Taxon, Genus, Species, Classification? What should Hank, the sasquatch that Rick Dyer provided to the science community, be named?
By Jason Judd Team Tracker Member
This is a very interesting question that I can imagine that many of you would like to know. While we just call him Hank for now, and probably forever, science must categorize this creature within the Darwinian flow of life from a common ancestor. How does the genus classification begin you ask?
The science of morphology, biological systematics, and molecular phylogenetics (data from DNA sequences). What the “H” are those? Just trust me. The last two stated systems have revised many genus classifications in the last decade within both homologous and analogous types.
The problem: Hank is a new species. So what DNA do we compare him with in order to correctly classify him? First, since he is bipedal, he will be compared to Homo sapien and Homo sapien sapien. Next is the comparison of Neanderthal and his genome. Finally, the comparison of primate genes from gorilla down to lemur. Then the morphology of ancestrial bipeds will be compared with Hank’s skeleton and skeletal structure. This takes time…..lots of time……and it’s nothing more than just coming up with a name on paper.
FoxP2 Gene is a very important gene that separates sapien from the rest of the primates. This gene is also found in Neander, thus giving him the ability to speak or communicate. If Hank has a version of this gene that is similar to ours or Neanderthal and has at least one more amino acid strand longer than a chimps FP2 gene, then Hank should be classified as Homo or a type of Australiopith. Another gene that will separate Hank from lower primates is the srGAP2 gene, which is only duplicated in humans and other bipedal ancestors.
This gene gives hominids and humans the ability to think quickly, reason, deduce, and react accountably. Depending on the length of this gene and Hank’s morphology, this will define his genus classification as Homo or Austrliopith.
Next is the species name. This is what separates sapien from erectus, erectus from heidelburgensis, denisovian from Neanderthal, and Habilis from rudolfensis—each all from us. Normally, this is location of discovery, discoverers name, a specific trait or the combination of the three. This is where it gets fun….
Location: America, Texas, Bexar County, San Antonio.
Discoverer: Rick Dyer
Traits: Bipedal, Hairy, Large, Muscular
Many species names are associated with Latin language.
America = Americus
Hairy = pilo
Large = gigas
Dyer = Dy
So what would be a reasonable name for Hank, the North American sasquatch?
Those are definitely mouthfuls aren’t they. I for one will continue to use Hank unless specifically asked for a genus name; or, the current fad of “squatch” is fun, as easily rolls off the tongue.