We Alur are a humanoid race, quite difficult to tell from native Terran humans except for a few distinguishing features. We appear caucasoid, although if you look closely our skin color is a slightly-greyed brown (hard to describe actually). Alur do not tan. Our skin color ranges from a light color looking rather like an strangely off-color tan on a terran caucasian, to a deeper color reminiscent of Bedouin or Arab coloring.
Alur have no hair other than scalp, eyebrows, and pubic areas. In fact, the follicles simply don't exist in any other places. Neither do sweat glands. We exhaust our excess body heat by panting, drawing air over a special gland located under the tongue. Hair color varies from jet-black among southern and equatorial regions, to a light brown almost beige in the north. Eye color varies similarly, although it doesn't usually reach the jet-black end, nor fully to the beige end of the range.
Males range in height from about 5 foot 9 inches to about 6 foot 1 inch, females from 5 foot 5 inches to 5 foot 10 inches. Weight similar to human norms for the same height ranges, although due to a major internal difference in how extra nourishment is stored, the Alur do not get fat, and in fact have no "fat" in the Terran sense of the word. Extra sustinence is stored inside each cell, up to a limit. This has meant that the Alur, although stronger than Terrans, do not have the Terran's ability to go without food for up to a month in extreme situations. We are also less capable of long periods without water.
The biggest difference, and the easiest way to tell an Alur, is to get a look at the blood or some part of the body that does not have the pigmented epidurmal layer, such as inside the mouth, the nose, etc. Alurian blood is a silver-grey, being based on lead rather than iron. And, thus, areas that tend to be pink on humans are grey on Alur. It is also of some noteworthiness that where Terran eyes glow red when reflecting light (such as in a snapshot), Alurian eyes glow bright silver.
Other internal organs are also somewhat rearranged, for example the heart is higher in the chest than in humans, digestive system is similar but not exactly the same. Alurian bones are of a different construction, making us poor swimmers since we have less air in our bones. Our musclular and circulatory systems are more efficient than human ones, and we also have a special set of "sub-hearts" in our extremeties, which are very simple amplifiers of blood flow, but which help improve circulation and do contribute to our greater strength. Alurian males can be up to five times as strong as a well-trained human male, while females can be up to three times as strong.
We have the same senses as humans, plus one which operates rather like a sonar in that we can "feel" the contours of things around them. It doesn't replace any of the other senses, but it does give us a tremendous edge in a dark room. This sense is quite important on a planet with no moon, where the night can get *very* dark. Our other senses are also very sharp.
Alur are basically all left handed, although this tends more towards ambidextrous behaviour. Right handers are quite rare, more so than Left Handers on Earth, but are not discriminated against. But it does make visiting Aluria quite frustrating for right handed earthmen!
Another difference is our life span. The average Alurian, barring accidents or other unnatural causes, will live to be around 400 of our years (440 terran years) old, making us a long-lived race by terran standards. We also age quite a bit slower during that time, so that an Alur who is 350 years old tends to look like a terran in his/her mid 40's to early 50's. Only the extremely old (nearly 400) look that way to terrans, although an Alur can usually pinpoint age much easier.
Because of this life span, and because the Alur are now at a point of maintaining population instead of trying to increase it, children are often born at widely scattered times in their parents lives. The normal family size is two or three children, rarely any more than that although the life span and gestation period (roughly one Alurian year, 400 terran days) would allow for a massive family. Twins and multiple births are quite rare. It is not uncommon for an Alurian couple to have only one or two children, often fifty or more years apart. This makes for some very interesting relationships between siblings, since one is usually quite mature and living on his/her own before the next is born. There is almost none of the sibling rivalry that humans experience in their early years, and each child tends to be raised as an only child with an extended family, thus bringing about less competition, less strife, and generally a calmer and more mature home environment.
The Alurian reproductive system also works somewhat differently. Males work approximately the same as Terran males, although the penis is normally kept much smaller and more protected, and when extended is longer and thinner than the human norm. This is due to the way the female system works. Alurian females do not have a menstrual cycle, but rather only produce an ovum when certain nerve endings deep inside the vagina are stimulated. While this might seem to be a good way of birth control (don't stimulate the nerves unless you want a child), the fact is they also cause the pleasure sensations associated with intercourse, and thus failing to stimulate these leaves the woman unfulfilled.
The ovum is released into the uterus, where it may or may not meet with and be fertilized by the male sperm. If it is, pregnancy proceeds as normal, although the gestation period is approximately an Alurian year (400 terran days). If the ovum is not fertilized, then within half an hour or so it is flushed from the uterus, along with the now defunct male sperm, in a process known as szrázhensës, or cleansing, in which the woman develops an exteme thirst, causing her to drink up to a gallon of water, which the body then forces through the uterus in a sort of biological rinse cycle. The experience is very painful for the woman, and thus lovemaking is often drawn out for several hours before it to try to make up for the cleansing following. During the szrázhensës the man attends on his mate by supplying the pure water, and by handing the recepticle into which the flood is released. Once the process is done, he will dispose of the fluid by taking it out, digging a small hole, and offering the fluid back to nature. In cities there is usually a special drain built into houses and appartments that drains directly into the soil for this purpose.
The present population of Aluria is about 750 million and is very stable.