Taxonomy is always a touchy subject. Have you ever tried organizing a shelf shared by multiple people? It's difficult to get people to agree on how things should be arranged. Everyone thinks their system is better, and every system has its weaknesses. Take books, for example. Do you alphabetize everything? Or put them by author? Maybe by subject matter? No matter which you choose, there will be problems. Alphabetically, do you keep books in a series together, or separate them? If you keep them together, are they alphabetically together by the series' name, or the name of the books in it? By author, what about collaborations? What if you have multiple books by the same author? What if a book's subject isn't clear, or it has multiple subjects? Books, as complex as they are, are incredibly simple compared to living creatures. The "science", and this word I use loosely, of taxonomy is a matter of huge debate in our own world. What about in a fantasy world, where multiple sapient/sentient species may be involved? The problems of classifying living things are endless, and a difficult matter to address. Sound like fun yet? Here are some resources for you. You don't have to read them, but they'll probably help. http://anthro.palomar.edu/animal/animal_1.htm - brief explanation of biological taxonomy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_classification - more in-depth review http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binomial_nomenclature - explanation of "scientific names" Your challenge for today is to classify three (or more) of the following (or other) sapient creatures using (at least something following the rules of) Linnaean taxonomy, using binomial nomenclature. vampires werewolves nekos leprechauns fairies elves dwarves orcs angels demons anthros mermaids harpies nagas Be sure to capitalize the genus name but not the species, and italicize the entire thing. ^^ For example, Homo sapiens, our own species- though some anthropologists, to keep us separate from pre-modern humans, also differentiate modern people as Homo sapiens sapiens. This subspecies classification is not widely accepted. Just a quick overview of things to keep in mind when classifying... ...a species, in biology, refers to every individual capable of successful interbreeding. This means that, if your vampire, for example, can have sex with a human and they produce a normal, fertile child, then vampires and humans are different subspecies (a loose and fairly unscientific term), but the same species. ...members of the same genus are sometimes capable of interbreeding, but do not (usually) produce fertile children. For example, mules are the hybrids of horses and donkeys. Approximately one out of every ten thousand mules is capable of reproducing, because the world is a weird place and there are no hard and fast rules. However, exceptions like this are abnormal and do not consitute redefining species. ...genetic similarity between members of the same genus means that diseases can often be spread between them with ease, or that biomedical research, perhaps even transplants, would be easy to do between the two. If you are picturing two populations as being completely incapable of sharing genetic material, I would recommend against putting them in the same genus. ...a subspecies refers to separate populations, often classified unscientifically by phenotype expressions or genotypic ratios. These individuals are capable of normal interbreeding, but probably have very different genes. Take, for example, the Chihuahua and the Grey Wolf. Same species, but you wouldn't necessarily guess it by looking at them because they look so similar. Wolves are Canis lupis, dogs Canis lupis familiaris.