The Kaaranese Sangheili have inhabited Ketesh for the past 90,000 years, during which they have established themselves as the dominant sentient lifeform. This was not always true - the Teltaqans, one of two sentient species native to Ketesh, were quite successful in their time, living along the Teltaq coast of the Thaaran continent. Apparently a thriving seafaring civilisation, the Teltaqans are today only known from a few archaeological sites in Teltaq - a few scattered buried towns, some excavated grave sites, and pottery and tools that have been found. The oldest hints of their existence date back more than 200,000 years ago, and all traces of them disappear approximately 90,000 years ago - about the same time that the Sangheili arrived on Ketesh.
When you compare the Teltaqans with the Kaaranese, it is all too easy to see just why the former was rendered extinct by the latter. Compared with the tall, muscular, and successful Sangheili, the Teltaqans are small, physically weak, and possessed few adaptations to their lifestyle that gave them any edge against the ruthless and aggressive newcomers. Teltaqan remains preserved poorly, due to their physiology, and only recent chance discoveries have allowed Sangheili archaeologists information about their ancient co-inhabitants. Averaging only 1.4 meters in height, roughly that of an Unggoy, the Teltaqans seem to have evolved from amphibious ancestors, possessing a fragile cartiligenous endoskeleton and a thin outer skin, based on mummified remains. Chromatophores in the skin allowed their skin to change pigmentation, perhaps a camouflage adaptation or for use in communication. They possessed compound eyes, and internal ears, with few external features, perhaps indicating adaptations to swimming. Regardless, it is apparent from the spread of their remains that the Teltaqans had abandoned the water long ago, and had made the transition to land in full. A number of poorly preserved structures found on the Teltaqan seabed seem to be the remains of Teltaqan ships, sunk long ago, and two Teltaqan settlements have been uncovered inland, buried and preserved by the Dushqun desert. While jewelry and redimentary tools are common throughout the region, there have been no reports of anything that could have exclusively been used as a weapon, perhaps indicating a peaceful nature - making their obliteration by the Sangheili all the more inevitable.
Actual Sangheili historical accounts are practically nonexistent. An ancient Keltashan legend claimed that the Sangheili conquered the planets inhabitants, a race of water sprites, claiming it for their own - it is perhaps the closest the Teltaqans came to being remembered, even if it seems to be unrelated to the actual events of their annihilation. Today, few know of the Teltaqans, and fewer still care.
- "It is the rule of nature, is it not? The strong survive and the weak perish. And we Sangheili are strong indeed. If they could not withstand us, then extinction was inevitable."
- "Aw, they look so cute! Like little Rosswell Greys! Except, you know, not grey."
- "They look like something you get with a kids meal."
- "The Keltashans told legends of water sprites, who inhabited the seas and rivers and threatened sailors. It never occured to me until now that they may just have been surviving Teltaqans. Of course, the legends stop long before the Empire fell - so they didn't survive for long."