Turbovores are a primary predator in Reaville, much like wolves in Europe, living in a wide variety of environments. Also like wolves, they're apex predators that live and hunt in packs, but they more closely resemble dromeaosaurs (think movie Velociraptors and that should give you a pretty good idea).

Turbovores, however, are not dinosaurs-they've evolved from synapsids, the reptilian lineage that predated mammals. I chose synapsids because I want Turbovores to have reptilian and mammalian traits, like mammalian blood (for more efficient oxygen transfer) and pump-action lungs (more efficient than mammal lungs, which retain a large portion of oxygen-starved air), along with obvious inclusions like a mammal's energy levels and a reptile's ability to go dormant.

My question is whether it is possible for Turbovores to develop traits present in reptiles or mammals as they evolve from primitive synapsids. I understand this requires one to know what traits I want Turbovores to develop, so I will have that below.

Desired Traits:

  1. Scales-I originally envisioned Turbovores as being smooth and green-reptiles, not mammals, are the way to go there
  2. Activity-The concept of Turbovores is that of rather active creatures, much like us humans, and that's a mammal thing not a reptile thing.
  3. Physiology-As I've already stated above, Turbovores resemble dromaeosaurs and have pump-action lungs, so they're rather reptilian beings. However, I want them to have mammalian blood, capacity for active behavior, and ability to regulate their own body temperature. Basically a blend of reptile and mammal here.

As a final note, yes, I know having them be evolved from dinosaurs would be a much easier way to go about things, but I'd rather go the more exotic route if it's possible and/or plausible. If this question needs improving, though, or if the premise needs work, I appreciate your feedback.

  • $\begingroup$ You do know that there are many mammals which have scales, right? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 5, 2022 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP: WHAT?! I legitimately had no idea, thanks for enlightening me! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 5, 2022 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ Armadillos. Pangolins. Mice. Marsupial musky rat kangaroos. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 5, 2022 at 2:28
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP: thanks! Now I'm really embarrassed; I know about pangolins, and yet I didn't think of them.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 5, 2022 at 2:39
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    $\begingroup$ I was cheating a little with the pangolins. Their scales are not homologous with the scales of reptiles, they are novel development. (But then the scales of reptiles are not homologous with the scales of their fishy ancestors, either.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 5, 2022 at 2:45

2 Answers 2


You basically want a bird with scales on its entire body.

Let's look at the things you want really quickly:

  • look like dromeosaurids.

Birds are still dinosaurs, and before they underwent a number of adaptations in favor of flight, they actually had clawed hands, longer tails and teeth much like the dromeosaurids you mention. Also here's the foot of a cassowary in case you fear that they can't have murder claws in their feet:

enter image description here

  • are active creatures.

Again check. You don't become capable of flight by needing to bask in the sun every time you need a higher metabolic rate. Birds, like mammals, are active, warm blooded creatures.

  • have efficient blood transfer, the ability to regulate their body temperature and pump-action lungs.

Check, check and... I do not know what you mean by pump-action lungs, but if by that you mean very efficient lungs with an uni-directional flow that allows for oxygen absorption both while breathing in and while breathing out, birds also have that. The fact birds can fly (a very energy demanding task that requires proper oxigenation of tissues) and that a lung structure like theirs was seemingly present in 2 of the 3 types of vertebrate to ever achieve powered flight (obviously not accounting humans, because by nature standards we're like a speedrunner exploiting glitches to do things they normally shouldn't be able to) is pretty decent evidence that it's very efficient. The fact you can also find bird species in both extremely hot and dry deserts and in arctic regions show that they can definitely keep their own temperature in check.

  • a mammal's energy levels and a reptile's ability to go dormant.

This is a bit of a tricky thing. Birds are just as active as mammals and some birds can actually enter a state similar to hibernation, called torpor, in which they reduce their metabolism, causing their body temperature to drop and allowing them to save energy in harsher conditions. It's not a seasonally locked thing and can actually be done whenever they need it (as a matter of fact, hummingbirds do this every night, because otherwise they'd die of starvation by the start of the next day, given their extremely high metabolism). It's not however like active hibernation, not lasting nearly as much for most species, and the ones that do somewhat hibernate only do it when conditions are favorable, sometimes not hibernating at all.

  • have scales, being smooth and green.

This is the main deal-breaker here. Birds do have scales, in their feet, but they're certainly not covered in them, and in fact, neither were the majority of dromeosaurids as far as we're aware. Scales are great protection (especially in the case of osteoderms like seen in crocodiles), but feathers, while not equally as great for protecting the bird against impacts, are great for keeping them warm, with their absence being related to warmer environments and larger theropods. In fact, as far as we're aware, synapsids did not have reptile scales, but rather pseudoscales that some had on their bellies (and we lack fossil information about how the rest of their body looked like, but slightly more recent synapsid species seemed to have had smooth, scale-less skin)

As of now, it seems like you want something that's almost exactly like birds, or rather their ancestors, but that never made the transition from scales to feathers. However, since they're not going to fly, it might be a bit more possible (pterosaurs actually had coverings called pycnofibers, hair like structures which likely helped them stay warm and active in order to fly, potentially allowing some of them to survive in very cold regions).

Assuming everything went just right in terms of mutations and that identical pressures would result in identical or at least very similar traits, your synapsids would basically need to follow an evolutionary path extremely similar to that of theropods and birds, all while either keeping their pseudoscales (assuming they were fully covered in them) or by completely loosing them, evolving hair like modern mammals and then converting it into scales throughout this trajectory.

Essentially, your turbovores' skin would probably look like a larger, more fearsome version of a pangolin, potentially also having scales with sharp back edges.

enter image description here

Either that or they'd potentially have a body entirely covered with a light hair covering and scales like what we find in a rat's tail.

enter image description here

Do note though: scales are a very poor thing when it comes to keeping yourself from freezing. If you want them to live in various regions of your world, you'll need them to rely on methods other than hair and feathers to survive in colder regions. If they truly follow the path of mammals, expect turbovores adapted to cold regions to have a thick layer of blubber underneath their skin.

  • $\begingroup$ Would scales work in forests and fields? Or would such environments be too cold for a scaled Turbovore? That's really all I need to know, because that's really the only places I've visualized them in. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 7, 2022 at 3:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias it'll depend a lot on the temperature of said forests and fields. If you want your turbovores to be hunting another creature in a snowy forest during a cold winter, you'll need to either have them protected by a fatty layer or by giving them thicker fur (the method wolves use to keep themselves warm), depending on what they end up like. Giant pangolins for example are known to have problems with thermoregulation because of their lower metabolism (despite being homeothermic) and lack of body hair. Armadillos seem to have similar problems with thermoregulation. $\endgroup$ Jan 7, 2022 at 11:02
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, thanks for your help! I've recently realized Turbovore and Flayt are likely related, so your answer is the best fit I have here! I also always appreciate your thorough and thoughtful answers, so thanks for that too! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Jan 7, 2022 at 22:11

I want Turbovores to have reptilian and mammalian traits, like mammalian blood (for more efficient oxygen transfer) and pump-action lungs (more efficient than mammal lungs, which retain a large portion of oxygen-starved air), along with obvious inclusions like a mammal's energy levels and a reptile's ability to go dormant.

Named after their favourite snacks, I presume.

Now, I'd say that birds fitted most of your requirements there (ever heard of phorusracids, aka. terror birds?) but I guess you want proto-boobs so sensible archosaurian predators are out of the question.

Reptilian dormancy is a way of dealing with being ectothermic and living in places which aren't always nice and warm. You want something energetic and mammalian and the ability to regulate their own body temperature, which is clearly endothermic. Endotherms do of course hibernate, though there are biochemical differences between the two processes, it probably doesn't matter very much to you.

much like wolves in Europe, living in a wide variety of environments


Scales-I originally envisioned Turbovores as being smooth and green-reptiles, not mammals, are the way to go there

Some synapsids appear to have scutes or osteoderms, and modern things like armadillos and pangolins show some ways these can evolve. Those are primarily defensive though. Rat tails have little scales, showing another way it could go, so it would appear that keratin can get you the sorts of structures you need. Green colouring if obviously something absent from modern descendants of synapsids, but there's nothing intrinsically implausible or unrealistic about your beasties having a green pigmentation.

Here's the problem though... fur (or feathers) are lovely warm things. Scales? Not so much. There's a tension between wanting scales (which aren't necessarily dinosaur like, given discoveries of fossil feathers...) and being able to live in all the different environmental niches that wolves and other colors and flavors of canid do. You can of course be insulated from the cold with stuff like blubber but, uh, I'm not sure that round squidgy predators are that sensible on land (there's no water to hold up the weight of all the pudge). I doubt chibiraptors are going to strike much fear into people, but maybe you could make them into some sort of scaly drop bear analog which hides in the trees of the taiga, and uses its own natural insulation in combination with a butt reinforced with bony plates as a weapon to crush their prey?

Maybe its easier (or at least, less silly) to just have the scaled variants live in warmer climes, and leave the chilly climates to furred and feathered species.


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