to make based on the little we've seen, so it cannot be assumed that one gender is dominant over the other. So, in conclusion, don't fall into the common pitfall of assuming something without thinking it over first. The theory that Predator females are larger and dominant is widespread only because people accept it as canon without stopping to question it. Think it though for yourself, weigh the evidence, and come to your own decision. [Discuss in Forums]

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