In Lowell Was Right!, Venus was explored and developed by the Martians. Using mostly trained Humans from Earth, along with a few Martians and Mars humans in exo-skeletons, the Martian Great Houses scoured Venus for resources to exploit. Oil, vegetation, and animals - and particularly various pharmaceutical plants which grew only in the equatorial jungles - were extracted and used all over the inner Solar system.
Venusian animals used by the Martians and their Human slaves was a
bright dinosaur of the bipedal carnivore type called Kraat by the
Martians. They associated themselves gradually with the exploring bands,
living on the edges of their settlements, where they could sometimes be
seen aping what the Humans or Martians did. The bands thought their
antics amusing, and they were very useful to the bands, being set to do
simple and repetitive tasks. Unfortunately, no one realized just how
bright they were.
These Kraat were learning from the Humans
and Martians, and when the time was right, they rebelled simultaneously,
all over Venus. Many exploration bands were wiped out. Others survived,
but at the cost of living a feral existence in the jungles, while the
Martians abandoned their programs of exploration. In time, most Humans
retreated to the more temperate polar areas and highlands which the
cold-blooded _Kraat_ disliked.
The Kraat have built up a
civilization in the tropical lowlands of Venus, while the humans tend to
stay in the highlands and polar areas. The Humans have degenerated
technologically as the _Kraat_ advanced, so that both are roughly at a
medieval technology. The Martians on Venus' surface have either left or
died out, so that there are none left today.
The Kraat - or
Dinos as the Earth Humans call them - are roughly Human-sized. Derived
from dinosaurs similar to the Troodons, they are smaller and far
stronger than Martians or Mars Humans, they eat mostly meat with their
terrible sharp teeth. Their arms are short in proportion to their legs
and bodies, but not nearly to the extreme of Earth's T-Rex. They have
two clawed fingers and a thumb pad - a ridge of muscle, skin, and
callous along the bases of their palms - which gives them a strong and
Kraat have a long and narrow head, and a long,
muscular neck. Their tails are short and thick, and help balance their
heavy tops. Their legs are lithe and muscular, and bear three toes
forward and one behind, like many birds. They are not great runners, but
instead live in trees, being very adept and climbing and leaping. They
stand fairly erect on their two legs, though not as straight as Humans
or Martians, but are comfortable moving on all fours in the trees.
have an excellent sense of smell, poor but binocular eyesight, and
superb hearing. _Kraat_ use echolocation like bats to find their way in
the dark and tangled jungles. They are very social creatures, and
communicate vast distances with their ultrasonic language.
Kraat are egg-layers, but they defend and tend their nests with a deep
fanaticism. There is no real difference in size between males and
females, though they are different in coloring, and they mix easily in
work or hunting. Once every three Venus years or so the females go into
estrus - luckily for the _Kraal_ about a third of the females at a time
- and wander out into the jungle, to be followed by males interested in
them. There is a sort of trial wandering, and the last male standing
gets to mate, whereupon they return to their tree-village. Both parents
guard and raise the clutch.
Clutchmates grow up together, and
are the core of Kraat social structures. They form hunting parties and
scouting groups, and work together very cooperatively. Other clutches
associate on a secondary level, and still others on a tertiary level.
Dominance within the clutch forms alphas and betas, and between clutches
sorts out which clutches are in charge. These contest almost never
involve bloodletting, instead focusing on tactical maneuvering in social