FANDOM


This is the project page for the SporeWiki Taxonomy Project. The project's mission is to scientifically catalog as many user-made Sporian life forms as possible, including creature, cell and plant specimens. It was originally conceived by Schnautzr, and is currently coordinated by the administrators.

Cataloging creatures is no easy task, and neither is cataloging real life forms, as taxonomy systems are incredibly complex. To indicate that you're participating in the project, simply place the {{user taxonomy}} userbox on your page. The full list of Taxonomy categories is found at Category:SporeWiki:Taxonomy, and the contents of these categories should be monitored regularly by SporeWiki taxonomists.

While the project is not considered part of either the Fiction Universe or Fantasy Universe canon, it belongs to the same basket of fanfiction that this Wiki houses.

Guidelines Edit

There are a number of guidelines to follow in regards of the Taxonomy system:

  • The project is, first and foremost, for fun. Don't take it too seriously.
  • It needs to be emphasized that the project is optional. This means users are not obliged to participate, either as taxonomists or as having taxa added to their articles. Should a user choose not to participate, their pages should not and must not be edited. Users that do participate should be aware that they may receive constructive feedback if their classification is judged to be incorrect, and should be willing to reclassify their pages or allow others to do so if the argument is outstanding.
  • The taxonomy project is fanfiction. As such, Maxis creatures must not be classified.
  • Real-life taxa have priority over made-up ones. Try and use real-life taxa as much as possible to keep things tidy and consistent. For more detailed information, see taxon priority.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, add classifications to another user's pages without their explicit consent and permission, done either via message wall or Discord, unless their page explicitly sports the template asking for it to be classified. A simple yes or okay from the author is enough of a confirmation.
    • An exception to this is if the author has been absent for a period of six months or more. In which case, you are free to edit their page, though be noted they are subject to be changed should the author someday return.
  • There are cases where text descriptions have priority over Spore models, as they represent what the author truly envisions their creature to be, and including it in an otherwise unrelated classification removes their control over their own work. Changing existing classifications made by the author will be interpreted as attempting to assert one's own headcanon and are subject to be reverted, unless you have their permission as noted above. See When to classify by morphology or text-based description.
    • That being said, creatures with no models should preferably be ignored entirely. There is no way to classify a Spore creature if it isn't made in Spore at all.
    • In the event the author is purposely hindering the project by classifying their creature as something it obviously isn't, then the page should be re-classified, or left with no classification at all.
    • Should they be involved, in most cases, the author has the final say on their fiction. If they disapprove of the given taxon, they are freely allowed to change it even if you disagree with it, unless they are actively hindering the project with a troll classification.
    • Disagreements that cannot be resolved may be reviewed by an administrator, either where the case for reclassification is unclear, or the classification is shown to be hindering the project.
  • Any major change to any taxon, including the removal of fiction or wastebasket templates or large-scale overhauls and mass-reclassification of entire groups of creatures, can not be done without permission from an administrator or a reasonable amount of community support, even if you believe it to be an error.
  • You are encouraged to discuss the taxon before adding it to a page, especially with the author, and discussing the best classification with other members of the project is highly encouraged. However, edit wars over taxonomy will be responded with a warning and subsequently a kick by the administrators should it persist. Similarly, posting creatures merely to prove a point to another user is not considered a constructive manner of discourse, and is considered a kickable offence.

How SporeWiki Taxonomy Works Edit

Biological classification L Pengo

The structure of the taxonomic system.

Our taxonomy project exists for comparing various fictional species that are usually entirely unrelated. Not only do they rarely come from the same planet, they are often not even from the same fictional universe. Furthermore, they generally bear only a vague superficial resemblance to Earth species. Real-world taxonomy, based on the evolutionary relationships between Earth's species, is therefore ill-suited to this project.

Instead, the SporeWiki taxonomy system is a ranked (or Linnaean) morphology-based taxonomy, far less strict than the cladistic system used in modern biology. Taxa created in SporeWiki tend to be very broad and cover more species than real ones do, and need not have the same relationships to each other as do their real-world equivalents.

For example, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians can have more (or less) than four limbs, unlike Earth's tetrapods. Meanwhile, Cnidaria and Monera, entirely different types of organism in reality, are classified as orders in the fictional taxon Amorphia because they lack the number and diversity of species to justify having more subtaxa than a few families.

Domains are not used in SporeWiki. Currently, there are five kingdoms used to classify SporeWiki content:

  • All creatures which are meant to be animals fall under Animalia.
    • Creations made in the Cell Creator have distinctly animal-like traits such as complex eyes, mouths, fins, and brains, so unless they are clearly meant to be actual cells, they should be placed in the best-fitting taxon within Animalia, rather than a kingdom or taxon reserved for actual unicellular life forms.
  • Creations made in the flora Editor which are meant to be plants have their own Kingdom, Plantae.
    • Although most user-made plants are created using the creature editor, if they look like a plant then they should be classified under the plant kingdom unless they are stated to be creatures--in which case they should be placed in the class Floridata.
  • The same goes for mushrooms and other fungi, which unless referred to as creatures should go under Fungi.
  • Creations meant to be protists, such as amoeba, slime molds, and dinoflagellates, go within Protista.
  • Though rare on this wiki and generally not considered to be forms of life, viruses have enough distinct morphology that classifying them is possible, so they are placed within Vira.

Taxon Priority Edit

As mentioned previously, real-world taxa take priority over fictional taxa. However, there are multiple kinds of both, which each have their own priorities over one another. Here is how this works.

Real-World Taxa Edit

There are three types of real-world taxon:

  • Real-life taxa currently accepted by biologists or paleontologists (ie Reptilia)
  • Real-life taxa not currently accepted by biologists or paleontologists (ie Avicephala)
  • Made-up taxa used to classify real creatures that don't have lower taxonomic ranks or have not been given a family (ie Kulindadromeusidae)

The real-world taxon used to classify a given type of creature always goes first--for example, herbivorous dinosaurs are spread across various families in Sauropoda, Ornithischia, and Theropoda instead of all being lumped into the widely rejected and biologically unnatural Phytodinosauria.

Made-up taxa to classify real animals should never be used unless absolutely necessary--such as in the case of water lilies, which do not have enough taxonomic ranks in the real world to be classified on the Sporewiki otherwise, and the case of Kulindadromeus, a dinosaur that at the time of writing this has not been given a real-world family at all and needed to have a family made up for it so it could fit.

Any of the above take absolute priority over fictional taxa, and additionally cannot be contained within or used as fictional taxa. They should also always be placed under the correct taxon, as to make it easier to locate them.

Fictional Taxa Edit

There are currently four types of fictional taxa:

Taxa based on mythology always take priority over taxa based on popular culture. Taxa based on Maxis creatures only take priority over taxa that fit nothing else if the particular creature has some significance and at least one fan-made creature made based on them, as is the case with Willosaur and The Grox.

Fictional taxa, including genera, cannot share their name with real-world taxa, even if the taxon is not in use in current science. Any clearly fictional taxon that either shares its name with or can be mistaken for a misspelling of a real-world taxon will be renamed as soon as it is noticed, as has already happened with Sicklidae and Lobopodia. Seriously, don't do it--reclassifying everything to fix this is a huge hassle that nobody likes to go through. When in doubt, look it up.

Classification Requests Edit

When you create a new organism page, be sure to add {{Taxonomy request}} to the top of its page; this will flag taxonomists so they know this article needs attention. These pages are then automatically listed in at Category:Taxonomy requests.

If not enough information is given to properly classify the organism, a message at the top of the article appears, prompting more information. The template for this message is {{tax-more-info}}. These are automatically added to Category:Creatures lacking vital information for classification.

Classifying Life-Forms Edit

First, do some research on both the alien and any real animals displaying similar characteristics. Start at the kingdom, and carefully assign each daughter taxon in order of hierarchy. If no real life taxon exists that makes sense, consider a made-up one--but keep in mind that real-world taxa take priority over fictional ones. Try to use the taxa already in SporeWiki instead of creating new ones, when possible; redundant taxa are redundant. Given how broad SporeWiki taxa are, this shouldn't pose many problems.

Robots (creatures with the Mech Parts) cannot be classified in this system. Cyborgs (such as the Grox) can be classified, but their classifications are based on their biological nature, with their robotic parts disregarded.

Designated Taxa Edit

Many popular creatures, such as creatures from mythology and pop culture and ones based on famous Spore creatures such as the Grox and Willosaur, have designated taxa, sometimes down to the genus level, to help keep other taxa clean. They are as follows (list may be incomplete; obvious cases such as unicorns belonging in the horse family are excluded):

  • Mythical Taxa: A list of all taxa solely based on mythology, for the purpose of keeping this list short
  • Demogorgonidae: Creatures either based on or strongly reminiscent of the Demogorgon from Stranger Things
  • Groxidae: Grox-themed creatures (true attempts at recreating the Grox additionally go in the genus Mechanicaos)
  • Scansoriopterygidae: Cockatrices, as well as the real-world dinosaurs which accidentally resemble them
  • Willosauria: Willosaurs, Tamaranian Hoppers, and Tamaranian Fliers
    • Willosauridae: Willosaurs with hands or mouths on their tails (ones that directly resemble the original Willosaur belong in the genus Willosaurus)
    • Sputiswilludae: Willosaurs with spit parts on their tails (ones based on Tripod Neuvo belong in the genus Neuvowillosaurus)
    • Allocaudadae: Willosaurs with other types of parts on their tails, including those based on Mini-tri
    • Willofishidae: Creatures based on Willosaur's aquatic stage form
    • Tamaravidae: Creatures based on the Tamaranian Flier
    • Hopperia: Creatures based on the Tamaranian Hopper
  • Yoshiidae: Creatures based on Yoshi from the Mario franchise
  • Xenomorphidae: Creatures inspired by the xenomorph from the Alien franchise (creatures actually meant to be the xenomorph should go in the genus Internecivus)

Limitations of the Creature Editor Edit

Technically, based on in-game information, every single creature in Spore should be classified as an amniote. Each one has a backbone, reproduces sexually, and hatches from an amniotic egg. Because the egg is always external, non-monotreme mammals and live-bearing reptiles/amphibians/fish are impossible. Invertebrates and simple chordates would be hopeless. The only actual possible creatures would be birds, monotremes, egg-laying reptiles/amphibians/fish, and a bunch of "-oid" type creatures.

To compensate, the backbone should only be recognized if it is important to maintain the structure of the organism (if it stands on legs, for example), or if it is implicitly intended to be there by resemblance to real or other fictional species. The amniotic egg should be ignored entirely. Reproduction methods should also be ignored. Do not worry about how many vertebrae an organism has, since this is not really that important.

Taxon Authority Edit

It is customary to add a reference stating the authority behind the lowest mentioned taxon, and the year in which the taxon was first described. For example, a species page needs a species authority, and a phylum page needs a phylum authority. The authority is not the person who discovered the taxon, but the person who first wrote formally about it.

For real-world taxa, consult Wikipedia for the taxon authority. For SporeWiki-only taxa, if you are the creator then you can simply enter your own username. For existing taxa which have incorrect authority listed, look at the page history, and use the earliest username (the person who wrote the article, not who created the creatures within) and year. If the name given is the name of a SporeWiki user, the name will automatically link to their user page if it exists.

Dividing or Merging Taxa Edit

As Charles Darwin stated, and is recognized widely, the difference between a species and a genus is the degree of difference between its sister taxa. This degree of difference is undefined, yet common sense tells us when it is time to divide a taxon into two sister taxa.

When dividing a taxon, do not divide it simply because it is a large taxon. Doing so would create two redundant taxa with identical definitions or criteria, which makes classification more difficult in the future.

Likewise, do not merge taxa for being small. It is not uncommon for whole families to only have one known representative, but they are separate from other taxa for a reason and should not be combined unless the differences between them are almost nonexistent. However, merging identical fictional taxa is advisable.

Naming Your Species Edit

You can name your species whatever you like. Generally, Latin and Greek words (for example, this list) and affixes are used, but this is not required. Here are a few common sources for names:

  1. Special traits unique to the species, such as a distinguishing feature or color (i.e. rhodi for a red creature, longirostris for a creature with a long beak)
  2. Personality (i.e. rex for a king, timidus for a timid creature)
  3. A person (i.e. doeii for a creature discovered by John Doe, elvispresleya for a creature named after Elvis Presley)
  4. The place of discovery (i.e. nabooii for a creature discovered on Naboo)
  5. The possibilities are endless!

It is important to note that the full species name consists of two words, e.g. Homo sapiens. The first word, the genus name (Homo), begins with a capital letter. The second word, the epithet (sapiens), must use small letters. A third word may be used to distinguish subspecies.

The epithet is a special part of a species name, because the person who created the creature, not the article, gets to choose whatever name they like. Due to the unlikelihood that this will happen, SporeWiki taxonomists often choose this name themselves; however, the creator of the creature has every right to change this epithet to whatever word they like, provided it is a single word and is acceptable on SporeWiki.

Selecting a Pre-Existing Genus Edit

In some cases, a taxonomist may choose to use a pre-existing genus when classifying a creature. Doing this is not always advised, but here are a few cases where it can and should be done:

  • The creature is stated to be related to another creature that was already classified which it bears enough resemblance to for them to at least belong in the same family, ie one made by the same person (e.g. someone makes a relative of one of their own creatures) or with permission from the creator of the other creature (e.g. the genus Caprisaurus, which is reserved for canon relatives of Cyrannian's Libertus)
  • The creature isn't stated but does appear to be closely related to another creature made by the same user
  • The creature resembles and fits into a real-world genus (e.g. an ordinary four-legged wolf would probably belong in Canis)
  • The creature is based on a specific fictional concept that has a designated genus (e.g. creatures based on the Grox go in Mechanicaos)
  • The creature perfectly matches a description that was added to a pre-existing public fictional genus (e.g. a one-armed, four-fingered theropod with Threepaw feet, "Creepy Demonics" series eyes, and a pair of venom blasters on its neck formed from a Spraybuchet and a Cornutopia belongs in Zexakus--but not if even a single trait from that list is missing)

If none of the above apply to a given creature, then making a new genus is preferred over lumping it with creatures it does not particularly resemble.

Reasons for Separation Edit

You might find two different creatures that look as though they are the same species, even subspecies. Surely there is some subtle difference between them, such as a bend in the neck or the number of horns. If they are exactly identical, which is highly improbable, it sounds like a case of either plagiarism or misidentification. One way to check for plagiarism is by using the parentage tool on the Sporepedia. Type "http://www.spore.com/rest/asset/xxxxxxx" in your browser address bar, where "xxxxxxx" is the ID number of the creature you would like to check. If a creature is original, its PARENT tag should show as NULL. Otherwise, the SporeWiki article ought to be recreated to display the parent (unless there is a significant and honest difference, such as a creation made from a template).

When to classify by morphology or text-based description Edit

As stated in How SporeWiki Taxonomy Works, the taxonomy project is ranked by morphology instead of biological relationships. Details like biochemistry and in-fiction evolutionary relationships are discarded because it would be impractical to create multiple taxonomies for every world, nor is that the intent of the project. Creatures are generally classified by their resemblance to the taxonomic description, because it is easier to make more objective decisions. This is not to be taken as a strict rule, because the taxonomy project naturally has many ambiguous creatures with features in common with many taxa. This can lead to disagreements between the taxonomists and even with the creator, particularly if the classification is partly reliant on the fictional description, or other non-morphological details like texture, fur, diet, and so-on. Because the taxonomist cannot change the creature's description, it is vital for them to extract the best out of both morphology and text for subjective decisions.

There are individual cases where the text-based description can conflict with morphology. This is typically when the creature's taxonomy is ambiguous and open to interpretation. For example:

  1. The creator intended to make a species of canine, but the creature instead resembled a member of Hyaenidae in the eyes of the taxonomist.
  2. The creator intended to place a species in a taxon, and it has all but one of the features match the taxon.
  3. The creature has a mixture of features from two similar - but not identical taxa.
  4. The creator intended to make a herbivorous Tyrannosaurus and the taxonomist wants them in a unique genus.
  5. The creator has made an almost exact replica of Smilodon and put it in Cynodontia; to make a sabre-toothed feliform therapsid justified by convergent evolution.
  6. A species of semi-aquatic drake is classified as a tortoise because it has a hard carapace, but doesn't bare much in common with them.

If none of these examples can be clearly defined in a new taxon, they should be left where the creator intended them to be unless the creator changes their mind. In case 1, the creation was simply bad and resulted in a vague similarity to a hyena, despite meaning to be a dog. In case 2, the detail (like additional horns, or lacking a claw) is not enough to dismiss what the creator actually wrote them to be, unless they change their mind. Meanwhile case 3 is a matter of preference, whether it should be left or moved is largely subjective. It can be argued that if there is a real life taxon that can be used to classify the creature, it can take priority over a fictional one. Case 4 involves diet, therefore is not morphological and should remain in Tyrannosaurus. However there may be a case for making a new genus if the herbivorous Tyrannosaurus had distinctive features along with their diet, such as longer necks for reaching branches, longer grasping claws, and plant-eating teeth. With case 5, the creator should consider that their creature cannot be defined as any other genus than Smilodon. And finally with case 6, drakes with hard shells are allowed to exist, even if it requires a new taxon.

Many cases can be solved by the saying: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. The creator and taxonomist are encouraged to carefully consider all the options. Many creatures can be left in their intended taxon if they bear enough morphological resemblance and the creator's description fits it as well. On the other hand, if the creature clearly belongs in a another taxon, the creator should be asked to have it moved.

Custom Classification Edit

If you are a creator and want to use custom classification for your fiction either in place of or alongside the wiki's taxonomy, you may do so using this template:

{{Custom Taxonomy
|domain=
|kingdom=
|phylum=
|class=
|order=
|family=
|genus=
|species=
}}

This is best used if you would like to keep your planet or fiction's taxonomy separate from the wiki's or have more biology-based relations between some of your creatures. Please note that nothing made with this template will appear on actual taxonomy pages including genera, as this would completely defeat the purpose of the template.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.