When I was in high school, I learned that the definition of a species is two animals that can interbreed and give birth to fertile offspring. Like, dogs are all one species because they technically can interbreed (although, functionally, watching a Great Dane and a Chihuahua work it out might be… difficult), but donkeys and horses are different because – although they can mate and give birth – their offspring (mules) are sterile.
At the time, I thought – well, that’s pretty straight forward. Thanks, scientists, for solving yet another mystery of life.
Fast forward to a few months ago when I asked one of my taxonomist colleagues to define a ‘species’ for me. The result of that (many hour-long) conversation inspired this video. Turns out, the answer isn’t, at all, straight-forward.
Do we know the evolutionary history of the monsters? Like whether the groups the guild classifies monster in are monophyletic or paraphyletic?
There is ~some~ information on the taxonomy of monsters that’s been provided by the various Encyclopedias, but of course they are all in Japanese, and there’s quite a few monsters that aren’t included, and even those that are don’t usually list the full hierarchy. (I intend on doing a post about them eventually, but watching one’s country go to hell in a hand basket does have a rather negative effect on one’s ability to write semi-serious posts about fictional lore. If you were wondering why I haven’t written a post in quite a while, life is giving me bigger and uglier fish than Plesioth to fry. :P)
Suffice to say, most wyverns appear to share a common ancestor (with Fanged Beasts being descended from them via Fanged Wyverns), but things like the proper dragons and odd-ball creatures like Yama Tsukami are up in the air.
I need to do some research because I’m sure they’ve released some 4th gen and Generations related stuff since I last looked, but I did hypothesize that Gore/Shagaru Magala could represent a link between 6 limbed Elder Dragons and 4 limbed Wyverns, with their front legs becoming more vestigial until they completely disappeared as their wings took over for terrestrial locomotion.
Question upon the Squamata- were you allowed to name it it's common taxon name, and if so why not name it "Naked boy"
Yes, there is nothing stopping scientists from designating common names, but there is also nothing stopping everyone from ignoring what we suggest. Most taxonomists don’t bother. rather than doing it in the publication, I instead did it on wikipedia.
I think about that a lot tbh, how ancient people would have classified non-avian dinosaurs had they been alive today. I think most theropods would have been lumped together with birds, while most non-theropods probably wouldn't have been, but they also wouldn't have been classified as reptiles. Then, when actually classification started to become a thing, and the connections were seen, they'd all be moved into birds.
I mean, I feel like the small bipedal Ornithischians covered in fuzz like Tianyulong and Kulindadromeus and Psittacosaurus probably would have been in birds, but in general yeah, they might have been given their own name.
Now, I previously tried to write this piece for you, but lost it due to a power failure where I was working. Lame! So here’s take #2.
There are a number of ways to come up with names for people, places, or objects in your stories. But where to start? Here are some pointers for choosing your names!
Consider the genre of story. If you are writing a historical fiction piece that takes place in 18th century England, it probably doesn’t make much sense to use a name that wouldn’t be found then and there. Likewise, if you are writing fantasy or science fiction, you have a little more liberty in creating your own names from scratch. Take these factors into account.
Name meanings. You don’t have to give consideration to the meanings of the names you choose, but if you decide you want to, you should probably be consistent about it or you may frustrate your readers (should they discover the hidden meanings). What I mean: if you start intentionally choosing names because of meanings, don’t stop. An exception to this would be giving meaning behind names only of important or major characters or places.
Creating your own names. If you do need to create your own name from thin air, there are a number of ways to do it.
Use scrambled words. When I was younger, I used to love coming up with sci-fi sounding names from those word scramble games.
Use inspiration from signs around you. Driving down the highway with nothing to do? Look at the names you see on billboards and signs and think about how to claim them and make them your own! I remember when I wrote my first complete (and absolutely terrible science fiction) story in 5th grade, I came up with the last name for my main character from a Meineke sign… and she became Jenopea Meine.
Use inspiration from other languages. Think about what languages may be common in the region your character, city, or object is located. Are there similar languages in existence? Google Translate can be your friend! Start with a word in one language and play around with translations in other languages until you get the right sound. Sometimes this will also give the name a meaning.
Name generators. If you are having trouble coming up with a name on your own, the internet is filled with random name generators for every possible imaginable use. There are generators for towns, villains, heroes, fantasy characters, science fiction characters, you name it and just plug it into Google.
Don’t forget the importance of sounds. Remember all those times we discussed how the sound of a word can influence the reader’s perception and mood? Sounds affect the tone of a story, and you shouldn’t forget this fact when you are naming things. Use hard and soft sounds to your advantage. Make the names sound like the languages you want them to originate from. Be mindful and intentional in how you choose these names.
And finally, Don’t be afraid to change names whenever! Now, of course I don’t mean you should change the main character’s name after you publish a story. But you can change the name of anything right up until then. All throughout the writing, editing, and revising process. If the name isn’t fitting or isn’t working, come up with something else. I recently did this where I couldn’t think of a name but wanted to keep writing, so I just threw a random name in the spot and then changed it later. You are in charge here!
There you have it! These are my tips for coming up with names in your stories. Now it’s your turn. Do you have any other suggestions for naming? Reblog and let me know!
Intergeneric hybridization is a process by which two species from separate genera mate to form a hybrid offspring. This occurs naturally in nature, but has been exploited by humans; a notable example includes the cama, a camel alpaca hybrid. However, in most animal intergeneric hybrids, the offspring are sterile and can not mate. This is not the case in most plants, and is best exemplified in the breeding of orchids. There are hundreds of horticultural varieties of orchids that have been created through crossing of species in separate genera. Pictured above is a variety of Degarmoara Winter Wonderland. Degarmoara is not an accepted genus, but is rather a name created in the orchid industry. Degarmoara varieties are the result of crosses between the 3 separate genera Brassia, Miltonia, and Odontoglossum. While traditional biology has taught us that species are defined as being reproductively isolated, intergeneric hybridization contradicts this view, and may mean that the taxonomy of many organisms needs to be reconsidered to reflect this plasticity in reproduction.