Tamarians stand at roughly the same size as an average Human and their body shape was similar to that of many humanoid species found in the Milky Way Galaxy, apart from some minor differences. Tamarian hands and fingers were Human-like but their thumbs were elongated and have a sucker-like tip at the end.
The Tamarian head also differed from the Human counterpart. Tamarians possessed two long slitted nostrils and had no visible auricles, but instead have two small holes located on the sides of the head, a little higher than the Human ear. A large ridge runs from the top of their nose to the back of the head and several more bony ridges or flaps of skin can be observed on the sides of the skull. Apart from typical sexual dimorphisms observed in many humanoid species, female Tamarians feature the same characteristics.
Tamarian skin was colored light brown with several darker red markings, especially on the head. The species seemed to be completely hairless and their blood was white, which shined through in some small arteries of the head.
History and politics
Although the species was encountered a total of seven times in the hundred years after first contact, formal relations were unable to be established, due to the complexity and provincial nature of the Tamarian language – which was entirely composed of metaphors derived from their collective experience and mythology.
In 2368, a Tamarian ship sent a general hail towards Federation space, a standard mathematical progression interpreted as a request for communication. The USS Enterprise-D was dispatched to El-Adrel IV to establish contact. While there, the Tamarian captain Dathon beamed himself and Enterprise-D captain Jean-Luc Picard to the planet's surface, in an attempt to establish a dialogue through the idea of "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" – the idea of cooperation against an enemy leading to mutual understanding and friendship. To prevent any interference, the Tamarian ship established a particle scattering field in El-Adrel's ionosphere, preventing transporters on either ship from functioning, and fired attenuated energy weapons on an Enterprise-D shuttlecraft dispatched to retrieve Picard. Unfortunately, Dathon was killed by the creature inhabiting the planet, but not before Picard was able to gain an understanding of the Tamarian language, and communicate with the Tamarian ship, which was engaged in combat with the Enterprise-D as a result of the misunderstanding over Picard's "capture". Dathon's sacrifice and Picard's experiences were remembered as a new "word" in the Tamarian language: "Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel".
Apart from their unique language, Tamarians follow several rituals and some characteristic gestures have been observed.
Before sleeping, Dathon performed a ritual on El-Adrel IV. He removed five ceremonial objects from the right side of his uniform. He then threw those objects to the ground gazing at the pattern the objects formed on the ground and repeated the ritual. After each new pattern, he touched his forehead.
After finishing the ritual, he took the five objects and placed them on the ground forming a circle around his sleeping spot. Again, he touched his forehead after placing each of them on the ground. The next morning, when Captain Picard explored his camp, he found two of the objects still on the ground, Dathon had reattached the other three to his uniform.
After hearing the news of their captain's death, the two Tamarian bridge officers took their dagger out of the sheath, touched the blade and then touched their forehead in mourning or remembrance of their captain. Captain Picard did the same with the knife that was given to him by Dathon after he had returned to the Enterprise-D and found a quiet moment in his ready room to remember Dathon.
The Tamarian written language consisted of thin horizontal and vertical lines with small letters written in the spaces between the lines. The lines meet at right angles in the hand written form of the language but in an angle of circa 70 degrees on computer interfaces. Tamarians still use paper, colored bright green, to write down notes. Dathon took a small book, perhaps a captain's log, down to El-Adrel IV in a leather pouch. His other officers didn't carry such a book.
The dominant colors used by the Tamarians as evidenced by their starships, uniforms and interfaces were shades of green and red. The engines of their starship glow red and their weapon's beam was green. Consoles on the bridge of their ships were colored mostly red and walls were green. Tamarian computer interfaces were transparent but the writing was blue and green.
Tamarian uniforms do not show much variety. All uniforms consisted of several layers of olive green fabric and dark green leather. Several small colorful applications and stripes were only visible when viewing the uniform from a close distance. The full uniform consisted of the trousers and tunic, long dark green leather boots and a double shoulder-strap connected to a belt, both made from leather as well. A sheath for a dagger was fastened to the front of the two leather straps and a small pouch for a book, possibly the Captain's log, was attached to the left side of the belt.
A decorative pattern can be seen on the sides of the sleeves. Several small ornaments made from thin metal pieces and small colorful stones were attached to the front right side of the uniform. Dathon carried five such pieces; his first officer wore three.