• In Avatar, the Na’vi’s four limbs stand out among Pandora’s six-limbed animals, hinting at a missing link in their evolutionary history.
  • The prolemuris in Avatar provides a possible explanation for the Na’vi’s unique biology, with its four limbs and other physical traits resembling a transitional species.
  • The Na’vi share similarities with the prolemuris, such as having a single pair of eyes and a cluster of nerves, setting them apart from other creatures on Pandora.

The Avatar franchise may never resolve some of its plot hole, but it does offer an ingenious answer for a scientific inconsistency surrounding the origins of the Na’vi. In the first Avatar, James Cameron only gave a glimpse of all the extraordinary array of flora and fauna that exists on Pandora, promising that a sequel would unveil an even more enchanting tapestry of the alien world’s ecosystems. With Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron delivered that promise by not only providing scintillating visuals of Pandora’s scenic landscapes and water bodies but also highlighting their cultural significance to the local Na’vi.

Speaking of Na’vi, the two Avatar films have also gradually delved deeper into their culture, rituals, and unrelenting respect for their biodiversity. However, despite exploring so many different elements surrounding the identity of the alien beings, Avatar has not explicitly explained the biology behind their evolution. Thankfully, although it seems like James Cameron’s Avatar movies flossed over a crucial detail surrounding the Na’vi’s biological origins, it has cleverly provided some subtle answers for it — here is how.

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The Na’vi Have 4 Limbs – Unlike Every Other Animal On Pandora

Thanator chases Jake Sully in Avatar 2009

All the Pandora-dwelling animals in Avatar movies seem to have six limbs. From viperwolves to hexapedes, from direhorses to the thanator, all land creatures featured in Avatar so far have no more or no less than six limbs. Owing to this, it is hard not to wonder why only the Na’vi have four. Humans and apes share a common evolutionary ancestor on Earth. Owing to this common ancestor in relatively recent evolutionary history, humans and apes have many physical similarities. Given how the Na’vi do not seem to share any major physical traits with Pandora’s animals and even have two limbs lesser than them, there seems to be a “missing link” in their recent evolutionary history.

Avatar’s Prolemuris Explains Why The Na’vi Have 4 Limbs

PAndora's prolemuris angrily staring at a prey in Avatar

Fortunately, Avatar subtly offers some logical answers to this mystery. The original 2009 Avatar features a brief scene that shows an animal called the prolemuris. Unlike other animals on Pandora, the prolemuris not only have four limbs but also have several other physical traits that hint at how they could be the missing link in Na’vi’s evolutionary path. What’s interesting about the prolemuris species’ arms is that similar to humans and the Na’vi, they only have one arm from their shoulder to their elbow. However, at the elbow, their arms branch into two separate forearms, representing the transitional “missing link” between the six-limbed animals and the four-limbed Na’vi.

Apart from four limbs, the prolemuris also have a single pair of eyes like the Na’vi, while most other medium-to-large-sized animals have two. Like the Na’vi, the prolemuris also have a single cluster of nerves extending from the back of their heads. In contrast, other medium and large animals have two nerve clusters. Even the breathing mechanisms of other land-dwelling animals are significantly different. Most of them have twin operculi near their shoulders that control the flow of air into their lungs and even regulate their body temperatures. Avatar‘s Na’vi and prolemuris, on the other hand, have no such mechanisms.

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By asm3a