1. WNP

    WNP Member

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    Scientific name for...

    Discussion in 'Research' started by WNP, Oct 31, 2016.

    Weird question, but what would be the scientific name for people if they evolved from the dinosaurs/lizards rather than monkeys?

    Humans are Homo Sapiens, with the Sapien part relating to hominids (monkey/ape type creatures), so would 'Lizard people' be Homo Saurus, or something like that? It just sounds a little ridiculous.

    I know there isn't an actual word for it, but just need something that sounds realistic if such a species were to exist. Unfortunatley I'm not too clued up when it comes to Latin or scientific names, so I'm struggling.

    Thanks,

    Will
     
  2. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    You'd have to go a lot further back than that. Scientists only use the scientific names for genus, species, and occasionally subspecies in everyday conversation, but the scientific names technically go all the way to kingdom and phylum and everything in between.
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Also you've got it backwards , its the Homo part that relates to hominids - sapiens is latin for 'wise' or intelligent - hence why in human evolution you also have Homo erectus (walks upright), and so forth

    'people' evolved from lizards could therefore be 'Varanus sapiens ' or if less advanced "Varanus erectus" Varanus being the genus that has some of the larger lizards such as a the monitor lizard
     
  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Herpetology is the study of lizards, so Herpe-Sapiens?
     
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  5. WNP

    WNP Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys, some good suggestions.

    Homo relating to hominids makes a lot more sense now I hear it.

    The scientific name will only be mentioned in passing maybe a couple times, so maybe I shouldn't worry too much about it.

    I like Varanus Sapien as it doesn't sound obvious (I'd never heard of that word - but maybe that's just me.)

    The image in my head was of people more evolved from crocodile type creatures, so maybe crocodylus-sapien? Does that sounds a little strange?
     
  6. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    What are the scientific names of the crocodilians?
     
  7. WNP

    WNP Member

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    From a quick Wikipedia search it appears they're all Crocodylus... Then some other word to describe the different types. E.g. Crocodylus Acutus (American crocodile).

    So maybe that is the one to go with
     
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  8. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This website should be of use: The Tree of Life Web Project
     
  9. WNP

    WNP Member

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    Thanks I'll definitely check that out, should be very useful
     
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  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    That was beautiful
     
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  11. Sifunkle

    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Good advice given here already!

    A SPAG note about scientific names (= Linnaean or binomial nomenclature): the genus name (e.g. Homo) should be capitalised, while the species name (e.g. sapiens) should not. So you'd have Homo sapiens. They're also supposed to be either italicised or underlined (I usually see the former).

    Having said that, I've very seldom seen them formatted correctly in fiction (or journalism). Whether that's out of ignorance or a conscious editorial decision, I don't know, but I personally award Respect Points when it's done right :)

    Not in my understanding (apologies if I'm just being pedantic about your phrasing). Every organism has taxonomy that can be traced through that hierarchical system, but the actual name is limited to Genus species (+/- subspecies, variant, etc if necessary). Genus names are supposed to be unique so that you never have to reference higher taxonomic levels to communicate which organism you're referring to -- e.g. there's no plant or bacterium with the genus Homo, so Homo only ever refers to humans.
     
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  12. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Uh...? We did evolve from reptiles. Fish -> tetrapod -> amphibian -> reptile -> synapsids -> mammals.

    If you're thinking about a creature that evolved directly from reptile to intelligent life, you can't use reptiles we have on earth, their brains are too simple. Humans have four "layers" in our brain. We have a tiny fish-like brain which controls our most basic instincts, then wrapped around that is a reptile-like brain that handles the fight or flight behavior. Then there is a mammalian brain which controls our social and other complex behaviors, then finally the neocortex which makes humans humans. You need to evolve all of those in order, notice the rising level of complexity in each part.

    An intelligent animal could not evolve from any reptiles without millions of years of evolution to the brain to contrast the complexity of their behavior, and at that point, we they wouldn't be reptiles anymore anyway.
     
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  13. WNP

    WNP Member

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    The creatures in my book are aliens that have evolved directly from lizard type creatures, and still maintain apt of the features (scales rather than skin, sharp teeth, tails etc.). So hopefully that gets around that issue.

    I was just looking for a name that scientists might assign to them based solely on appearance.
     
  14. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    You can get all of that, the only problem is the brain.

    Evolution has kept all of those things, they've just been repurposed. Skin actually came first, it then evolved into scales, which eventually became our hair.

    Teeth and nails are easy, lots of mammals maintained those, that has to do with predation.

    Biologists stoped naming things based on what they looked like when we developed genetics.
     
  15. JJagain

    JJagain New Member

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    I think a scientific name for an alien species is a step too far. How would anyone have the first clue to what the genus might be? And if a genus and species name were applied, they would be floating around without a family or order. Unless these aliens originated on Earth, you can't even place them in the phylum of Animals (as they aren't). The problem is, you're trying to use the last few branches of a hierarchy without knowing the rest of it. Like having a street name and house number, but no town or country. If you definitely have to give them a scientific name as it's critical to the story, then maybe latinise 'Alien Lizard' or something.
     
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