In my world, one of the races is from a part of a continent with dense, rocky soil and large, hardwood trees. Their whole culture is structured around establishing sturdy foundations and permanence because everything around their home territory is extremely tough and hard to navigate.

Obviously, climate plays into this too, but I was trying to figure out their physiology first and kind of fit the climate conditions into that. What adaptations would help them survive in a harsh environment like that?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE AgentNeoSpy. Thanks for jumping in with a question. Please check out our tour and help center to get a feel for the place. I have a question for you...you tagged this mythical-creatures which is for fauna that doesn't have human-like intelligence. fantasy-races would be for fauna that is human-like or with similar levels of intelligence. Your question indicates the latter but I wasn't sure. Could you clarify? Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Cyn
    May 10, 2019 at 2:57
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    $\begingroup$ What does your mythical creature eat and does it have any predators. These will be big factors in determining if they live on the ground or in the trees and if they fly, swing, jump or run when moving about. $\endgroup$
    – Shadowzee
    May 10, 2019 at 6:41
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    $\begingroup$ Your creature - is it a mudskipper, land-crab, slime-mould, flightless bird, kangaroo with wings? Voting to close as unclear so that you can narrow the question without inappropriate answers interfering. $\endgroup$ May 10, 2019 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ Swedes come from a part of a continent with rocky soil and large darkforests. Dutchmen come from a part of a continent with sandy soil and few forests. Frenchmen come from a part of a continent with rich fertile soil and (historically) very large forests. Spaniards come from a part of a continent with rocky soil and (in the last two thousand years) no so much in the way of forests. I don't think that there are any physiological differences between them. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    May 10, 2019 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP That may be because humans are so fond of genocide. There were once ~15 distinct Hominid species which each adapted to their unique ecosystems. Even within the remaining 1 species, there are many distinctive races. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    May 10, 2019 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


This addresses the general question rather than your specific question. You can fill in the environmental details that are specific to your own world.

Imagine yourself living in such a situation for many years, and ask yourself this question:

  • What do I find most significant about my body, that if changed slightly, would make my life better?

For evolution, "better" means making it more likely that you and/or your offspring will have a better than average survival rate, whether by directly helping you to survive dangerous situations or by indirectly helping you to be more prosperous and able to support a larger family.

If for instance, you think that having longer arms would help, then among the general population you know that those with longer arms will live slightly longer and have more children that will survive to have children of their own. Similarly, those with shorter arms will tend not to prosper as well, resulting in dying sooner, or having fewer surviving children.

Even if the effect is small, as long as it is significant, after many generations, the general population will have longer arms than does the current population. There is of course a natural limit to arm length, and eventually your people will end up near that limit.

Apply that same principle to several different physical attributes that will make life better in your specific environment, and project those changes into the future, and that is what your new "race" will eventually look like.

Despite the popular view, evolutionary adaptation isn't a case of everyone suddenly developing new features to help them survive a new environment. It's a case of killing off those that don't already have the appropriate features.

A specific example is the blatant difference between human groups that lived for thousands of years in regions close to the equator or far from it. Those close to the equator will have received much more direct exposure to sunlight, both because of the intensity of the light and because of the clothing worn. Near the equator, those with lighter skin will be more likely to get sunburn and skin cancer, while far away, those with darker skin will be more likely to get rickets. The two different environments favour two opposite effects of melanin, and those that don't have the appropriate genes will produce fewer surviving offspring.


It depends on what you mean by race.

If it is a race of humans, the only feature discernable on a quick inspection would be a light skin color to allow ample sunlight to penetrate the skin to produce vitamin D. However, this is because humans are incredibly adaptable and are able to change their behavior in order to survive a range of environments.

If by race you mean species, specifically a species that has evolved to live in this environment for millions of years, I would suggest the following characteristics: forward facing eyes to provide depth perception and cut through dense foliage (hold your finger in front of your face and notice that you can see through it), a skin color that matches the color of the rocks or trees to better blend in, thick skin especially around the outward facing side of their joints to prevent scrapes that would be common in such a tough environment, and a compact build to better maneuver around obstacles.


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