A Saiyan could be considered a cross between man and ape, or the so-called “Missing Link.” They have all the intelligence, and most of the traits of a human, but with a monkey-like tail, which protrudes from right below the small of the back, as well as the more feral and primitive behaviors of the apes. Saiyans are generally well built, as a race as a whole, because of their harsh environment. Their bone structure is far denser than a human’s because of the greater gravity of their homeworld, which is ten times the normal gravity of Earth. Due to the heavy gravity and brutal living conditions, Saiyans have an increased metabolic rate which requires them to consume great amounts of energy for sustenance. Their high metabolism fuels their Saiyan physiology and endows them with a unique healing power. It also gives them the ability to manipulate ki at an increased level with respect to other races, and undergo their various transformations. This also explains why Saiyans have voracious appetites.
Saiyan physiology can best be described as “That which does not kill me can only make me stronger.” This seems to act as a form of reactive evolution. If a Saiyan survives a near-fatal injury or goes through either an intense battle or training, they will gain an increase in their power level, greater than what they had prior to the experience, after recuperation. A shining example of this is when Vegeta gained additional strength after recovering from near fatal injuries obtained in battle against Zarbon. As a Saiyan’s body heals, it adapts, evolving if you will, in an attempt to neutralize previous threats, such as physical weaknesses foes who were on equal footing or stronger than them were able to exploit. However, healing by any means, such as a Saiyan’s natural rate or through technological or mystical assistance, does not affect this ability in them. The rate of recovery does NOT seem to hinder this ability. In fact, as long as they are able recuperate, by any means necessary, their bodies will always gain a substantial enhancement and increase in strength, both on a physical and metaphysical level. Also, the more fatal the wound is, the more substantial the increase in power is after being healed. It can be summarized that because of this, Saiyans have quite the healing factor, enabling them to heal from just about any injury, including near fatal ones, at a far faster and more efficient rate than a human would without artificial means (Senzu Beans, rejuvenation tanks, or allies (Dende and Kibito) with healing powers).
The original Saiyans lived in caves and in barren wastelands, and thus needed a physical body to fit the terrain. Male Saiyans are generally stronger than the females, because of their naturally more dense muscles. Saiyans also have the ability to greatly increase their own power from their anger, frustration, rage, and even grief. Some Saiyans merely get power spikes, while others get a steady increased power level. Contrary to popular belief, Saiyans do not have a low female population, merely, females rarely attained the fighting skills necessary to be in the military force, which were most often seen by other races.
Saiyans are very similar to Humans in appearance, except for their monkey-like tails. Also, for most genetic traits, except for hair and eye color, Saiyans have the dominating gene. They are commonly seen to have black hair, usually spiky. A pure blooded Saiyan’s hair will never change length or style once it has fully grown, making far more similar to fur than hair. This is not the case with Saiyan hybrids (a couple examples of this are Gohan’s, Goten’s and Trunks’ changing hairstyles throughout the story). Saiyan children get their hair and eye color from their mother, no matter what humanoid species she may be. The hair style, on the other hand, is shared between the father and the second born son (Bardock, Goku, and Goten, as examples). Apparently, the Saiyan gene to have nearly unchangeable hair styles is a recessive trait, yet, every full blooded Saiyan has it.
All Saiyans are born with a tail, and some have them removed, almost always while young. The tail houses glands which, upon having the brain send a chemical message to it, telling it that there is full moonlight, the tail will start collecting the energy (Brute Rays) from the moonlight, and use that energy to produce hormones that cause the Saiyan to increase in size to 50-75 feet tall, and become totally covered in fur, except for their face, and essentially, become a gigantic cross between a gorilla and a monkey. This form is known as Oozaru. The natural power of the Saiyan is increased by ten. In this form, the only energy attacks that can be done are beams shot from the mouth. There have been reports of very rare Saiyans who have been able to control their actions while in Oozaru form. As no one has seen it and lived, this remains a myth. If inexperienced in the form of Oozaru, a Saiyan will rage wildly, and uncontrollably, destroying much in it’s path, but through practice, one can learn to regain consciousness in that form, and fight accordingly. If the tail is removed, the Saiyan reverts to normal, because the glands are lost.
Saiyans can control their tails with the ease of controlling an arm or leg. Most Saiyans tend to wrap their tails around their waists, possibly to make it harder for an enemy to grab it, but also perhaps to prevent any loss of balance if the tail is ever removed. There are rumors, however, that say a Saiyan without a tail gains more power than one with a tail.
A few Saiyan have the ability to become what is known as a “Super Saiyan” which, in actuality is a Saiyan who becomes completely energized by a golden life force. Since hair is made of dead cells, the golden energy shines through easily, turning it to gold. The hair itself, having a greater electromagnetic pull on each strand, collects easier, and most often in the upward direction.
If the Saiyan has a tail, the fur of the tail will become gold in color as well. But to become a Super Saiyan, you mustn’t have a tail. The eyes, for reasons as of yet unknown, become a solid emerald green. But probably because black is seen as the darkest green, and the light of the energy makes the eyes seem green in color. This is just one theory. If a female Saiyan were to transform into a Super Saiyan, her hair will become silver and her eyes will turn a sapphire blue. Again, since females rarely attained the fighting skills necessary to be in the military force, this is pure speculation.
Upon reaching a higher level of Super Saiyan, towards the maximum stage, other changes occur. If a Saiyan goes Super Saiyan while in Oozaru state, he or she will have golden fur, and a large amount of power, usually greater than a Super Saiyan Level three. In this form, it is possible to use ki attacks that are not mouth-based, but the beams from the mouth are still possible. It is possible for a Saiyan to go Golden Oozaru without ever going Super Saiyan, because of the nature of the Saiyan’s ability to get tremendous power from rage, this rage is sometimes only reached in the crazed Oozaru state. From this state, you can transform directly into Super Saiyan Level Four, under the correct conditions, whether or not the moonlight is still there.
Upon reaching “Ultimate Super Saiyan” stage, the hair collects into more triangular strips, due to an increase in energy, and the muscles increase in mass due to an increase in adrenaline and other hormones. This form is very slow because of the increased muscle mass.
From this stage, it is a relatively small change to “Super Saiyan Level Two” which is simply more power, yet, the muscles do not bulge. Instead, the muscles retract slightly, allowing for greater speed and agility. The muscles are denser, creating a higher defensive ability.
“Super Saiyan Level Three” is a much more primitive state. The eyebrows are essentially burned into nothingness from such a high increase in power, and the brow becomes more pronounced. The facial structure, including the jaw, becomes more primitive, and the body becomes charged with high energy electrons and similar energy. Such a fast, and high powered rise in energy promotes hair growth, because the hair is used as a storing place for some of the energy, which is well distributed in the long, thick, golden hair. This level is hard to maintain for long, because of it’s high energy requirements.
“Super Saiyan Level 4” is actually a sub-level. It can be attained only when one goes through the Golden Oozaru stage, and all previous super Saiyan levels.
In this stage, the hair reverts back to the normal color, and general style, but there is an increase in hair mass. Most often, two locks will hang down, one over each shoulder. The body, save the hands, feet, pectorals, abdomen, neck, and face, as well as certain other parts, will be covered in a fur, which seems to be a different color based on purity of the race, and bloodline. None of the hair on the body is golden, because all of the energy can be contained inside the body itself, which greatly increases muscle mass and bulk. The eyes of the Saiyan also become a different color, which will be part of the pigments used in the emerald green of a normal Super Saiyan. The eyelids become darker, and reddish, in order to help keep the light, usually created by themselves, from damaging their eyesight. In order to go Super Saiyan Level Four, you must have a tail, for that is where the gland that produces most of the physical changes is located.
There is a legend that speaks of ‘The Highest level of Super Saiyan,’ called the Golden Saiyan for reasons not yet known, so, for all practical reasons, this level/mode shall be referred to as the ‘Perfect Super Saiyan’. According to the legend, in this form, the hair becomes much, much longer, like in Super Saiyan Level Three, and becomes golden again. The fur, when the body is at maximum power, also becomes golden. The body becomes almost completely charged with energy, so much so that it would almost definitely tear the being apart. It is possible that the life power that this kind of Saiyan has could draw some power from all the Saiyans past and present. No one is sure whether the eyebrow changes that occur in Super Saiyan Level Three happen, anyone who managed to get a good look at a Perfect Super Saiyan has never lived to tell about it. It is also not known if any Saiyan has survived the transformation into a Perfect Super Saiyan, with my also have contributed to it’s addition to the Saiyan folklore.
The Saiyans shared Planet Plant with a race with high technology, the Tuffles. The two species were very similar, genetically, but the Tuffles lacked a tail. The Saiyans were a force to be reckoned with, but the technologically advanced Tuffles managed to keep the Saiyans pushed back to their caves and such structures.
As a result, the Saiyans did not advance from a tribal state for a long time. The Tuffles used the Saiyans, who they considered to be ‘relatively intelligent animals,’ as a labor force. The Saiyans were split into two groups: the warriors and the workers. The warriors were used as ‘cannon-fodder’ and for experiments conducted by the Tuffles to test the side effects of certain chemicals, much like how scientists today perform experiments on rodents to test new medicine.
The workers built structures, provided any manual labor needed, and some even served under the chieftain, and did any task they were told to do. Eventually, the Saiyans decided to pull their full force at once, and used the full moon to attack using their Oozaru forms, managing to wipe out most of the Tuffles and their cities. From the spoils of the war, the Saiyans quickly be came developed in high technology and such, though they had few scientists. Eventually, the Saiyans advanced off-world, and made contracts as a hired military force, which later was hired by Frieza to become planet barons.
The Saiyan’s chieftain system evolved into a monarchy. The King, and every firstborn son would be named Vegeta. The original King Vegeta was the strongest of the Saiyans, and made it a point not to marry for wealth, love, or power, but to marry the strongest woman he could find, so his son would surely be stronger than the both of them, and thus the strongest, and could keep the throne.
The Saiyans were also separated into clans, and each clan had clan colors, badges, symbols, etc.
Saiyans also considered certain females as sacred, these being the priestesses, who then translated the will of the gods to the people. Because of the priesthood being female only, this could account for why females weren’t seen in the military force as often as the males.
Upon the destruction of Planet Plant, renamed Vegeta, at the hands of Frieza, and the murder of the king by the same being, the Saiyans were mostly killed off. However, a few survived and roamed the cosmos. No full blooded female Saiyans were believed to have survived.
The Saiyans barely have technology of their own, except for ki-related inventions. Most of the Saiyan technology, including their infamous power level scouters were stolen from the Tuffles. The armor of the Saiyan, on the other hand, were created by themselves, with elasticity for obvious reasons. Upon gaining control of the Saiyans, Frieza integrated the scouters and armor into his own military force. The spacepods that the Saiyans use are actually from a neighboring planet’s race, which landed on Planet Vegeta and quickly created a trade of technology for services with the Saiyans. It is believed that the Saiyans destroyed the race after fully integrating their technology.
Saiyans are very territorial, but also want their territory to be used by other Saiyans, so that they would have power over them. This is how the clans developed. Saiyans are very much like wolves because their clans are like packs, they stick together, but as a group, keep other wolves away. The Saiyans also have an interesting style of interacting with the opposite gender. The women are not prized on their looks, or child-bearing ability, like with early Earthlings, instead, they are judged by their strength and power level.
When a Saiyans decides to mate, it’s for life, though there are extenuating circumstances because some Saiyan go through physical, or mental changes. Saiyans are genetically bisexual, so some Saiyans have a ‘team’ of mates. There are never more than six members on a team.
Also, a male Saiyan will leave his scent on a female that he is courting by rubbing his tail, which have special glands in them, on the female. If the female then rejects the male, the hormone will simply fade away within a day or less. If she does not reject him, her hormones will be activated, and will duplicate the scent that the male’s hormones create. This is a calling card of sorts. Any Saiyan male will be able to smell if a female has been taken or is pregnant. Most species cannot smell the subtle hormones though. A similar, yet solely feminine scent is created when a female is bearing a child.
Saiyans tend to get rough with their mates, sometimes sparring with each other, and nearly killing them, so as to test their strength, this is usually a sign that the male is ready to mate for life, and sometimes it will be instigated by the female, who will mark her chosen mate with an intricate design of bite scars on the neck. Though some males will also mark their females this way.
Most of the half Saiyans, if not all, lose most of these mating techniques because their human genes overpower their Saiyan genes. It is also rumored, that far back in primitive times, the ancient race of Saiyans, who had fur, would change the color of fur whenever they court. This color would vary depending on the power of the Saiyan who is courting. However, since Saiyans did not keep a written history, it is hard to determine fact from fiction.