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One of the closest relatives of humans is unsurprisingly the dwarf, with a large disproportionate head and relatively short limbs. The dwarf weighs on average almost 150 pounds, with males being slightly larger than females at 165 pounds. Which is very surprising considering most dwarfs are in the range of 4ft and 5 inches tall. This is because dwarfs are very compact creatures with large muscles and fat, this makes dwarfs incredibly strong for their size.

Dwarfs are adapted for the cold and for cave living, which has led towards both sexes being capable of growing beards in equal length and thickness, at first glance it's very difficult to tell the two apart. A dwarf’s beard is incredibly unusual in its morphology, each individual hair can move independently and sense the area around it like the tendrils of a star-nosed mole. Because of the advanced nature of the beard there are millions of complex tiny nerves in each strand of the beard which act like an individual, when the beard is pulled, cut, or twisted it causes considerable pain to the dwarf.

Many dwarf rulers prove their toughness by completely shaving off their beards, in some cases the beard may take decades to grow back and may not even grow back at all. But even with the drawbacks this ability gives dwarfs an advantage over other species in caves. As the dwarf can live and work in complete darkness with no problems because of the hairs sensory capabilities.

Dwarfish spit can harden once it leaves the mouth, the spit itself is a wonder of nature and can be as hard as concrete. Many structures are completely made out of their own spit, this ability is also quite useful for sealing cracks in crumbling cave walls. Dwarfs are capable of interbreeding with humans, but much like a mule the offspring will be infertile.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Many structures are completely made out of their own spit" uh huh, some kind of secreted resin. "Dwarfs are capable of interbreeding with humans" do they do this by implanting eggs in human torsos, by any chance? $\endgroup$ Jan 7 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ There's no science-based workout imho. Medusa dwarfs ? These "moving and sensing" beards.. the head hair is normal ? It feels really alien. There's no creature on our planet at least, that uses hairs as individual limbs with a sense on top. I wonder how a human may ever be able to breed with a species that has moving hairs. Unless you'd aspect the humans of your planet to have the same property. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jan 7 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime Haha, clever joke but no. $\endgroup$ Jan 7 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Goodies The hair on their head on their head is normal. I was thinking instead of it being completely made of hair, there's instead thin lines of tiny muscles in each strand which is they can move and sense their surroundings. Much like a star nosed mole, though I'm not sure how biologically possible this is. I could potentially drop the moving independent beard hairs if it doesn't make much sense. I was really trying to have the beards be used to sense their surroundings, and if they moved it would make it more easier. $\endgroup$ Jan 7 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Goodies I was considering that humans and dwarfs would probably be too distant to breed with each other, unless I got rid of the moving beards or like you mentioned the humans on that planet have a similar property. $\endgroup$ Jan 7 at 16:40
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The solidifying saliva is something already seen on Earth, for example in the Edible-nest swiflet

The edible-nest swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphagus), also known as the white-nest swiftlet, is a small bird of the swift family which is found in South-East Asia. Its opaque and whitish nest is made exclusively of solidified saliva and is the main ingredient of bird's nest soup, a delicacy of Chinese cuisine.

Considering that a male takes about 35 days to build a nest, it seems far fetched that the dwarf can use saliva to seal cracks in the rocks, unless they drool copiously.

About the beard, it's also plausible that it becomes highly sensitive, like the animal you give as a reference. However, since it is used as sensory organ (which makes sense in the darkness of a cave) it seems a poor choice to cut it off. It sounds like a top piano player breaking their fingers to prove how good they are.

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