Author's Note: I made this as a kinda Wikipedia style biological summary of Shara Ishvalda with speculative features and explanations for its abilities. Do note that this is heavily speculative and mostly based on my very basic understanding of biology and general observation with these monsters. It is all labelled so you can skip to specific parts if you want. I apologize that this took longer to make than expected though it is a fair bit longer than the previous two posts I've done. However, more content does often result in a greater margin for error and it would be highly appreciated if you have any corrections or suggestions.
1.Size and appearance
Shara Ishvalda is a large Elder Dragon (Hexapoda), of which only one specimen is known from the Origin Isle of the New World. This individual was measured at 29.1m long and likely weighed around 14-18 tons. It was covered in large rigid beige coloured plates which resemble tree bark. Upon closer inspection, it was found that these structures composed of large ossified plates formed from fused scales covered in hardened cellulose possibly taken from ingested plant material. The Elder Dragon’s golden eyes and red pupils were highly unique and distinctive, being extremely large and forward-facing, which suggest great visual acuity and depth perception but it was observed that the creature’s eyes seemed rather unfocused on the hunters who attacked it. Shara Ishvalda also covered itself in a thick layer of rock and sandstone armour as protection.
Shara Ishavalda possessed several basic Elder Dragon traits. For example, it had six limbs, four of which are long and slender, with an erect posture indicative of more derived species, for terrestrial locomotion. The remaining pair is situated above and partially anterior to the first pair of walking limbs have elongated digits, as seen in all other species of true Elder Dragons where they often form membranous wings, though such membranes are entirely absent in Shara Ishavalda. The aforementioned jagged plates form rows of pink spines down the back which have been said to resemble lotus flowers, possibly as a display/intimidation structure or as anchor points for the rock armour to attach.
The skull is deep and broad, with the eye orbits facing forward. The eye orbits themselves are extremely large, holding large golden eyes which are likely highly light sensitive. This possibly suggests that they derived from or are species that naturally live in dimly lit areas such as caves. The jaws are broad and short, bearing great similarities to humans, with a heterodont dentition bearing rectangular incisors, flat molars, and broad, sharp canines. The skull bones thicken and the posterior bones of the skull and jaws, namely the postorbital, frontal, squamosal and surangular extend into bony ridges covered in cellulose, forming a crest or “crown” like structure running around the brow down to the back of the skull and jaw and connecting with the row of protrusions running down the neck and back. Under the crest, fairly large jaw muscles are attached to the lower jaw and temporal and supertemporal fenestrae, which suggests a moderate bite force. The attachment points for the jaw-opening muscles also appear to be enlarged, enabling a more effective jaw-opening action than most Elder Dragons, which would allow for more rapid bites in quick succession. The connection between the lower jaw and the skull also appears to be more flexible than in their relative, which would permit small lateral rotations involved in mastication or chewing. The fairly strong bite force, the ability for rapid bites, ability to chew and unique dentition suggests a herbivorous or omnivorous diet that includes tough vegetation such as bark or nuts. This is also supported by that fact that Shara Ishvalda’s shell was partially composed of cellulose. The braincase is very large, holding a large brain that appears comparable to a human in shape. It is protected by the dense braincase and thick crests expanding from the frontal and postorbital bone.
2.Rock Shell Formation.
Shara Ishvalda’s skin secretes a resin-like substance, likely being composed of recycled consumed tree resin and sap. This substance helps dust, sand and rock to adhere to the skin to form armour. The jagged protruding plates on its back also likely assist in anchoring the armour. The armour likely would have been actively built by Shara Ishvalda using its air pressure and vibration control considering the rock plates’ size and specific shape, pointing towards greater intelligence.
3.Respiration and Air Weaponization
All Elder Dragons convergently evolved a respiratory system analogous to birds and flying wyverns (as well as Earthly birds), consisting of a pair of lungs and four pairs of air sacs: Cervical (Neck), Anterior thoracic (Chest), Posterior thoracic (Waist), Abdominal (Abdomen). Air moves through the lungs and air sac, nourishing the lungs with fresh oxygenated air with every inhalation and exhalation and unburdening them of stagnant air (Best explanation:
). This system of air sacs feeds Elder Dragons the oxygen intake needed for their metabolism and reduces overall weight.
The air sacs also serve as a dual purpose in letting Shara Ishvalda manipulate air pressure and vibration as a weapon and tool (*yeah, I'm probably using the air sacs thing as a bit of a crux but they are used for a variety of purposes in real-life animals, including but likely not limited to attaining larger size, flight, efficient respiration, shock absorption,…). The air sacs are closely attached to the walls of the thoracic and abdominal cavities with small cavities filled with permeable debris filtering membranes leading to the skin where they open up as large holes in the chest and torso region. When Shara Ishvalda inhales by expanding its chest cavities, these thoracic openings open, drawing in the air using suction. Shara Ishvalda passively uses this function to increase oxygen intake.
In Shara Ishvalda, the interclavicular air sacs expanding into the humerus extend across the wings and split into four pipes that run up digits 2-5, with openings across the fingers and at the fingertips. The bones of the wing limbs and shoulder blades contain higher organic content (collagen or the MH equivalent) and lower inorganic content (calcium carbonate or the MH equivalent) to increase flexibility and withstand intense pressure and vibration. The muscles and tendons of the finger joints on digits 2-5 form larynx-like organs that wrap around the windpipes to control the pitch. The connection between the lungs and interclavicular and cervical air sacs can be selectively closed via valves and sphincter-like muscular rings while the trachea can be closed by specialized valves formed from modified larynx muscles and cartilage. This lets the Elder Dragon build up the pressure for its air blasts within its torso without leakage.
When in need, it will close these valves, and expand its chest cavities, drawing in vast quantities of air first into its anterior thoracic air sacs which then fill the posterior thoracic and abdominal. Then, it closes these air sacs while opening the interclavicular sacs to exude the air by rapidly collapsing the chest cavity. This is achieved through its strong pectoral muscles attached to a keeled sternum which originally evolved for flight, contracting and squeezing the ribcage which has a lower mineral and higher organic composition similar to the wings. The muscles controlling the backwards, forwards, and rotational motion of the wing shoulders are highly developed, keeping them stable to provide an anchor point for the chest to compress against while also ensuring the contraction of the pectoral muscles compresses the rib cage instead of pulling the wings. The sternum extends upwards into a chest cavity, providing a wall for the anterior thoracic air sacs to squeeze against. Strong muscles around the armpit or rather “wingpit” regions wrap around the interclavicular air sacs, allowing Shara Ishavalda to continually press out air while quickly “inhaling” more air. The lungs are flexible and somewhat inflatable, allowing for easier passage of air.
- Vibration Sensing
Shara Ishvalda has numerous tiny practically invisible filaments throughout its body, particularly concentrated around the feet. These filaments run through the outer shell and originate within the skin, sprouting from small intradermal roots and connecting to nerves that connect to both the auditory and visual regions of the brain beside this, they also have relatively dense bones in the locomotive limbs which aids in the conduction of vibrations upwards and towards the actual ear. This adaptation allows them to detect and visualize faint vibrations in their environment, particularly through the ground such as footsteps as well as potentially aiding in vibration-based communication. As sound travels far faster through solids, Shara Ishvalda’s acuity allows it to react to vibrational stimuli faster than even the monsters with the sharpest ears. This would also explain the monster’s apparent clumsiness when in its rock armour as few of its sensory filaments are exposed. It is unknown as to how the monster is able to sort out fluid movement from its locomotion. The origin of these structures is also a mystery though the filaments may or may not be homologous to the fur in species such as Teostra.
- Immune System
Shara Ishvalda possesses a strong immune system, with larger lymph glands and somewhat high contents of white blood cells in order to prevent infection in micro-fractures caused by intense internal pressure and vibrations. The insides of the air sacs are lined with mucus that soothes lacerations and slow infection. The regeneration is also fairly quick, possibly driven by the creature’s high levels of bio-energy, a trait universal to both true and false Elder Dragons, to repair these injuries.
- Feeding and diet
The feeding habits of Shara Ishvalda is largely a mystery as no one has witnessed one feeding. It could be inferred from the anatomy of the skull, mandibles and teeth that Shara Ishvalda is primarily herbivorous. It could likely feed on large trees, using its powerful jaws and teeth to rip out and grind down trunks and branches. They could also feed on smaller vegetation such as ferns, grasses, and fruits. A diet of plant matter would explain the presence of cellulose in its outer shell. As with most herbivores, they would likely also opportunistically feast on flesh if possible and their large size means that they could swallow small animals whole or rip out large chunks from larger carcasses to ingest without needing to carve the meat. In order to properly nourish their large bodies, they could also drink from the Everstream and absorb their bioenergy. If true, this could mean that the species might have originally evolved their complex air blast and vibration control abilities to aid in digging to better access the Everstream. The rocky armour could help to protect against magma and heat surrounding the Everstream (More so from potential incendiary effect than from the heat as stone isn’t a particularly effective thermal insulator).
Beyond potentially protecting it from magma, Shara Ishavalda’s rock armour also helps it fend off aggressors without resorting to more energy-intensive means. The rocky mantle drastically increases the creature’s frame and perceived size, which serves to intimidate would-be opponents. The coat also serves to protect against attacks if needed, bouncing off physical blows or providing a buffer zone between the impact and its actual body. This renders most physical attacks from both monsters and hunters negligible, with the only damage to Shara Ishvalda being from shockwaves, which it is already equipped to handle. Should a persistent attacker do enough damage to its rocky shell and force Shara Ishvalda into a corner, however, the Elder Dragon can drop the veil entirely, going on the offensive with its air blasts.
The pressure of Shara Ishvalda’s air cannons is extremely powerful, being able to slice through scale, flesh and rock. The Elder Dragon can also manipulate the vibrational frequency of the blasts with sufficient precision to match the resonance frequency of select materials, rupturing organs like water balloons or pulverizing stone into sand. By blasting vast quantities of air deep into sand, It creates a temporary quicksand-like medium through fluidisation, disorienting and trapping foes. Shara Ishvalda could also do this in shorter, more powerful bursts through harder earth, creating an earthquake-like effect, destabilizing and discombobulating its opponents.
The method by which Shara Ishvalda is able to rapidly summon jagged rocks from the ground is, as of yet, unknown though it is speculated that the rocks were made and sharpened and preset in its nest where they could be brought up, perhaps through a combination of air pressure and vibrations, in case of a confrontation. It is also uncertain as to how Shara Ishvalda is able to pull off the attack often referred to by hunters as the “Spirit Bomb”, where it generates what appears to be a ball of pressurized air within its palm before releasing it into the ground in a large explosion. The method by which Shara Ishvalda pulled this off is highly debatable. However, a possible hypothesis is that it controls the pressure of the section of the air within its palm area in a way that the air spins like a tornado (perhaps with the use of temperature control which a lot MH monsters, even the basic ones like Diablos, seem to be able to do pretty well) while building up pressure within. It could also secrete trace quantities of its resin-like secretion to create a thin bubble that would aid in preventing the air bubble from bursting prematurely. It would then release the pressure into the ground, rending stone and earth, sending out lethal shockwaves and shrapnel.
However, beyond offensive tactics, Shara Ishavalda’s air and vibration control is also used for several other purposes. For example, the single known individual was found to be terraforming its nest by breaking apart and reshaping rock. It also, actively or otherwise, produced songs that managed to disturb the wildlife in a large radius, including other Elder Dragons. Whether these songs are intended for these purposes or whether they are created intentionally at all is unclear, with a small possibility that the songs are used for intraspecies communication, similarly to the Whales of Earth.
3.Reproduction and life cycle
There is no information regarding the reproduction and life cycle of Shara Ishvalda though it is possible that they could asexually reproduce like Fatalis and Nergigante.
Shara Ishvalda appears to be a highly intelligent species of Elder Dragon. Its brain is similar to humans in shape and is only somewhat smaller proportionally. The cerebrum is comparatively large, further pointing towards intelligence. Behaviour wise, the known Shara Ishvalda specimen exhibited several that suggests higher intelligence. For example, It used its vibrational abilities in order to shape and form its territory to its liking, precisely forming its nest, in which it also made and placed large jagged rocks underneath the surface and traps and weapons. It was also able to respond to a clutch-clawing hunter by blasting them with a precise blast. Its pinpoint control over the frequency and power of its air blasts also show a higher degree of cognitive skills and its rock mantle could be considered a form of tool use. However, the behaviour of the species is vastly unknown with all data collected being from a combative situation.
Classification and Evolution:
Shara Ishvalda’s evolutionary history is largely unknown though it is likely that it is the closest “living” (The status of the species if still, as of yet, unknown) relative to Valstrax as both Elder Dragons have a similar body frame with the ability to absorb air through their chest and exude it from their wings. However, the two species are likely only somewhat distantly related as they have largely different external appearances and likely diet. The reason for the evolution of Shara Ishvalda’s air canon network is still a mystery. A possible hypothesis is that they developed originally as an aid for digging as Shara Ishvalda sought out shelter from predatory Elder Dragons such as Nergigante and/or to reach underground “food” sources like the Everstream. Its tough shell of large cellulose covered osteoderms and rocky armour would also be beneficial for a subterranean animal as they would protect it from falling rocks and collapsing tunnels, and its vibration sensing can help navigate dark underground caves and tunnels. Considering Valstrax however, it is also possible that these features originated to improve flight control and capabilities. It must also be noted that both of these hypotheses are not entirely mutually exclusive. Shara Ishvalda’s apparent herbivorous behaviour and adaptation could have originated to avoid competition with other Elder Dragons. Herbivory would possibly also be more viable for a creature of the New World, a region rich in bio-energy that might spread to and accumulate in its flora.
The Biology of Fatalis: https://www.reddit.com/r/MonsterHunter/comments/jx10ag/the_biology_of_fatalis/
The Biology of Vaal Hazak: https://www.reddit.com/r/MonsterHunter/comments/k57iww/the_biology_of_vaal_hazak/
Next one: Zinogre
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