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I have a question! Let us take a fantasy world with a noticeably different ecosystem and whatnot to our own. Now, some of the ecological niches may well be filled with animals quite similar to our own in some ways (ex: this rather cool PhDComics on the convergent evolution of wolf and hyena jaws). In such instances, would you prefer it if the author (that would be me!) used a similar well-known animal name as shorthand and only noted the differences (ex: Renais and the incident of the fork-tailed mice, which as you might expect look and act a lot like mice in our own world), or came up with an entirely different name to match the animals notably unlike ours (example from a different universe: burlen, a species of roughly horse-sized reptilians that are typically used as beasts of burden and curl up when threatened, protected by their armoured skin)? If I have burlen, would you find it weird to have things called cats in the same world (provided that, you know, there has been mammalian evolution, which there has)? If it’s reasonable that something much like a cat exists in the world, should I call it a cat, or something else? What do you think?

(And no, “stop making stuff up” is not an answer, I’m writing fantasy and sci-fi here! ~_^)

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