Monday, February 24, 2014

Taxonomy: Sphinx

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Paradoxa
Order: Mutanid
Family: Chimidae
Genus: Sphinx
Sphinxes are creatures that exist in the old world, while the majority of Sphinxes are found around the Mediterranean from Greece to Egypt, there are species of this chimera found all around the world.
The sphinx belongs in the family Chimidae due to the seeming mixture of different creatures. Including but not limited to Human, lion, and eagle.

The key feature of this genus is the human like heads that they possess and their intelligence. Historical records back up modern accounts of the high intellectual capacity of these creatures. It has even been theorized that the only thing that prevented Sphinx from becoming the dominant creature on this planet was the mixture of their solitary natures and their lack of opposable digits.
A Sphinx depicted in Fernand Khnopff's The caress
In the most general terms the sphinx appears as a large lion (or other leonine) with the head or face of a human. Some have wings and are capable of gliding and limited aerial ability.
The Statue of the Great Sphinx in Giza is probably one of the most famous representations of the Androsphinx known.
While commonly used as a catchall the name Sphinx actually refers to the females of this genus. The title for males is Androsphinx. Editor’s Note: An Androsphinx will consider it the height of rudeness to refer to them in the feminine and will often warn those they engage in discourse. If their advice is ignored the Androsphinx will often eat the offender as a second warning.
The true origins of this genus are lost to history, what archaeological evidence is available, points to this creature developing south of the Fertile Crescent alongside humanity. DNA sequencing has revealed that the closest genetic relative seems to be the Ethiopian Lions. Unfortunately due to the tenuous relationship between human and Sphinx the majority of Sphinx residing in Ethiopia are hard to meet and very aggressive. Inquiries into their past has been met with riddles, aggression, or a refusal to answer.
The greatest concentration of sphinxes reside around the Aegean Sea in modern day Turkey and Greece. While there are several species of Sphinx in this area the most common by far is the Sphinx Ainigman or Riddle Sphinx. The most popularly known story of this species comes from its love of riddles as one particular creature haunted the outskirts of Thebes challenging prey to a riddle. While this species actually originated from modern day Ethiopia they found the climate of Greece much more pleasing and the majority of this species can be found there to this day.
The second widest spread species of Sphinx is the Sphinx Aves or flying Sphinx. This species is made up of those sphinxes with the capacity for limited flight. They are generally characterized by their large eagle like wings.

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