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How could, for example, wolf and cat evolve to walk in two legs, have fingers and the ability to speak, reason and build civilization?

The conditions:

  • This works not only for these two species, but at least 12 (Such as deers, rabbits, rats, bears, etc)
  • All of them are mammals
  • The species "NORMALLY" cannot reproduce in between. Dogs and cats do not have offspring (but you guys can have a poetic license to break this a little. The point is: this would be very uncommon, like mutation or so)
  • Still, there are animals on the planet
  • No need to use Darwinian evolution.

OPTIONAL: Could not only mammals but a reptilian and an avian race as well to evolve as anthropomorphic alongside mammals?

I had already thought of an idea involving "chimeras" (not chimera exactly) where chimeras are rare and its random mutation caused by unknown reasons (too rare to measure) where a cat and a chimera wolf have an offspring with random anthropomorphic characteristics (it is chimera because it can reproduce with another anthromorphic species, not because he is mixed or something like that) This offspring could be a rabbit, for example. Yes, crazy if you want know, but it was the best hypothesis I've could create.

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  • $\begingroup$ When you write evolve I think Darwinian evolution. Are you open to these races coming into being by other means than natural selection? $\endgroup$ – Willk Aug 10 '17 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ Anything "scientifically." I thought that evolution only happens by natural selection, but if there is another way, feel free to expose your idea. $\endgroup$ – Hanilucas Aug 10 '17 at 23:50
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    $\begingroup$ Congratulations, Hanilucas, evolution happens through natural selection. This isn't an offhand remark as not enough people understand the role of natural selection in evolution. This is a major plus. $\endgroup$ – a4android Aug 11 '17 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ Genetic mutations aren't uncommon at all. To the contrary, they are extremely common, and happen all the time. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 11 '17 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, but furryverse isn't going to happen naturally without lots of handwaving. The easier method to get a scientifically plausible furry scenario is the other way around: Start with humans and give them animal traits through genetic engineering or cosmetic body modification. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Aug 11 '17 at 22:00
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There is no way to have them evolve on the same world, some will take a lot longer to reach human like characteristics which makes it highly unlikely for all of them to happen on the same planet since once one has them it will spread, out-competing the others, we saw the same pattern with early hominids. But there are several ways to GET them on the same world.

I know several authors who have solved he problem by having them evolve on different worlds then bringing them together by other means, (magical gates, wormholes, crashed ships, ect) by intermittently seeding the world with new arrivals it also makes for a lot of story opportunities. Additionally since you can have arrivals already possess some level of civilization the out-competing issue is no longer a problem as technology can put the groups on more even footing.

Magical or technological intervention. In fantasy experimenting sorcerers is a popular option along the same lines. Technologically you could have these people artificially created either as experiments uplifting animals or as normal humans opting for some sort of heritable alteration, see will's answer for more on this.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very good answer. This reminds me of Warcraft, where the orcs came from another world and humans have evolved from the elves. Maybe not worlds but continent isolation could somehow boost the development of various antropomorphic species. $\endgroup$ – Hanilucas Aug 11 '17 at 17:16
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Evolution is slow and aimless. Intelligent design is fast and purposeful.

from H.G.Wells The Island of Dr Moreau

“Monsters manufactured!” said I. “Then you mean to tell me—”

“Yes. These creatures you have seen are animals carven and wrought into new shapes. To that, to the study of the plasticity of living forms, my life has been devoted. I have studied for years, gaining in knowledge as I go. I see you look horrified, and yet I am telling you nothing new. It all lay in the surface of practical anatomy years ago, but no one had the temerity to touch it. It is not simply the outward form of an animal which I can change. The physiology, the chemical rhythm of the creature, may also be made to undergo an enduring modification,—of which vaccination and other methods of inoculation with living or dead matter are examples that will, no doubt, be familiar to you. A similar operation is the transfusion of blood,—with which subject, indeed, I began. These are all familiar cases. Less so, and probably far more extensive, were the operations of those mediaeval practitioners who made dwarfs and beggar-cripples, show-monsters,—some vestiges of whose art still remain in the preliminary manipulation of the young mountebank or contortionist. Victor Hugo gives an account of them in ‘L'Homme qui Rit.’—But perhaps my meaning grows plain now. You begin to see that it is a possible thing to transplant tissue from one part of an animal to another, or from one animal to another; to alter its chemical reactions and methods of growth; to modify the articulations of its limbs; and, indeed, to change it in its most intimate structure.

There are plenty of examples of humanoid animals in fiction. Rocket Raccoon of recent Guardians of the Galaxy fame is one. David Brin's Uplift Universe features several races of uplifted sapient animals. With understanding of DNA and genetic engineering the premise in recent fiction is that these humanlike qualities can be conferred to animals by engineering the relevant genes - these things are essentially artificial human / animal hybrids.

I like Moreau's approach because it was before all the DNA magic, and the animal people are more animaly. Plus he made some things other than animal people... In any case the best way to have these anthropoid animals come about is to have a Moreau make them with whatever tech you deem appropriate. This making might have been long in the past. Once made, then over time the individuals might breed true or very well might not - evolution will go to work and can move things farther from whatever your artificial starting material might be. This aspect is considered in Brin's Uplift series, where in addition to genetic engineering selective breeding is practiced among the Uplifted.

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They can't.

Evolution is very good at finding local maxima of the reproductive fitness function. However to go from cat to catboy requires a transitional period where the species is less viable.

A mad scientist will probably be a able to engineer cat people (or other animals) in short order given the appropriately handwaving.

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I don't think you can without a mad Scientist at the outset.

First of all, I cannot see any way that shifting to an upright posture for most of the species mentioned gives much of an advantage. Maybe the "Reach Higher Leaves" argument apply for some of the species, but they are all pretty well maximized for their current modes of living. By the time you put enough evolutionary pressure on a species to mutate into a humanoid form, you are going to lose a ton of the features that would identify them as dog, cat, deer, rat and end up with something else entirely. Also, A deer would look cool as a humanoid, but how does the hoof turn back into a potentially grasping limb?

So lets introduce a Mad Scientist Bill, back somewhere in history, maybe a thousand years ago. He takes the stock animal and splices in, whether by retrovirus, magic, or other handwavium, those human characteristics he desires into the genes of the host animals. These would be the chimera of the future.

Bill would then need to make males and females and each in sufficient quantity to have a starting population. He'd need to do this for every chimera combination.

Fast Forward a little while and Bill has some self sustaining populations of different chimera. All along he has been teaching them all sorts of things like abstract reasoning, math, and language.

In a ironic twist, one of the rabbits goes insane and tears out Bills throat, and the Chimera then escape the compound and begin their own individual civilizations.

Now for the inbreeding...there is enough anatomical similarities to allow it mechanically. Because of the genetic dabbling, the chimera are able to interbreed kind of like Horses and Donkeys, but the result is sterile offspring if anything at all.

Fast forward another thousand years, the chimeras individual characteristics will have allowed them to begin carving out niches in various parts of the natural world

Now you have a big big backdrop for lots of neat stories.

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Species could evolve anthropomorphically if acquiring human characteristics were beneficial in some way, and achievable along a scale of ability, such that a very small ability could still give benefit.

Many animals have though already mastered simple human machines, though. Dogs and cats know how doors work, and some have been able to operate doorknobs though often clumsily. It is debatable, though, whether they could do this so easily without having seen a human do it first. However, once the idea took hold, greater manual dexterity would be achieved over time. Obviously a paw increasingly resembling a human hand would make this easier, as would adopting a bipedal stance, which would also make windows created by humans more useful and other machinery would also start to become feasible for operation. Given time, and machinery which remained effectively operational, I see no reason why an animal could not evolve both to understand and use it.

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