Earth's Children
Sex: Male
Race: Mixed
Culture: Clan
Camp: Brun's Clan
The Clan of the Cave Bear: appears
The Valley of Horses: mentioned
The Mammoth Hunters: mentioned
The Plains of Passage: mentioned
The Shelters of Stone: mentioned
The Land of Painted Caves: mentioned

Durc is the son of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon woman and Broud, a Neanderthal man, thus making him a child of mixed spirits. He has a prominent role in The Clan of the Cave Bear.

Physical Appearance[]

Durc had a combination of Neanderthal and modern features, which the clan regarded as a deformity. His legs were longer and thinner than those of a Clan child. Durc's neck was also long and thin. At first, his neck was too weak to support his abnormally large head. (Clan babies had short, thick necks that could support the head at birth.)

Durc had the heavy brow ridges of the Clan, but he had the high forehead of modern man. His head was not as long as a Clan head and had only a nominal occipital bun at the rear. Durc had the large, round eyes of the Clan, but his nose was much smaller than normal. He had a large mouth, but his jaws were smaller than Clan jaws. Durc also had a receding chin, and he was able to mimic the many sounds that his mother made.


Conception and Birth[]

Durc was conceived during the summer of Ayla's tenth year as a result of being raped by Broud. Ayla's pregnancy came as a shock to the entire clan. Her Cave Lion totem was the second strongest totem (after Ursus). Everyone believed that her totem would never be defeated and, therefore, Ayla would be barren.

There was rampant speculation about which man's totem had defeated Ayla's Cave Lion. Although every man would like to have claimed the credit, most people believed that proximity to the woman was the defining factor, and the two men who had spent the most time with Ayla were Creb and Broud. The old men believed that Mog-ur was responsible, because he was the only person with a totem stronger than the Cave Lion. However, the men knew that Ursus never allowed a woman to swallow his essence. The younger men believed that Broud's Woolly Rhinoceros was responsible.

Ayla had a difficult pregnancy and nearly died while giving birth most likely due to her youth. Only the thought that her baby would die gave her the strength for the final push.

Controversy Over Durc's Acceptance[]

When Iza saw that Ayla's son was deformed, she informed Ayla that he would not be allowed to live and that it would be best for Ayla to dispose of him before Brun commanded her to do so. Ayla refused to give up her son. She remembered a story in which a leader was forced to accept a deformed baby after the mother placed it in a tree for seven days.

Inspired by the story (and delirious from the difficult birth), Ayla fled with Durc to her secret cave, where she planned to wait until the baby's naming day. Iza knew of Ayla's plan, and although she did not approve, she made extra food for Ayla and did not tell anyone about the plan. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Uba had followed Ayla to the cave.

However, Creb forced Iza to reveal Ayla's plan when he realized that Ayla had been gone for longer than usual. Brun was furious when he found out about Ayla's plan to force him to accept Durc into the Clan. If a woman forced Brun to do something, he would lose face, and the other men would not respect him anymore. Even if Brun cursed Ayla with death, he would still lose face, and he would not be able to face the other leaders at the upcoming Clan Gathering.

While Ayla was secreted in her cave, Uba brought food and news of Ayla's impending curse. Ayla realized the error of her ways and returned before the seventh day, allowing Brun to save face by making the decision.

Ayla begged Brun to allow her son to live. She wanted her son so badly that she asked Brun to curse her with death if he decided that the baby must die. Brun was shocked by the request, and he almost granted it for Broud's sake. However, Creb's emotional plea for Ayla and her son persuaded Brun to accept the child. Durc was named after a character from Ayla's favorite Clan legend (according to the legend, Durc left his clan to search for warmer land and was never seen again). His totem was the Gray Wolf.

Early Childhood[]


Durc as portrayed by Rory L. Crowley in the film

Durc and Ayla had a fond relationship. Ayla often played a game with Durc in which they would make sounds and mimic each other. It was during such games that Durc began to call Ayla "Mama."

Ayla brought Durc to the Clan Gathering during his first year. It was during that gathering that Ayla met a woman named Oda who had a daughter named Ura that resembled Durc. When Ayla learned that Oda had been raped by men of the Others, she theorized that Ura was also a child of mixed spirits. Oda suggested that their children be mated to each other, since they would have trouble finding normal mates. Ayla agreed, and the leaders of their clans arranged for Ura to return with Brun's clan after the next Clan Gathering.

In many ways, Durc was the son of the entire clan. Despite his "deformity," most of the men were fond of him and took responsibility for his training. After Ayla tragically lost her milk during Durc's first year, the nursing women shared responsibility for feeding him. As a result, Durc used the "mother" sign to address all women, but he reserved the word "Mama" for Ayla.

Sadly, Durc was separated from his mother when he was around four years old, after Ayla was cursed with death by Broud. Ayla left Durc in the care of her adopted sister Uba and also extracted a promise from Brun that he would protect him from Broud and ensure he became a good Clan man. The last time Durc is seen, he is being held back by Uba, crying "Mama!" repeatedly as Ayla leaves in tears.

Subsequent novels[]

Durc never physically appears in the series after the first book, but he is mentioned on numerous occasions. Ayla is understandably devastated by the loss of her son, though she is happy that Durc will have Uba and Brun to love and guide him, and that he will also mate Ura and so will never be alone. However, the grief Ayla feels over her son's loss remains with her for the rest of her life. For most of The Valley of Horses, Ayla carries around Durc's travelling cloak for comfort, though she eventually leaves it behind, accepting that she no longer needs it. When Jondalar finds out that Durc is a child of mixed spirits, he is initially shocked and disgusted. Ayla vehemently defends Durc and Jondalar later comes to change his opinion and apologises to Ayla, realising how much he must've hurt her by insulting the son she clearly loves. In The Mammoth Hunters, Ayla considered returning to the Clan to find Durc and bring him to live with her, after seeing how the majority of the Lion Camp came to accept Rydag, another half-Clan child. However, she eventually decided against this, partly because she had no idea where the Clan was living now, but also because she accepted it would be unfair to Durc to take him from his home and people who cared for him into a world where people would be hostile and judgemental of him, and that he would ultimately be happier with the Clan. Ayla also has a strange nightmare involving a grown Durc during the third novel.

Because of Durc's half-Clan status, Ayla makes a point of refraining from mentioning him to most people, due to the stigma attached to this and the potential problems it could cause. As a result, very few people of the Others ever learn of Durc's existence. In The Shelters of Stone, most people assume that Jonayla is Ayla's first child. However, Zelandoni Who Is First guesses that this is not the case. Whilst she is alone with Ayla, she asks her questions about Durc to keep her mind off the pain of labour and keep her from panicking. Ayla tells The First about Durc and the shaman is pleasantly surprised when she realises that Ayla genuinely loved Durc, in spite of his mixed heritage.



Ayla (Daryl Hannah) and Durc (Rory L. Crowley) as portrayed in the film

Figuratively, Durc was the only son of the Clan. After Creb saw a glimpse of the Clan's doom at the Clan Gathering, Creb came to believe that Durc was Ayla's gift to the Clan. Children like Durc (and their descendents) would carry on some part of the dying Clan.
During her stay with the Mamutoi, Ayla dreamed that she had two sons: Durc and a tall blond son who resembled Jondalar. In her dream, the brothers were about to fight, and Ayla knew that one would kill the other. Mamut (the holy-man) calmed her by reminding her that the dream was just a symbol, and it did not mean that one of the brothers would literally kill the other. The most likely interpretation is that the dream was a vision of the destiny of the two races: Neanderthals were doomed to extinction.

New 2

Durc was a mixture of both Neanderthal and Modern Man


Blood Relatives

Ancestors: Broud (father), Ayla (mother), Brun (paternal grandfather), Ebra (paternal grandmother), Uba (paternal great-great-grandmother)
Siblings: Brac (half-brother), Grev (half-brother), and Jonayla (half-sister)
Mate: Presumably Ura
Extended Family: Creb (paternal great-uncle), Iza (paternal great-aunt), Uka (paternal great-aunt), Uka's son (first cousin once removed), Ovra (first cousin once removed), Uba (first cousin once removed)

Adoptive Relatives (Through Iza)

Ancestors: Creb (maternal grandfather), Iza (maternal grandmother), and Uba (maternal great-great-grandmother)
Extended Family: Uba (maternal aunt), Brun (great-uncle), Creb (great-uncle), Broud (first cousin once removed), Brac (second cousin), and Grev (second cousin)

Adoptive Relatives (Through Mamut)

Ancestors: Mamut (maternal grandfather)
Siblings: at least one brother and two sisters
Extended Family: at least four first cousins, Tulie (first cousin once removed), Talut (first cousin once removed), Tarneg (first cousin twice removed), Druwez (first cousin twice removed), Brinan (first cousin twice removed), Tusie (first cousin twice removed), Danug (first cousin twice removed), Latie (first cousin twice removed), Rugie (first cousin twice removed), Rydag (first cousin twice removed), Manuv (second cousin once removed)*, Nuvie (second cousin twice removed), Hartal (second cousin twice removed), and possibly Tholie (first cousin twice removed or second cousin twice removed)*

  • Cousins can either be cousins in the literal sense or half-siblings who share the same father. This description treats all "cousins" as first cousins unless there is evidence to the contrary.
  • Talut said that Tholie was the daughter of his cousin.