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- "They believe that humanity... consciousness... the soul, is a... is a perversion, a dilution of spirit."
- ―Rupert Giles[src]
Primals were an African Massai sect of animal worshippers, who believed that human consciousness is a perversion and that the animal state is sacred, for which they sought to draw the spirits of animals into themselves. Only predators, such as hyenas, were of interest to the Primals.
In order to draw the animal spirit, the Primal had to perform a "predatory act" while standing on a ritual symbol. The nature of the predatory act involved threatening, attacking or causing severe suffering to another human being.
When possessed, Primals obtained the mindset of the animal spirit they summoned as well as their abilities, such as enhanced senses and superhuman strength. Giles described them as individually being almost as strong as a Slayer (Xander could keep her restrained for a moment) and they tore apart a metal cage used to hold a animal.
However, the effect of the possession also distorted the mind of the subject, causing them to become increasingly animalistic and violent as their original intellect degraded, going as far as committing acts of cannibalism. For example, when Xander was possessed, his crush on Buffy became more aggressive, to the extent that he attempted to rape Buffy before being subdued, and he also claimed to develop a headache simply from trying to understand high-school calculus even before his new state had fully manifested itself, while a group of bullies went so far as to eat Principal Bob Flutie when he attempted to give them detention after the animal spirits gained more influence.
The only true primal seen is Dr. Weirick, the zookeeper.
- "The Pack"