The Council of Ancients was the superior Clan and prime ruling authority of the Yautja. They were comprised of the most skillful and exalted of Clans and their words and decrees were law. If the Clan Trials have commenced and been successful, the Council would actually be composed of two clans: The Ancients themselves and their eventual successors.
AncientsNot much information can be discerned about the Council of Ancients, as it's source mentions it rather sparingly. What is known is that they hold superiority over all other Clans, which look to it for guidance and structure via the laws it creates. Clans must also petition the Council to have exclusive access, called "Exclusive Hunting Rights", to a planet for hunting purposes.
The Council is responsible for keeping sacred Yautja rituals and traditions alive. It is also responsible for metting out punishment when particularly egregious slights against Predator kind arise from non-Predator races, such as humans. The Council is shown to, in a way, be responsible for the honor and integrity of the species as a whole and will ruthlessly destroy anything that sullies that honor, be it Hunter, Human, or Xenomorph. This can be seen when they torture Samuel Kadinsky for experimenting on a hunter. The hunter himself was also swiftly put to death.
When the Predalien Queen established a hive, it demanded her head as a sign of Predator superiority and the death of all of her brood to "cleanse the predator bloodline", even though her DNA did not appear to spread to her children in any noticeable way.
If the Ancients have selected successors following the completion of the proper trials. Once done, the to-be Council acts as a subordinate Clan to the current Council and directly carries out their edicts. It is unknown if the failure to do this disqualifies the otherwise selected Clan to maintain their mantle as Ancients.
Trials and Successors
Ancient Clans do not rule forever. After a point in time, they begin to look at the strongest and most distinguished of lesser clans to be Successors. These clans, once chosen, are not notified of their nomination, but pitted against each other in a violent clash, whilst viewing the others as "poachers" on the planet they rightfully had exclusive access to. They use imported Alien Eggs to test a Clan's hunting prowess in an arena. When distance becomes an issue, the Ancients order their chosen to participate in Clan Trials: A pair of "formal hunts" designed to showcase a Clan's skill. These are the trials of Bravery and Stealth.
One of their nominees was tasked with seizing a skull of Marine Lieutenant in a show of stealth. This was to be done without alerting too many humans and with only a small pack of hunters: A Brawler, Stalker, Spear Master, and Hunter. Succeeding in the first trial distinguishes a clan. Winning the second trial, one of bravery requiring the infiltration of a mature Hive and the slaying and trophy-making of a Queen Alien, secures a selected clan's position as successors to the Council.