I already made this question Naga evolution based on varanids related with the viability of varanid nagas. Any ways here I let the most relevant part from that question to explain my reasonement.

Varanids currently are very good swimmers using anguilliform or serpentine moves to swim this might cause the reduction of the hind limbs by adapting to aquatic environments. And varanids are closely related with snakes and mosasaurids.

This could have explained the presence of a large snake-like body.

Then, to explain the humanoid part of the body. Many varanids are arboreal too, some species just during their young and others during their entire live, this life style eventually might evolve hands to improve the arboreal locomotion, at the same time getting more complex shoulders and expanding freedom of movement of the arms, improving the object manipulation, maybe with some time would change some aspects of the rib cage.

Varanid species are very intelligent too, they know how to count and have one the highest energy and more active lifestyles in reptiles and with a four chambered heart, this would permit the energetic requisites of turn to a sapient specie.

This all is because I want to make some "realistic" Naga species evolved in a natural way without genetic engineering and the options from the question "anatomically correct naga" didn't convince me.

But the problems appears in the adaptive part, there are varanids more adapted to the arboreal life, others to digging or run, others to swim, but none is simultaneously such good for the mentioned life styles and this might cause that none could get a combination of the mentioned adaptations and abilities.

I meaning, I think the most probable case for the evolution of a varanid is to get just one set of the mentioned features generating different species to due the niche partition.

So the question is which would a propitious enviroment for impulse a species to get the mentioned naga features and avoid to evolve in different species?

  • $\begingroup$ "Propicial"? I'm not aware of the meaning. Do you mean tropical, proper, ideal...? Might be worth running a spell check over the rest of the question too. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2021 at 6:06
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    $\begingroup$ "Propitious enviroment for impulse a specie": The word specie means cash money with intrinsic value, usually silver or gold. Should it be species? (The singular and the plural are written the same, but the pronuntiation may be different -- some people differentiate singular /ˈspiːʃɪz/ from plural /ˈspiːʃiːz/.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Aug 24, 2021 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ I'll be honest with you, I hate these kinds of questions because the OP can almost never articulate what they're really looking for (what does "environment" mean to you, Drakio-X?). Humanity is barely scratching the surface when it comes to genetics and evolution and we have only one data point to work with when it comes to sapience: humanity. We know what conditions allowed the monitor lizard to evolve to where it is. So, what does the monitor lizard today need to evolve sapience? Time, problems to overcome, and no overwhelming competition. Any other answer is a meaningless guess. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 24, 2021 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JoinJBHonCodidact . I thought that to use the tags "enviroment" and "ecology" might indicate what the questions is refering and the question not at all says "what does the monitor lizard today need to evolve sapience?", the question tried to present the current varanid features and in which enviroment those features already evolved, the main problem of the question is to think about a propitious or conducive enviroment in which all the described features could evolve together to get the mentioned fictional race. $\endgroup$
    – Drakio-X
    Aug 24, 2021 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Drakio-X Please don't misunderstand me. We have very little idea why humanity evolved sapience. Explaining what environmental factors would allow another creature to do so is a blooming guess. What factors would cause the lizards to stand up, so that the front legs can become manipulative arms? What factors would cause them to start developing tools, which would favor intelligence? IMO questions like this are worthless. Look at how humanity developed and have your lizards to the very same thing - it's the only data point we have and no worse guess than any other. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 25, 2021 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


This reminds me of one of my favorites: Avian Crocodylomorph

The avian crocodylomorph could fly. But you ask for less! You just want a swimming varanid with prehensile forelimbs.

The big ones swim and are basically mosasaurs. They are quite big.

But when they are young they live in mangrove swamps where they are not exposed to big predators that snap them up. The small young ones are semiarboreal and leave the water to clamber around in the trees, escaping crocodilian predators. And while they are up there, eating crabs and birds! The juveniles are smarter than the adults, because the complex ecosystem of the mangroves favors intelligence.

The lineage that gives rise to your sentients is from a neoteny event. If they grow up and get big go out to sea it is a hard world, because there is competition out there from things that are faster and fiercer. The mangroves are good to these lizards. The slower they grow up the better they do, until some can reach reproductive maturity but stay the size of juveniles.

There is your naga - a swamp varanid with a long swimming tail but forelimbs adapted for the trees.

  • $\begingroup$ A mangroves sounds pretty reasonable, thanks, good answer. $\endgroup$
    – Drakio-X
    Aug 26, 2021 at 4:07

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