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DS writes...

You mentioned that gargoyles and gargoyle beasts are distinct from most mammals and are classified as "gargates." Given their traits of milk production and warm bloodedness while laying eggs, I'd be tempted to classify gargoyles as monotremes, a subset of mammals that includes platupi and the echidnas, though I would need to look at their biochemistry to be absolutely certain (which has obvious logistical issues). I remember reading in the archives that gargoyles are the first "sentient" race, emerging sometime in the same time magnitude as dinosaurs. Classing gargoyles as monotremes could fit in with that time frame, because birds/dinosaurs and mammals diverged some time in the Carboniferous, significantly before the Triassic. This would put them in the same ecological classification as other monotremes (which you had demonstrated reluctance to accept before vis a vis platupi), but given the long time period, I would EXPECT them to look more and be more different from other monotremes than, say, a sparrow does from a T-rex, since their most recent common ancestor was much longer ago. Oddly enough, the most difficult thing about figuring gargoyles out is the difference between Lexington and the rest of the clan, because four vs six limbs is a major difference, and figuring out that phenotypic difference that still leaves the two types of gargoyles able to create viable offspring wasn't very easy. However, I think I managed to crack it. It is most probably a trait of the MOTHER of the gargoyle, not the gargoyle in question proper (so if Lexington decided he wanted a kid and found a willing female gargoyle (ignoring for thought experiment purposes that he wouldn't be interested in women), he probably wouldn't be able to pass it on). At some point, some female proto-gargate from just as gargoyles and gargoyle beasts were starting to diverge had a mutation that probably added an extra pair of limbs on their back. These extra limbs could have been useful, and could have evolved over time to help gargoyles fly (well, glide) through the power of "jazz hands" (like how bats fly proper). Eventually, another female gargoyle had another mutation that essentially told her kid's biological plan to omit the first pair of "arms" and only have the second kind (the ones that look wingish). Both phenotypes produced viable offspring with roughly the same ability to reproduce, but the second mutation probably started out rarer because it came later. So the general timeline looks like this:

Mammals and dinosaurs diverge -> Platupi diverge from other monotremes -> Gargates diverge from other monotremes (this comes after platupi because female gargoyles have mammary glands, and probably came about as a result of developing the first rudiments of stone sleep) -> Dinosaurs come on the scene -> Gargoyles and gargoyle beasts diverge from each other (probably via gargoyles becoming bipedal) -> Gargoyles evolve six limbs and this variant overtakes the population while the two back arms become more winglike -> the Lexington variant of gargoyles evolves -> Dinosaurs kick it -> Gargoyles gradually become more intelligent as their longer lifespans and lack of natural predators (thanks giant meteor) makes intelligence a more viable strategy for survival to make them more cooperative.

I don't know if this perfectly fits with what you have, but I did the best I could with the information (both show/FAQ-wise and through a degree in biochemistry) I had. What are your thoughts?

Greg responds...

I love all this.

A couple thoughts that might or might not influence your thinking...

Lex has six limbs. The middle "rib" of his wings is actually a limb. In original development art (which you may have seen on the first season DVD) he has four hands: the two we're all used to and two more coming off those mid-wing arms. So what you're seeing in his final version his six limbs, but the middle two limbs have, uh... devolved into ribs.

We've discussed in the past that Gargoyle Beasts have vestigial wing bones beneath the skin.

Response recorded on July 12, 2021