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Recently, I’ve grown curious about this lizard men folklore, which revolves around lizard like beings that have the frame work of humanoids. Now this got me thinking of a more human like reptile species for a short story I wanted to create.

On Earth, there are vast ecosystems, deep oceans, lakes and ponds, and a wide variety of caves. However, humanity one day finds a cave that is hidden within a not so dense jungle that sports many rivers. In this cave, humanity encounters lizard people.

Appearance and behavior

The appearance of these lizard people is strikingly similar to ours, but the color of their skin and hair seems to pure white in color while also having irises that are reddish pink. They sport a a tail that is 1 meter long and the average height of the lizard people seemingly reaches that of 151 centimeters. They possess a semi long tongue and when in old age, their hands, feet, and tip of their tail will turn red or blood red.

The behavior of the lizard people resembles that of common lizards, but will also act like primitive man. their diet consists of plants, meat, and insects and have been seen to sometimes mix and crush them together so that they can eat them in one sitting.

Intelligence

The lizard people are seen to be actually quite passive and show a child like curiosity. When being taught modern day math, science and etc, they seemingly are capable of understanding it, but takes far longer than the modern day human would, but nonetheless, are still capable of understanding it. The lizard people speak in hisses, it will also communicate like monkeys and apes, but, when being taught modern day English, they have shown to be capable of speaking it, but with major limitations, and is thought to just be a mimicry of sound, much like parrots.

Writing isn’t easy for them, but have shown to be capable of at least, (with enough time), can form perfect English sentences, much like a modern human can.

Extra facts

A rare mutation affecting a lizard person will cause them to form a gray tint-translucent layer of skin instead of the white skin, this Makes veins, muscles, and even organs visible, this makes the lizard persons skin extremely weak and vulnerable to injuries. It is thought that the the longer the tail is, the more likely the male lizard person will be able to mate, but it’s also thought to be used to also swing from tree to tree when on the hunt for food. They are capable of regenerating a limb but it usually take a year or 2 to fully finish. Lastly, a recent conversation with a group of the lizard people suggests that they are a very distant ancestor to humanity, and have evolved lizard like characteristics through evolutionary pressures.

could such a species be feasible and what evolutionary pressures would lead to the creation of these lizard people

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There is a strong evolutionary argument that the Caucasian humans evolved from their African counterparts in Europe due to the fact that the lower levels of light, particularly during Winter, meant that the malanin in the skin was actually a hindrance and that by removing it there were less issues with Vitamin D along with other factors.

I can see no reason why the same would not be true of reptiles, especially if they live in caves already and therefore get little light. If these lizard people are indeed distant relatives of humans (and there are some reasons why that might NOT to be the case that we'll discuss later) then the existence of Caucasians pretty much proves that your white lizards could exist, and are likely to for the same reasons. Their presence in a cave makes up the bulk of the proof that they are a race that dwells in low light conditions so it is only expected that their skin is going to adapt to absorbing as much of the available light as possible for their own purposes, and even their eyes are going to end up blue or grey for the same reason.

If you want to go the whole way to an albino stock of reptiles, you can. As the provided link shows, there are some reptiles that are already albino, and others that are close enough to be mistaken for it on Earth today.

Of more concern is their genetic heritage. As I see it, there are two options;

1) They could be descended from man, but why grow the tail?
2) They could be descended from lizards, but why grow the brain?

Cave dwellers descended from man are NOT going to grow a tail. There's no point as caves are not like trees in that they don't have lots of branches from which a prehensile tail can draw mobility advantages. Humans lost their tails once they came out of the trees as nature rewards efficiency and therefore the pouring of resources into more useful elements of the anatomy meant humans were more likely to survive.

The trouble is, that the brain is both more and less problematic if the lizard folk are from reptilian stock. The brain is at least already there in a lizard, but it needs a lot of development and in a cave I'm not seeing a compelling reason to do that. For a start, a human brain takes up to 25% of the body's energy resources to run - nature is never going to permit that unless there is a compelling advantage that comes with that kind of biological infrastructure. It was developed once in humans under very specific circumstances and allowed humans to have mastery over their environment in a way that other creatures had not experienced in the past, but in a cave there is little for that brain power to do to make it worth the extra energy cost.

So your choice boils down to trying to invent a cave model that makes a tail advantageous, or invent a danger in the cave that can only be circumvented via intelligence and strategy. The whiteness however is actually the easy part, in that either way living in a cave is going to result in lower levels of melanin in the dermal layers.

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  • $\begingroup$ Assuming that "Caucasian" is the American word for what we call "Europoid" aka "white people": I had no idea that there was a strong evolutionary pressure favoring Europoids over sub-Saharan Africans in Morocco, or Algeria, or Egypt, or Arabia... What is the environmental factor in Arabia which so strongly favors Europoids over sub-Saharan Africans? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 7 at 10:17
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Reptilian features + Bipedalism + Endothermic = Dinosaur

Squamates walk with legs that are sprawled out, while having legs directly under the hips is a prerequisite for a humanoid stance. The human body plan is also designed to radiate heat away from the body as is necessary for a mammal in the African savanna that ran long distance. A cold blooded animal would not have this upright stance. Therefore the Lizard Men must be warm blooded. So your Lizard Men obviously can’t be descended from normal lizards, so that makes them...Dinosaurs! It’s not as absurd as it sounds. Dinosaurs are still with us in the form of birds, but your lizard men have simply been shaped by the eons to be quiet different.

They Started Small

The KT extinction was absolutely brutal for life on earth, it’s been said that no land animal larger than 5 kilograms survived the impact winter, but your distant lizard man ancestors survived just like the primitive birds and mammals did, by being small. The proto lizardmen were originally a burrowing raptor, but over time they were outcompeted by mammals, so they turned to the trees. The flying niches were being filled by birds and proto bats, but the proto lizardmen thrived in the canopy. They had large brains due to their raptor ancestry, and they continued to be hunters amidst the tree tops.

Back to the Earth

Climate change destroyed much of their forest home millions of years ago, and they were forced to contend with open grassland. They gained a human like posture and a lack of feathers due to the needs of distance running on the grasslands. Their tail remained as part of display for sexual selection and as fat storage, but it was shortened relative to their height.

Catastrophe

Again the climate changed, and jungles rose up again. It was hard for the Lizardmen to adapt, and their population hit a bottleneck. This gave them their white color scheme due to the founder effect. Things only got worse a little later, for another bottle neck and serious inbreeding occurred, causing the translucent skin disease.

Brothers to Man

The Lizardmen had a common ancestor with humans...in the Permian. The Lizardmen do not hold the same scientific knowledge that humans do, and they have different values than us. One of them is what constitutes relationships. To the Lizardmen, because humans are sentient and bipedal, and have given them knowledge and attention that truly makes them family.

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