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So, when it comes to humanoid races, this has been a problem for me for quite some time. Sure, mammals (werewolves, gnolls, minotaurs, centaurs) are a no-brainer. I even decided to give tengu something. Though fairly small and don't have to be censored, as they are just two round sacs that produce and store milk, which is regurgitated (read vomited) straight into the beaks of tengu hatchlings by default. Yes, I'm gonna work on that later, but not now.

However, I won't lizard boobs, just no! The reasons are a bit complicated. I don't want to blame it all on Bethesda, but Skyrim certainly didn't help. Also, stop saying that argonians look ugly, it's only because the devs went for the "everything is so bleak and gray I'm surprised players didn't kill themselves after subjecting their eyes to this audio-visual terror with space-time anomalies sprinkled in for five minutes" design. I mean, where are all the toilets and my Dagoth Ur anyway?

But, what are my lizardfolk exactly? Well, there are three subspecies, two of which are fairly humanoid:

  • Crocodile Folk: The largest, strongest, slightly less-bright. They have very strong jaws and a soft-spot for watermelons and wrestling, with a suitable endomorph body type.

  • Asian Water Monitor Folk: The most intelligent, quirky, and "balanced" of the three. They actually have venom, even if it's fairly unimpressive. Their build is mesomorph.

  • Legless Lizardfolk: Also called serpent men, incorrectly, but simply looking at the shape of their heads (plus that they can blink) should tell you that. They love to climb various pillars and hang from piping and branches. Thanks to their size, they can break an adult human's ribs via constriction, just like vipers (see pic related) in Xcom 2. No, they don't have "venom glands". Upper-body is of the ectomorph type.
    enter image description here

Okay, back to the task at hand. What visual feature would allow for the quick identification of a lizardfolk's sex? The inspirations for these three have very little sexual dimorphism and I want to stick to the original design principles where possible. I did remove the double trouble for males as they and their partners shouldn't have problems repositioning with their body plan. Other than that, I want to avoid changing stuff.

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    $\begingroup$ Facial cues: -presence or nonpresence of fangs/ canine-like teeth. -presence or non-presence of horn-like crests projecting (eg.) from eyebrows. -size of eyes relative to face. -size of jaw relative to face. Body cues: -relative size of appendages/head/torso. -skin/scale coloration. -presence or nonpresence of frills/wattles $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    May 21, 2020 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ Many insects feed a modified form of sperm to females after mating, it is a gift so the female can better take care of the eggs. Your lizard males could have fat detachable tails they could gift to the female, where the female might have thinier tails which can't be detached. $\endgroup$
    – user75689
    May 22, 2020 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ And, yeah it would work for the legless lizardfolk too... There are legless lizards in real life, and they are different from snakes. But they can also detach their tails. They are just really long lizards without legs. $\endgroup$
    – user75689
    May 22, 2020 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ Crocodiles aren't lizards $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2021 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ Harry Harrison's West of Eden did it well; the human couldn't tell until it was pointed out to him. And then it was more by social cues rather than physical. (dress, attitude, social position) $\endgroup$
    – Allan
    Aug 15, 2021 at 15:45

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Most female reptiles lack secondary sexual dimorphic features in general. It is often very difficult to sex reptiles in captivity without physically checking their cloaca, and a lot of times individuals will be just assumed to be male or female based on overall size or other features. In the vast majority of reptiles there are no obvious differences between the sexes other than their reproductive organs, which are usually housed internally most of the time.

In general, in most animals it is the males that are more brightly colored, "ostentatious", and are generally the ones who have "extra" external features (i.e., the dewlaps of Anolis, the large crests of Basiliscus, and the ghara of Gavialis, all of which are only in males). Humans are kind of oddballs among animals in that in humans it is the female that has exaggerated secondary sexual features (enlarged breasts, a more distinct sillhouete due to narrower shoulders and wider hips, long hair in many cultures) and the male is more boring and drab looking.

So honestly your female lizardfolk are probably going to be pretty boring-looking, and it is the males that will have weird extra features, if any.

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    $\begingroup$ "Humans are kind of oddballs among animals ... the male is more boring and drab looking." - My beard objects strongly to this assessment ;) $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    May 22, 2020 at 0:03
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    $\begingroup$ Bright vs. dull coloration was exactly what I was going to say. This works. If you want something else and/or something less overt, the addition of horns or frills or the like would also work. $\endgroup$
    – Matthew
    May 22, 2020 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ Humans are the oddballs due to their social structure. Women apparently used to get enlarged breasts only when they became fertile. When fertile they would get more attention from men, meaning more food and social support for them to survive. So a genetic fault that caused their breasts to be large all the time meant men could no longer select fertile women, and have to stick by them for sex for longer periods to ensure she carried their child. This extra support meant they survived longer and got more healthy children. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Aug 15, 2021 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Demigan do you have evidence for that? or are you repeating the unsupported claims of evolutionist "scientists"? $\endgroup$
    – Firestryke
    Aug 15, 2021 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Firestryke sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0162309583900316 naturally nothing is completely definitive in evolutional theory if you have no bones or other species to compare evolutionary developments with for your particular feature. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Aug 16, 2021 at 8:08
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Bow

enter image description here

Figure 1: two snake people. The one on the left is the boy snake. The one on the right is the girl snake. Can you see the difference?

It's the bow you see -- the girl snake has a bow in her hair.

Wait, snakes don't have hair. . . .

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The males and females could have traits of different species (i.e. male legless look like snakes, female legless look like geckos). They are already diverse, so this should fit into the design

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They Smell Different

Lizards are hard to sex just by looking at them. This is even true if you are a lizard yourself. Instead they rely on other senses such as smell to tell what genitals the other lizard has.

Now humans have generally worse senses than other animals. So it's believable that as your lizards turned into lizard people, their senses dwindled too. That means to compensate the smelly man/woman lizard smell had to get stronger.

It eventually got strong enough that humans could smell the smelly man/woman smell.

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Yeah, this presents a bit of a problem. Fortunately, it's one that can be fixed by having them borrow one particular trait from other species;

BRIGHT COLORATION

Basically, you make one gender of the lizardfolk in the story have bright plumage and a frill that can open up on que. In the distant past, this served 2 evolutionary purposes; to attract a mate, and to intimidate potential threats into backing down. Naturally, modern lizardfolk don't really have as much of a need for either, but that hasn't stopped those things from sticking around.

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  • $\begingroup$ Usually it is the male animal that has the big bright plumage. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 31, 2022 at 17:22

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