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sunandshadow
07-09-2014, 04:28 AM
I'm looking for formal sciencey terms for animal life stages and maturation processes. Latinate and Greek words that are specialized jargon, not part of regular high-school-level English. Can anyone point me to a resource where I can learn words like this?

Specific terms I need:

- A baby bird or lizard still incubating/maturing inside an egg. (I specifically don't want to use the term fetus or embryo).

- A stage where the animal crawls or otherwise uses locomotion different from a teenage or adult stage of that animal.

- The process of changing from a tadpole to a young frog. Not pupation or metamorphosis, does not involve a coccoon or chrysalis.

- A stage where the animal is adult-sized and shaped but not fertile yet and has different colors than an adult. Might have a smaller crest or horns, or narrower shoulders or hips, than an adult.

- The process of becoming fertile (not puberty, because I want it to be clear that this is happening in an animal that is otherwise already an adult. It's similar to when birds bring their gonads out of hibernation each spring, but it would be lovely to have a term specific to the first time in their lives that they activate their reproductive organs.)

- General term for the triggering or starting of any development process.

- Term for menopause which isn't specific to females, includes both males and females.

- Process of a thing which does not yet have a sex becomes sexed. (Apparently gendering is the wrong term because it for social and cultural categories, not physical ones...)

froley
07-09-2014, 10:40 AM
Hello, I responded to your other thread but I see some specific requests here. Is this SF or fantasy or something else? If it's fantasy, make up any word you want, but if it's SF, then it's a good idea to stick with conventions. As I said before, jump on wikipedia! It's a huge resource for this kind of thing. Google anything you don't understand (e.g. "life cycle of platyhelminthes"); it will help.

- Foetus and embryo are the correct terminology. They were invented for the purpose of describing an unhatched thing. You could call it a birdling if you want? The zygote occurs earlier in development but is a cool-sounding word.

- I'd call the crawling stage tardigrade or retrograde or heterograde ('different walking').

- Again, unfortunately, metamorphosis describes exactly that thing. A tadpole metamorphoses into a frog. What's wrong with the existing word? It means literally 'change in form.'

- Pre-sexual adult or sub-adult or non-breeding adult would work. If it's got a crest, consider calling it a lophophore ('crest-bearing'). If it's got horns, call it a ceratophore ('horn-bearing').

- Becoming fertile is called maturation. The problem is that animals are born with gonads, so there's no word for sudden onset of the organs. Such a word may look like 'gonadogenesis' or 'gonogenesis' (creation of the gonads; cf. gametogenesis, 'creation of the gametes' and parthenogenesis, 'virgin birth,' both existing terms).

- The start of development is by definition fertilisation (development has a very precise meaning). I think you mean growth processes? In that case, diapause is a pause in any process. It can be terminated randomly or by specific conditions. So growth doesn't stop, it just pauses for a while.

- Post-sexual life stage is the accepted jargon.

- Gender is a meaningless concept in zoology for the reasons you stated, so yeah, don't use that. Again unfortunately for you, sex is determined during development (i.e. before birth). It can be random, or due to temperature, or due to the ratios of sexes in the population, or, as in mammals, genetic. Anyway the process of unsexed organs (the default in mammals is vaguely female, which is why men have nipples) turning into sexed organs is called sex determination.

Hope this helps.

Helix
07-09-2014, 11:15 AM
Why not base the life cycle on a bug (Hemiptera) or similar hemimetabolous insect, such as cockroaches and grasshoppers? After hatching, the various stages increase in size and develop a bit more of the adult features with each moult until they mature with the final moult.

The transformation of tadpole to frog is metamorphosis. It involves substantial changes to the skeleton, muscles, digestive and respiratory systems and the development of the reproductive system. Metamorphosis is even more pronounced in invertebrates. (Well, the ones that undergo it, anyway.) That might be more of a dramatic change than you require, perhaps.

If you're looking at unusual sex determination and delayed maturation etc, I suggest you have a look at reproduction in pulmonate snails, which are often protandrous hermaphrodites at their first mating and then become simultaneous hermaphrodites. That is, they are essentially males, producing only sperm, the first time, but then mature into sperm- and egg-producing adults, not only capable of fertilising other snails, but also of producing fertilisable eggs. Some oysters are sequential hermaphrodites, switching from one sex to the other seasonally. For the vertebrate equivalent, many reef fish can switch sex. There might be something among that lot!

MagicWriter
07-11-2014, 08:13 AM
I'm looking for formal sciencey terms for animal life stages and maturation processes. Latinate and Greek words that are specialized jargon, not part of regular high-school-level English. Can anyone point me to a resource where I can learn words like this?

Specific terms I need:

- A baby bird or lizard still incubating/maturing inside an egg. (I specifically don't want to use the term fetus or embryo).

- A stage where the animal crawls or otherwise uses locomotion different from a teenage or adult stage of that animal.

- The process of changing from a tadpole to a young frog. Not pupation or metamorphosis, does not involve a coccoon or chrysalis.

- A stage where the animal is adult-sized and shaped but not fertile yet and has different colors than an adult. Might have a smaller crest or horns, or narrower shoulders or hips, than an adult.

- The process of becoming fertile (not puberty, because I want it to be clear that this is happening in an animal that is otherwise already an adult. It's similar to when birds bring their gonads out of hibernation each spring, but it would be lovely to have a term specific to the first time in their lives that they activate their reproductive organs.)

- General term for the triggering or starting of any development process.

- Term for menopause which isn't specific to females, includes both males and females.

- Process of a thing which does not yet have a sex becomes sexed. (Apparently gendering is the wrong term because it for social and cultural categories, not physical ones...)

You could look up stuff about the life cycles of parasites, you'll get all the "science" jargon you want, however be careful of how you use the terms, words describing parasite life cycle won't be the same for other life forms.

kkwalker
07-11-2014, 05:42 PM
I may be way off track here, but are you working on a science fiction scenario? Like, with a brand new species?

If the species you're writing about is on earth, then the terms the others mentioned would be the ones used. If it's a science fiction species on, say, a different planet... why not make up terms? The terms might come from the local language, rather than an earth-based one. If that is the case, then the vocabulary is completely open.

sunandshadow
07-12-2014, 04:38 AM
I may be way off track here, but are you working on a science fiction scenario? Like, with a brand new species?

If the species you're writing about is on earth, then the terms the others mentioned would be the ones used. If it's a science fiction species on, say, a different planet... why not make up terms? The terms might come from the local language, rather than an earth-based one. If that is the case, then the vocabulary is completely open.
Well, it is a science fiction scenario (the species is vaguely like transformers), but it's in the same universe with humans, and also I try to limit the number of new terms I make up per setting to 20 or so, because explaining each one slows things down a bit. I have more interesting things to spend those 20 words on than technical biology terms - like holidays and social categories that don't exist at all on Earth. Also I think "reinventing the wheel" is usually a bad idea, and making up a term for something there's already a term for is one type of that.

Helix
07-12-2014, 05:30 AM
I think the problem is the difficulty of mapping a fictional species considered in isolation onto life cycles of existing species that have an evolutionary context.

sunandshadow
07-12-2014, 06:35 AM
I think the problem is the difficulty of mapping a fictional species considered in isolation onto life cycles of existing species that have an evolutionary context.
Well, the evolutionary context of the existing species helped me sort out how my species evolved. So mine does, now, have an evolutionary context, but didn't when I was researching life cycles of real species. At any rate, I've got it pretty much figured out now. I did have to give in and move to a less formal set of terms, but that compromise allowed me to get a pretty well-matched set of terms and write up a fairly complete description of my species. :) Now I'm just fidgeting while I wait for my main beta reader to get back to me on the write-up of the species profile.

Helix
07-12-2014, 06:38 AM
An evolutionary context that you know and no one else does, which makes it hard for people to assist. Is this thread now redundant?

Cath
07-12-2014, 02:58 PM
It might be useful to other folks, so I'll leave it open.