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In my world, there are sixteen human species (mammalian species from the Homo genus):

  1. Anatomically modern humans (no explanation is necessary);
  2. Marine humans/Merfolk (they have a seal-like blubber, they have a pangolin-like skin, they have webbed digits, they are as massive as belugas, they are obligate omnivores like brown rats, they are as solitary as blue whales, females are larger than males with a basking-shark sexual dimorphism, and they are negligibly senescent like Greenland sharks) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is New York Harbor, United States of America);
  3. Winged humans/Angels (they have hands that look like bat-like wings, they are omnivores with herbivorous tendencies like gorillas, they are as large as wandering albatrosses, they are as social as cheetahs, females are larger than males with a tarantula-like sexual dimorphism, and they are negligibly senescent like giant tortoises);
  4. Horned humans/Demons (they have goat-like horns, they are omnivores with carnivorous tendencies like raccoons, they are as eusocial as termites, weighting a metric tonne, the queen is always the largest individual in a given colony, and at the opposite, workers are the smallest, they only weigh a kilogram, most are intersexes, except naturally the queen, the king, the princes, and the princesses, and they are negligibly senescent like naked mole-rats);
  5. Magic humans/Wizards (males, females, and intersexes all have facial hair, they are obligate omnivores, they have epicanthic folds, and females are larger than males with a housefly-sexual dimorphism) (the place of Earth that can be called their cradle is Cameroon);
  6. Arboreal humans/Elves (they cannot grow facial hair, they are omnivores with herbivorous tendencies, males are larger than females with an Asian elephant-like sexual dimorphism, they have pointy ears, and they are negligibly senescent) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is the United Kingdom, Scotland to be exact);
  7. Trolls (they are obligate omnivores, they are as social as goldfish, they are as large as the heaviest dog breed, they have pointy ears and epicanthic folds, and males are larger than females with a lion-like sexual dimorphism) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is Scandinavia, Mainland Denmark to be exact);
  8. Gnomes (they are as small as domestic cats, they are omnivores with herbivorous tendencies, they have pointy ears and epicanthic folds, and males are larger than females with a pigeon-like sexual dimorphism) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is Jersey, United Kingdom);
  9. Ogres (they have a seal-like blubber, they are as tall as the average real life NBA player, and as heavy as adult male gorillas, they are obligate omnivores, they have epicanthic folds, they are as solitary as orangutans, and females are larger than males with a great white shark-like sexual dimorphism, and the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is French Antilles, Fifth French Republic);
  10. Giants (they have a seal-like blubber, they are as massive as polar bears, they are omnivores with herbivorous tendencies, they are as solitary as orangutans, and females are larger than males with an American bullfrog-like sexual dimorphism, and the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is Northern California, United States of America);
  11. Halflings (they are obligate omnivores, they are as large as the largest domestic rabbit breed, they are as social as pygmy chimpanzees/bonobos, they have pointy ears and epicanthic folds, and males are larger than females with a pheasant-like sexual dimorphism) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland);
  12. Dwarfs (they are omnivores with carnivorous tendencies, they are as social as house mice, and males are larger than females with a dog-like dimorphism) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is Zürich, Switzerland);
  13. Hematophagous humans/Vampires (they are as small as common chimpanzees, they are omnivores with carnivorous tendencies, females are larger than males with a peregrine falcon-like dimorphism, they have pointy ears, and they are negligibly senescent) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is Ukraine);
  14. Furry humans/Therianthropes (they are as small as orangutans and as heavy as common chimpanzees, they have a gorilla-like fur, they are omnivores with carnivorous tendencies, they are as solitary as bears, they have pointy ears, and females are larger than males with a spotted hyena-like dimorphism) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is Russia, Siberia to be exact);
  15. Goblins (they are omnivores with herbivorous tendencies like squirrels, they have pointy ears, and males are larger than females with a horse-like dimorphism) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is Germany, Westphalia to be exact);
  16. Orcs (they are as large as American black bears, they are omnivores with carnivorous tendencies like ravens, they have pointy ears and epicanthic folds, and males are larger than females with a mandrill-like dimorphism) (the place on Earth that can be called their cradle is Mongolia).

Also, all these species can reproduce with each other, and the resulting offspring is sub-fertile (meaning that they can reproduce themselves, but they have a lower fertility than their parent species: females are more likely to have endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome, and males are more likely to get oligospermia, and teratospermia). That said, hybrids between anatomically modern humans and wizards are extremely common (the same can be said to hybrids between ogres and giants, and to hybrids between dwarfs and halflings), but hybrids between vampires and giants are relatively rare (the same thing can be said to hybrids between demons and halflings).

Given these characteristics, what would their common phylogenetic tree look like, and what non-magical factors would drive the evolution of such varying human species?

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh! Time for phylogenetic bingo. I need "molecular clock", "convergent evolution", and "it depends." $\endgroup$
    – PipperChip
    Mar 29 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ I would also be ok with "island dwarfism", "island gigantism", and "jury is still out". $\endgroup$
    – PipperChip
    Mar 29 at 22:57
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    $\begingroup$ You will be happy to know my answer does not change, even if the Society Islands are renamed the French Antilles. Phew! $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Apr 20 at 13:37

2 Answers 2

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Make trees for individual genes.

With so many opportunities for cross-breeding, an overall branching tree of the species seems like a very poor approximation. However, for any given gene of interest (or at least a part of a gene, if there are interesting recombinants in the population), you ought to be able to plot out (at least conceptually) a valid adaptive radiation that looks like something Linnaeus might have drawn. (At least, provided the wizards haven't hexed most of the people so they transcribe somebody else's genetic code, and the vampires don't transmit their unique package of genetic assets like a virus, etc. Modern genetics is contingent on the facts and circumstances that made it possible to research it.)

It's your story and the odds of you using a taxonomy I might draw are low, but to give an example, one of your "magic" genes might encode a tiny pentagram of alpha helices that resonates with the extraterrestrial signal coded in the dark matter aura of the Inner Betelgeuse Dyson Construct. Perhaps sequence from a cholera formate channel transposed to the genome of a prototype elf-wizard ancestor, and you can track them through your demons and angels and such.

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Edit: You will be happy to know my answer does not change, even if the Society Islands are renamed the French Antilles. Phew!

Stuff like "social as cheetahs", "housefly-like sexual dimorphism" or the difference between Greenland shark or giant tortoise senescence is bewildering to me. So I will ignore that part.

Here is your phylogenetic tree my dude.

enter image description here

Some notes:

You might suspect Wizards are an offshoot of modern humans. This is untrue. Wizards are a super early offshoot of the common ancestor. They are shapeshifters and this is part of the confusion.

Angels, Demons, Vampires and Furry Guys were magically created as a joke by the Wizards. We know Demons were made out of dwarfs, due to their shared burrowing habits. But they are not telling about the other three.

Mermaids, Ogres, and Giants have a common aquatic ancestor. The so called Wet Guys. That is why Ogres and Giants have seal-like blubber. The Land Wet Guy is a Wet Guy that crawled back onto land and eventually split into Ogres and Giants.

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe Therianthropes/Furry humans were made out of Halflings, Vampires were made out of Goblins, and Angels were made out of Gnomes? $\endgroup$ Mar 13 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ I presume dwarfs are small and demons are also small, at least the drones are. But aren't the Furry Humans much bigger than Halflings and Vampires much bigger than goblins? $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Mar 13 at 23:48

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