15 August 2014

Classification and Taxonomy of Life

I've been working on the taxonomy of life in Elyden, spending more time coming up with hierarchies than I have actually writing things down. I spent most of yesterday working on the below diagram, showing the creation and subsequent evolution of life in Elyden. It's a mix of creationism and standard evolution, and is a  happy balance that we on Earth find difficult to achieve (of course the in-world verity of this classification is unknown, but it's what people believe at the point in which the encyclopaedia was penned).

Here's an excerpt from the introduction to the section titled 'Classification and Taxonomy of Life':

Life in Elyden is the result of over a billion (1,000,000,000) years change; some conscious and contrived (such as the creation of the Demiurges, or their own creation of most life), and some left to chance and the slow march of time (the slow evolution of moirtal life when left to its own devices). Elyden has ever been the malleable clay atop a great potter’s wheel, and the Demiurges of old were her first craftsmen, lovingly moulding her into shapes that pleased them. Amongst those shapes were the first primordial creatures from which all present life later appeared. Some beings remain in the form first given to them by the Demiurges, walking in skins that are differ little to those of their ancestors millennia past. Others were more mutable and have slowly evolved into the countless differing forms that walk and grow across her skin, glide over her head, and swim through her blood. The Atramenta and Firmament have both played their role in this great act of Shaping, bringing a diversity that aloine could not have been possible.
The diversity of life has always fascinated the mortal tribes. who since their first days observing the world have looked upon the myriad creatures and plants and wondered how they appeared or what forces were responsible for their present shapes. Similarities between creatures gave away the first clues and the rest was a slow process of best-guessing with whatever resources were available at the time. The true breakthrough came in 2993 RM, where the Nártheli polymath and noted genious Suziv first proposed his system of nomenclature. Though it was initially met with criticism, it slowly gained popularity and as scientific advances proved his theories and allowed its system of classification to be fine-tuned, the system was standardised in 3254 RM.
Before trying to classify life one must first ask and understand the fundamental question – what is life? Is it the ability to grow and respond to stimuli, or the ability to reproduce? Is it self-awareness, or an existence that is bounded within the Material Realm? Biologists are concerned with these questions and through the work of Suziv and his descendants we now classify life in five distinct categories, known as the Suzivian Taxonomy – Reghon Arratus (the Created), Reghon Haghorin (Fauna), Reghon Applosae (Flora), Reghon Spungae (Fungi) and Reghon Sulnathin (the Otherborn). There is a degree of overlap and conflict between the Suzivian Taxonomy and passages from the Mythologia Elyden, though it is now understood that the latter is a largely apocryphal text, likely corrupted through millennia of trascriptions and re-interpretations.

A Taxonomical Hierarchy of Life

No comments:

Post a Comment