Category talk:Species

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I move that we remove Gargoyle Beasts and Loch Ness Monsters from this category. The category name "Races" (as opposed to "Species") implies that only sentient, intelligent races are included, and that will be confusing or misleading regarding garg-beasts and Loch Ness monsters. I know that technically, Greg doesn't like the term "sentient", but he has said that garg-beasts don't have human or gargoyle intelligence, and there's no evidence that Loch Ness monsters do either. We also have no evidence whether or not dragons are intelligent, so I move we remove them as well, until we have more information about them. Vaevictis Asmadi 12:53, 17 August 2007 (CDT)

Who said I didn't like the term "sentient"? -gdw

Er, that was my impression from conversations archived at Ask Greg. Vaevictis Asmadi 14:24, 17 August 2007 (CDT)
There is another option: we could change the name to Category:Species instead. Wouldn't be hard. I only picked Races as a title because of the article Three Races. -- Supermorff 08:12, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
I'd prefer changing the name of the category to species, since the word "race" isn't particularly well defined and is often a subjective term.--Moeen 11:34, 18 August 2007 (CDT)
That's true, although that also means that "species" can be more restrictive. Are the New Olympians technically a species, or are they something else? "Race" would probably apply either way. And if "species" doesn't apply in this case, and we nevertheless rename to Category:Species, do we include New Olympians or not? -- Supermorff 06:49, 19 August 2007 (CDT)
Good question. The New Olympians are technically speaking just a group of hybrids between Oberon's Children and Humans that happen to be living together on an island. So they're really a kind of hybrid no different from, say, Merlin. So they're a species the same as Merlin, but it's a matter of perspective as to whether or not they're a "race" on their own, say, different from Merlin. So to answer your question, I guess not, but Hybrids are (though one has to distinguish between a Oberon's Children-Human hybrid and a Gargoyle-Human hybrid, of which there only seems to be Delilah at this point, created by artificial means).--Moeen 10:07, 19 August 2007 (CDT)
Even the New Olympians aren't all one group, since there are some of human-Third Race ancestry, and some of animal-Third Race ancestry. "Halfling" or "Hybrid" or "Race" covers all of them (except the gargoyle clan) but IMHO "Species" does not. -- Vaevictis Asmadi 10:41, 19 August 2007 (CDT)
This is more complicated than I thought. New Olympian is starting to look more like a nationality than a race, given that the people there seem to be a conglomerate of all sorts of species. This category may be more trouble than it's worth...--Moeen 13:40, 19 August 2007 (CDT)
So... to solve the problem: change to Species and remove the New Olympian article? We can link to notable exceptions, including New Olympians and (now that I think of them) Mutates. What do you think? -- Supermorff 13:53, 19 August 2007 (CDT)
Or... since Species can be defined to mean a group of beings capable of interbreeding, we could just include them both. (New Olympians, except for the local gargoyles, can interbreed as evidenced purely by their continuing survival. The Mutates can theoretically interbreed as evidenced here, although the offspring would not technically be "mutates".) -- Supermorff 14:06, 19 August 2007 (CDT)
What we could do is change to Species, and then include a subcategory for Hybrids in general, without specifying what kind, and include New Olympians in the Hybrid category. Given how hybrids can interbreed regardless of type, it might not be necessary to further differentiate. I suppose Mutates could count as a species, since they're just "evolved" humans of a sort.--Moeen 15:35, 19 August 2007 (CDT)

There's already a Category:Hybrids, but it's for characters not races. I'll probably change the category to Species in the next few days, unless someone beats me to it. -- Supermorff 18:07, 19 August 2007 (CDT)

I don't see using Hybrids as a sub-category. For one thing, there are many different types of hybrids, and they can't all interbreed. Delilah is a hybrid, but she's basically a gargoyle. She'd never be fertile with Claw, let alone with something that's half dog and half Third Race. Unless the dog-halfling shapeshifted, but that doesn't count, otherwise everybody would belong to the Third Race as a species. Even the mutates aren't a species, because part of being a species or a race is, in my opinion, being an interbreeding population with a shared ancestry or heritage. The mutates just happen to all be mutated in the same way, except for Wolf who's also a mutate. -- Vaevictis Asmadi 20:25, 20 August 2007 (CDT)
I think the idea was to use a Hybrids category to contain pages on types of beings that aren't necessarily defined as Species (e.g. New Olympian, Mutate, etc.). It would not necessarily have to be a subcategory of Species, but interlinking the two categories might be sensible. In any case, the fact that a Hybrids category already exists for a different purpose makes this idea moot.
Personal opinion: There are many different definitions of the word "Species". Let's first decide what articles we want to include in this category, by which I mean let's decide what articles a Gargoyles fan might reasonably expect to be included in this category. (Like it or not, this will probably include both the New Olympians and Mutates.) Then we'll find a definition of species that fits around those articles, and not the other way around. Agreed? -- Supermorff 06:38, 21 August 2007 (CDT)
No, I don't agree. "Mutate" is not a species, any more than "GMO food" or "clone" are species. A mutated gargoyle is not the same species as Wolf, who is not the same species (anymore) as Talon. Likewise, Thailog is not the same species as Dolly the sheep.
I'm totally fine with New Olympians being a species for the purposes of this Wiki, but let's not start adding every possible character group. I don't want Mutate, Cyborg, Clone, Robot, or GMO in the Species category.
Just because a gargoyle fan might expect that mutates are a species, doesn't make it so. Many a fan probably doesn't expect half the canon-in-training revelations, either. I don't want an inaccurate or misleading Wiki just for the sake of being totally predictable. -- Vaevictis Asmadi 11:33, 21 August 2007 (CDT)
I am not suggesting that clones, cyborgs or robots by classed as species.
Are you taking the word "Mutates" to mean "a being that has been mutated", or (as in the article in question) the group of four mutated beings that founded the Labyrinth Clan? In the former case, I agree that mutates in general would not be a species. I was using the latter case.
Out of curiosity, why have you not raised objection to the inclusion of Category:Mutates or similar categories in Category:Characters by species? (Notice that Category:Clones and Category:Cyborgs are not, and never have been, included in this category.) -- Supermorff 13:38, 21 August 2007 (CDT)
I thought you meant mutates in general. Clone, cyborg, and mutate are all nothing more than methods of modifying an existing being or creating a single new one. None of them is a species. But what applies to one generally would apply to all.
I guess I never thought about Characters by Species. But it would be another step entirely to explicitly declare that "mutate" is a species. You have a good point though... maybe it should be a sub-category of the Hybrid characters category. We already have Hybrid in the Characters by Species, right? It isn't a species, but by definition a hybrid means a mixture, I think it's the best we can do for that category. But that category is pretty important, this one is less importat, it's mostly a grouping of just a few articles taken from the Other section. You can't exclude mutates from the Characters categories, but there isn't a strong need to put an article about them in this category. -- Vaevictis Asmadi 19:29, 21 August 2007 (CDT)
Most of them weren't in the Other section. Most of them weren't grouped together at all, and I thought they should be.
The mutate article we have now is only about the four Labyrinth mutates (with a brief mention of Wolf to explain why he's not included). I don't think the inclusion of this mutate article in the category is a statement that all mutated beings constitute a species. Of course, if the scope of the article increases to include other beings, then its presence in the category would have to be reevaluated.
That said, if you still believe that including that specific article in the category does imply that all mutates constitute a species, then I guess we can leave it out. -- Supermorff 04:57, 22 August 2007 (CDT)
One of the problems about determining species in the Gargoyles universe, is that in real life, one of the definitions of biological species is any group of creatures that can interbreed. Hence, dogs are all the same species despite there being many different kinds of dogs, but leopards and cheetahs are not the same species, despite both being big cats. However, in the Gargoyles Universe, it's clear from observation that the Third Race are biologically very distinct from humans, but the two groups are capable of interbreeding, giving us hybrid species, of which some of the New Olympians are an example. So we run into problems here if we want to use interbreeding as the defining characteristic of species. I'd say that given how the New Olympians are neither Third Race nor human, yet have no difficulty interbreeding would qualify as a separate species, even if they have various genetic sources. Perhaps we could call them an example of a "Hybrid Species"? When it comes to mutation and genetic recombination it gets a little tricky. Are the Mutates capable of interbreeding? If so do they qualify as being a separate species? Is Delilah capable of having children with humans and gargoyles, or just gargoyles? If only gargoyles, does that make her a member of the gargoyle species, or she a completely different species altogether? It's these gray areas of extreme gene messing where we run into trouble. (I sure am glad these issues don't exist in real life...) --Moeen 15:56, 23 August 2007 (CDT)
Horses and donkeys are a different species, but can interbreed to produce mules (and also hinnies, but nobody cares much about them). Horses and donkeys are still separate species, however, because a horse can breed with a horse to produce a horse, and a donkey can breed with a donkey to produce a donkey.
Likewise, in the gargoyles universe, a gargoyle can breed with a gargoyle to produce a gargoyle. A child of Oberon can breed with a child of Oberon to produce a child of Oberon (or at least, so I assume - evidence for this is hard to find). I don't think there's anything wrong with "interbreeding population" definition of species. And I don't think it's worth creating a new category for Hybrid Species, since it would probably be a subcat of this category anyway. We could mention the special cases in the category's intro paragraph.
Delilah is a gargoyle, reproductively speaking (link here).
The other problem you mentioned is a little trickier. The mutates can have children, even with each other, per comments at Ask Greg. But... the word "mutate" would not describe these offspring, because they haven't been mutated. We don't even know whether they would resemble their parents as they are now, or whether they'd be human or what. (Greg refused to answer the question here.) Thinking about it again, it's probably best to leave them out for now, until we know more. Maybe a link in the intro paragraph is a decent compromise? -- Supermorff 04:20, 24 August 2007 (CDT)
Mules and hinnies are also almost all sterile, or at best only able to back-breed with true donkies and horses, not with each other.
Children of Oberon have to use magic to assume a true mortal physical form, before mating with mortals. So it sounds like their "true" forms don't work for the purpose. Some of the magic does leak through and create a halfling, but Fox for example, is apparently also human, at least biologically. Halfling isn't a species since any mortal or animal can be one, theoretically. But New Olympians could be considered a species in this Wiki, since they evidently don't use magic to breed with one another (or at all, except in their specific "powers"). I think Greg has said they might be compatible with humans, but I'm not really comfortable saying that a centaur or a minotaur is a subspecies of human. It's magic, so it doesn't necessarily fit into biological categories. After all, reproductive isolation is only one way that scientists use to define species, and it isn't appropriate in every circumstance (like asexual organisms). There is also a morphological definition, and a genetic definition. In any case, scientists haven't made criteria for classifying magical life-forms, so our definition won't be perfect.
Delilah is indeed a gargoyle. She's a GMO, but only 10% of her genes are human and they only influence some superficial parts of appearance.
I think that putting a link to Mutate in the introduction of Category: Species makes sense. One issue with mutate reproduction, is that we simply don't know whether the reproductive genes were altered, or left human. And if they were altered, it still might make no difference for Maggie, since human females are born with most of their eggs already formed. In terms of future mutates-to-be, a small enough alteration could leave the mutate compatible with humans. -- Vaevictis Asmadi 12:56, 24 August 2007 (CDT)

That's done. -- Supermorff 06:01, 25 August 2007 (CDT)