As far as I can tell from their appearance, they're pretty much like woolly mammoths: Long shaggy fur, slow moving and high fat content. This type of biology would be better suited to planets like Ilum or Hoth, but yet Banthas are an integral part of Tatooine culture. How is it that they survive on this desert planet when their bodies' design wouldn't work with the high temperatures and sandstorms? (In contrast, other animals on Tatooine seem much more suitable to the environment: Eopies, Krayt dragons and Dewbacks.)

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  • How do you know about internal mechanism of those alien animals? – Beebo Aug 31 '14 at 16:32
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    @SachinShekhar, isn't that what the question is about? – Shevliaskovic Aug 31 '14 at 16:56
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    Not all deserts have high temperatures - the largest desert on Earth is actually quite cold. For sure much of Tattooine is hot, but not all of it need be. – user8719 Aug 31 '14 at 18:54
  • the high fat content is not a negative for desert creature, as camels also have high fat content(where they store extra hydration. Also camels are fairly hairy creatures as well. – Himarm Sep 2 '14 at 14:40
  • @Himarm I'll admit I'm no biologist, but I usually think of creatures with a lot of fat as those that live in the Arctic or Antarctic regions, like polar bears, seals and whales. – The Unknown Dev Sep 2 '14 at 18:03

A group of science bloggers recently participated in a "Science of Tatooine" blog carnival, writing pieces of scholarly speculative fiction. It's not canon, but canon doesn't have much to say about them.

John Hutchinson wrote "The Functional Anatomy of Tatooine Megafauna" and has this to say about banthas:

Behold, the true nature of bantha fur, as I have seen with microdroid holo-imaging: it is a second, external circulatory system of sorts. Simply put, the hairs have a thermo-conductive submolecular structure that deflects heat (and even, to a degree, the energy of a blaster) and traps cooler air near the body with an intricate network of cross-linking of barbed fibers more like a Terran bird’s feathers than mammalian hair. In this cooler locale, tracts of spongy skin tissue collect condensed water and direct it to absorbent epithelial beds on the chin and lips, belly, and toes, where the bantha imbibes it, or simply sheds it off to carry further heat away. Thus here we have a fascinating case of convergent evolution with the reptiliform dewbacks, but surpassing even that animal’s adaptation and evolving what you would likely call an air-conditioning system. Banthas cool themselves by circulating a slick of cool water around their body inside a heat-resistant fluffy outer mesh. Whether their horn tissues or tails contribute to this system is yet to be investigated.

There's more to it, and he does build on Terryl Whitlach's (assumedly canon) artwork.

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    So bantha hair is the incarnation of Maxwell's Demon? – Kevin Aug 31 '14 at 18:18
  • Neat. This looks like an interesting read. Thanks! – The Unknown Dev Aug 31 '14 at 19:40
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    @Kevin - I don't think so, they likened it to an air conditioning system, which doesn't require sorting molecules on a micro level like Maxwell's demon. Presumably the idea is that it's also like an air conditioning system in that it A) requires doing work (using up potential energy gained from food), and B) generates waste heat which is dispersed into the environment. See physics.csustan.edu/Ian/HowThingsWork/Topics/Temperature/… for the thermodynamics of how cooling systems work. – Hypnosifl Aug 31 '14 at 20:44

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