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I've got a species that can switch between orthograde/bipedal and pronograde/quadrupedal, much like the werewolves in Skyrim, but I don't know what to call that. Does it have a name?

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closed as off-topic by Renan, elemtilas, Daniel B, Mołot, Alexander von Wernherr Oct 18 '18 at 11:43

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – Renan, elemtilas, Daniel B, Alexander von Wernherr
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you looking for a real world name of such mode of locomotion, to use for species in your world? I'm not sure if I get you right. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Oct 18 '18 at 7:51
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Your creatures are facultative bipeds - so facultatively bipedal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facultative_biped

A facultative biped is an animal that is capable of walking or running on two legs, often for only a limited period, in spite of normally walking or running on four limbs or more. The switch to facultative bipedalism often occurs when an animal begins to run at high speeds, notably in many lizards, such as the basilisk lizard, and in some cockroaches. Low-speed facultative bipedality is less common; the gibbon, a primate with an anatomy highly specialized for arboreal locomotion, can walk bipedally in trees or on the ground with its arms raised for balance.

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    $\begingroup$ alternatively they would be facultative quadrupeds if they spend more time bipedal. the nature of locomotion means it is basically impossible for them to be equally good at both. $\endgroup$ – John Oct 18 '18 at 2:29
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After searching, I found a similar question on Reddit.

There are many different terms listed in that question, including:

(I looked up each word and included a definition and source where possible)

  • Ambipedal

Having two legs or feet. Source

  • Arm-legged

Could not find a definition for this

  • Dualbiquadcore

Could not find a definition for this

  • Heteropedal

Could not find a definition for this

  • Orthopedal

Could not find a definition for this

In conclusion, it seems that there is no currently existing vocabulary for this. You could probably use one of these, or make up a word if you want. I also saw several unanswered duplicates of the same question on Reddit, so if you find a term, have fun answering all of those.

You might also be interested in this WB question which explores whether bi-quad-pedals (or whatever the term is) can exist.

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  • $\begingroup$ I started out with looking up Ambipedal and I found a definition right away. I had hope that most of the others would be real words too. Hence all of the "Could not find a definition" $\endgroup$ – John Locke Oct 18 '18 at 1:35

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