I request some help with the design of one particular denizen of my fantasy world, tentatively named Boar Troll. It needs to be an ungulate or closely related creature with emerging sentience, and that's as far as I am right now. In fact, some of its requirements happened while drafting this question.
I want to go from some member of the mesonychia order about 25-30 MYA to the creature described below. What real though extinct species might have gotten started on this path? Where would this creature's evolution have split from the real world? What living species might it best resemble (i.e. ox, sheep, warthog, etc.)
These are the desired characteristics, though none of this is set in stone.
- Bi-pedal preferred, knuckle-walking acceptable
- Prehensile hands
- Foot structure negotiable, but bonus points for hooves
- Tusks (or horns/antlers, or both, but tusks preferred)
- Carnivorous/ opportunistic diet (and the proper senses and dentition that go with it.)
- Muscular build, barrel chest
- Tail optional
- Cathemeral (has activity periods and rest periods in both day and night)
- Lives in deciduous forest, savannah/ grassland, and/or wetland biomes
- Semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes
- Engages in religious rituals
- Rudimentary language (i.e. can count none, one, some, many)
- Wears an animal hide loincloth and simple bone/stone jewelry
- Will raid farms for livestock and even the human farmers
- Makes and uses spear- and ax-like tools during hunts (or steals them from humans)
Please do not get too hung up on the name Boar Troll, nor either image. I needed a name and mental concept for rough drafts and this is what came to me. Answers here could influence the final name and appearance.
EDIT: New prototype sketch based on current answers, especially IndigoFenix:
Boar Trolls may be mentioned tangentially in a handful of stories, but their central role will happen during a succession crisis where a corrupt cousin of the would-be rightful heir captures some and trains them under the whip. Blah blah blah minion horde blah blah reign of terror blah blah comeuppance.