A human-like creature that doesn't have gender, can not procreate, and was engineered by humans.

My story is stuck with a creature that is not possible in real life; I just went from science fiction to fantasy, but I would still like it to have a scientifically "accurate" name.

What would the scientific community name it?

  • $\begingroup$ You could name something anything you want. However, I will note that there is a long tradition of not granting "species" status to anything which cannot procreate. I would not expect the scientific community to treat your creature any differently without extenuating circumstances. Such circumstances would also markedly affect the naming choices. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ engineered from what? becasue we would likely keep the original species name and just make them a subspecies becasue they cannot reproduce. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 19:36

6 Answers 6


If the creatures were engineered from humans, it might make sense to keep them in the genus Homo, or even within the species Homo sapiens. (Neandertals, for instance, are considered a subspecies: Homo sapiens neandertalensis.) So the name would fit the pattern Homo _____ or Homo sapiens _____.

In general, scientific names are given based on either the existing Latin name for the organism (like Canis lupus) or something that makes the organism unique. (Or a person's name with -i attached, but that's a cop-out in a worldbuilding question.)

Divus and angelus are good words, but they have a very religious connotation. Now, if these creatures were engineered specifically to be angelic, that might be fitting. But your scientists might prefer a more secular-sounding name. And if people in your world consider genetic engineering too close to "playing God" already, announcing that you have created "angels" is not going to help your reputation.

If your angels have wings, I would suggest volucer (Latin for "winged"), since that would be a very distinctive feature shared by no other hominid.

If they don't, their inability to reproduce is mentioned specifically in the question. If this is their most distinguishing feature, you could go with the fairly mundane sterilis (Latin for "sterile"), or the slightly edgier factus ("created").

My personal favorite of these is Homo volucer: scientific-sounding without being too obvious in its meaning, and in-universe the biologists could justify it easily (since they're clearly the only hominids with wings).

  • $\begingroup$ this was very helpful, my scientists do prefer a secular-sounding name since there is no religion on my world and Homo volucer is just the best name. $\endgroup$
    – Spartacus9
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 7:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "And if people in your world consider genetic engineering too close to "playing God" already, announcing that you have created "angels" is not going to help your reputation." - This single sentence made my day. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ My personal choice would be to roll them all together, but replace sterile with neuter if these creatures are sexless rather than simply mules. Homo volucer neuter factus. Excellent answer btw :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 8:00

The answer to this varies based on the origin of the creature...

Assuming a completely human derived creature... We would likely call them Homo Sapien Angelus for their full name and Homo Angelus for their 2 name nomenclature. However there may be more to their full name due to the fact that They likely would have evolved from Homo Sapien Idaltu (like we did) but had a few intermediate and possible other branches...

If on the other hand we discovered that God was real and Angelology/Demonology were more or less right... then we'd probably come up with a different categorization and we'd have hard categories with no slowly blending to the others... The categories would likely take on similar nomenclature to keep it simple so all the "Homonids" would be reclassed as either Human, Monkey, or Ape, because we would know Humans weren't derived from other animals but were in a class on their own...

On the other hand we might class humans something like:
Dei -> Spiritus -> Homo -> Sethic -> Semetic/Japhethic/Hametic
Angels would be something like:
Dei -> Spiritus -> Angelus -> Divinus -> Seriphim/Grigori/Cherebim/etc
Demons would be something like:
Dei -> Spiritus -> Angelus -> Deamonium -> Incubus/etc

If we're talking aliens then they'd get a name use the same structure that we used now, their names would very roughly be similar to what is in our tree but there would be a marker at the begining for which tree you're talking about... Earthian or Whateverian. Earthian Felidea cat vs Whateverian Felidea cat, because we'd class along the same lines and there would be very strong similarities thus we'd end up getting similar names save for the 2 name nomenclature which we'd could go 3 way with "Homo AlienSpeciesName" for example "Homo Vulcan" or we ask them what they'd prefer to be named in this categorization in which you'd have to come up with a naming language, culture, history, and biology and such to actually come up with something realistic to what they might same. And lastly... You could go with the "who discovered them" naming method that we go with or I guess in this case, who made first contact gets to name them...which probably wouldn't go down well eventually so this would be short lived if it happened but then it just depends on the person they might end up Homo Angelus, or McNutterin Alishominisus. It all just depends on the person really in that case.


Easy: Homo angelos. Look into Linnaeus binomial names.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I would agree to that name only if they were created from modified human DNA (which, of course, would be the most likely source we would start with). However, if we were to base them from something else, then they wouldn't really belong to our genus. There is also the chance that we'd give them a different genus name solely to distinguish them from us, which could happen if we want to give a motivate why we can have them as servants and why they wouldn't be equal to us (if that's the reason we built them). Or we would give them the genus Divo if we want to aspire to make them godlike. $\endgroup$
    – Mrkvička
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 18:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'd suggest angelus rather than angelos, since binomial names often Latinize the Greek roots. $\endgroup$
    – Draconis
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 19:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They would not be given a new species name if they cannot reproduce, they might get a subspecies however. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 19:36

In the binomial nomenclature, the first part of the name identifies the genus to which the species belongs; the second part identifies the species within the genus. The concepts of Genus and Species apply to Species and individuals sharing an ancestral taxon or common ancestor.

For creatures engineered using DNA from a single natural species, the binomial name of that species should be used, followed by "var. something".

From engineered creatures whose DNA doesn't match any natural species, but which share ancestry with species from a natural genus (or family, order or class), the genus name should be preserved, and a species name should be invented to describe the new creature.

For engineered creatures with no obvious natural ancestors, a distinct nomenclature should be used. I propose the following nomenclature:

  1. Make: the name of the laboratory, company, manufacturer or brand who engineered the creature.
  2. Model: whatever name the manufacturer finds suitable to describe the creature.
  3. Release: to designate the iteration of the process of development of this creature. It could be a chronological marker (e.g. a year), a SemVer (major.minor.patch) version number, etc.

Why a different nomenclature?

  • This is not a natural creature.
  • This nomenclature credits the manufacturer with the creation of this creature.
  • We don't need to learn about these creatures in biology textbooks.
  • We don't need to fill the biological taxonomy with original creations.

Scientific Names are usually descriptive latin phrases. For an angel like being I'd recon a combination of the following three would work for your typical angel; Aves(bird/winged) homo(man) divus(godlike)

Personally the most esthetically pleasing is; "Aves homo divus" for winged godlike man.

Maybe you want other angelic beings, so replace homo with their scientific genus or subspecies name.

"Aves canis divus" for winged godlike dog.

Again, you can re-order them if something else flows better for you and spaces are optional. "Aves homo divus" could have been "Aves homodivus".


It would depend entirely on what they were engineered from. Since they cannot procreate they would never be given higher than subspecies. Thus they would have a Trinomen or trinominal name. The subspecies name would be determined by the first paper published concerning the organism.

If they were engineered from humans for instance the would be Homo sapien X

X being whatever the original researched decided to use. It could be fred if he wanted, Homo sapiens fred.

Lets use JDluosz's idea and use angelos So assuming it was engineered from human stock, that would make it Homo sapiens angelos


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