Created By: EdnaWalker on June 29, 2011 Last Edited By: jormis29 on May 20, 2014
Nuked

Informed Species

An animal that belongs to an actual species, but looks nothing like its RealLife counterpart.

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Trope
Needs a Better Title. Rolling Updates.

Informed Species is about an animal that belongs to an actual species and often called that species, but hardly looks (or looks nothing) like its Real Life counterpart.

Imformed Species is related to Cartoon Creature and Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit", but there are differences that set Informed Species apart from the other two tropes. A Cartoon Creature is an ambiguous looking animal or an animal belonging to an ambiguous species. Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit" is about a new or unfamiliar animal species (or "smeerp") being referred to by the name of a more familiar (or "rabbit" counterpart) species.

Many older examples of Seldom-Seen Species hardly look and act (if not, look and act nothing) like their Real Life equivalents.

Related to Cartoon Creature and Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit".


Examples:

Film
  • The Aracuan Bird from The Three Caballeros is pink, unlike its real world counterpart.
  • A few of the reviews for An American Tail when it first came out complained about how un-catlike Tiger looked.
  • Shifu the red panda from Kung Fu Panda, with his huge round ears, more whitish orangey fur, and dark brown hands, is not that easy to identify as a red panda, which has medium sized, rounded triangular ears and is more reddish with a black underside and legs.
  • Zilla, a.k.a., the American Godzilla, is an interesting variation. He's supposed to be a mutated marine iguana, but his physical structure is more akin to that of a theropod dinosaur. Of course, since he is mutated, this might be justified.
  • Cera from Land Before Time is hardly recognizeable as a Triceratops since she only has one horn.
    • Poor Ducky. Sources can't decide if she's a Parasaurlophus, an Edmontoaurus, or a Saurlophus since she doesn't really look completely like one or the other.
    • Likewise, Hyp and his father don't really look much like Hypsilophodons.
    • The "Yellow Bellies" from The Wisdom Of Friends hardly look like the dinosaurs they're supposed to be either.
  • Earl Sinclair from Dinosaurs is said to be a Megalosaurus, but looks nothing like the actual dinosaur.
    • Likewise, his wife Fran is supposed to be an Allosaurus. But, Allosaurus never had that Dilophosaurus-like crest on its head.
  • Rafiki in The Lion King is stated to be a baboon, but looks like the bastard child of a mandrill and a capuchin monkey.
    • Zazu from The Lion King is supposed to be a yellow-billed hornbill. And, while he does look like a bird with a yellow beak, he doesn't look much like the bird he's supposed to be.
  • Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio is so heavily anthropomorphized that he looks more like a little green man with a rabbit nose and no ears. Animator Ward Kimball, who designed him, admited that "he's a cricket because we say he's a cricket."

Newspaper Comics
  • Krazy Kat is not readily identifiable as a cat.
  • Nor is Mooch from Mutts.
  • Lampshaded in Bloom County that eventually Opus looked more like a puffin than a penguin.
  • Peanuts: More of an informed breed, but Snoopy and his brothers look nothing like real beagles.

Other
  • The University of Minnesota's mascot, Goldy Gopher doesn't look much like a gopher. Upon consultation the conclusion was he looks more like a chipmunk.

Puppets
  • Fozzie the bear from The Muppets is hard to identify as a bear.

Video Games
  • Sonic the Hedgehog looks little like his animal namesake. His spikes look more like styled hair and he hardly has a snout. Instead, he has a jellybean like nose that's close to face. Same goes with Amy, Shadow, and Silver who are also hedgehogs. Also, hedgehogs aren't blue, pink, black, or silver.
    • Knuckles is an echidna, but because his spikes look more like styled hair, he hardly has a snout, and has a jellybean like nose that's close to face, it wouldn't be too hard to mistake him for a "hedgehog".
  • King Dedede from the Kirby game series is not readily identifiable as a penguin.
  • Crash Bandicoot: Crash and Coco don't look much like bandicoots, Tiny the Tiger looks like some kind of big cat, but definitely not a tiger, and Dingodile has a crocodile tail but the rest of him looks like some kind of pig thing, not a dingo.
    • Tiny Tiger is he apparently was originally intended to be a Tasmanian tiger (an extinct Australian marsupial, not actually a cat) but in the game Crash of the Titans he was redesigned and looks more cat like now. (possibly a case where the game designer Did Not Do The Research)

Western Animation
  • The Tasmanian Devil and the Tasmanian She Devil from Looney Tunes are brown furred and look nothing like real Tasmanian Devils, which have black fur.
    • The Roadrunner also looks nothing like it's real-world counterpart. Roadrunners aren't bright purple/blue nor are they the same size as a coyote.
    • Another example is Hippety Hopper, the baby kangaroo that Sylvester always mistakes for a giant mouse. In Sylvester's defense Hippety does look far more like a giant mouse than an actual kangaroo.
    • Yoyo Dodo looks nothing like a real dodo.
    • Batty, the bat in the cartoon, "The Brave Little Bat," looks nothing like a bat, and looks like a mouse with wings instead.
  • Dizzy Devil (the purple Tasmanian devil), Rev Runner (the red roadrunner), and Gogo Dodo from Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Slam Tasmanian and Rev Runner from Loonatics Unleashed
  • Bonkers D. Bobcat hardly looks like a real bobcat. At least he has downward-facing cheek tufts though.
  • Bungo from Jungle Junction is said to be a "bunny", but, rabbits don't have long striped tails.
  • Who Who the ring tailed lemur from the Animaniacs episode, "Back In Style" hardly looks like a real ring tailed lemur and looks vaguely like a red panda instead.
  • Evil the cat from Earthworm Jim hardly looks like a cat at all; he looks like a white rat with pointed ears.
  • The protagonists of The Ren & Stimpy Show are not readily identifiable as a chihuahua dog and cat, respectively.
  • Arthur Read and his relatives are aardvarks, but aren't readily identifiable as such. Real aardvarks have giant noses. Arthur, D.W., and other Reads have no nose.
    • Averted in the books, in which Arthur's enormous nose is actually the driving force of the plot.
      • For the first book, then he went on to look much like what he does in the show.
    • Also from Arthur, both Brain and the Tibble Twins are supposed to be bear cubs, but they look more like gophers than actual bears.
    • Likewise, Prunella is supposed to be a rat (like Mr. Ratburn), but her ears and hair make her look more like a poodle.
  • Pete the cat from the Classic Disney Shorts is so hard to identify as a cat that in Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, and An Extremely Goofy Movie, he was treated more like a Dogface.
    • In Steamboat Willie, the first time Pete was portrayed as a cat, he looked somewhat reasonably like a cat and had a tail, but since the mid 1930s, he lost his tail and fell into this trope.
    • Junior, Pete's son from the Donald Duck cartoon "Bellboy Donald" is a cat, but not readily identifiable as such and looked more like Mickey Mouse with cat ears instead.
  • Chip and Skip from Camp Lazlo are supposed to be dung beetles, but look more like purple things.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Chipettes in the animated TV shows and movies look nothing like chipmunks.
  • Wendell T. Wolf from Taz-Mania is supposed to be a Tasmanian Wolf, but he looks more like a miniture version of Wile E. Coyote.
  • Jake from My Gym Partner SA Monkey is supposed to be a spider monkey but, while obviously a primate of some kind, looks little like the actual species. Lampshaded in one episode that shows his family at the zoo at first appear to look correct but after the humans leave they remove disguises showing they actually look like Jake.
  • Like Arthur, Cerebus the Aardvark looks little (if at all) like the real-life animal. He looks more like a gray pig-creature than an actual aardvark.
  • Dagget and Norbit from The Angry Beavers don't look an awful lot like beavers. This is constantly pointed out in the show, as most people assume that they are weasels.
  • The Tick owns a capybara named Speak (named because he once hallucinated it talking to him) who looks much more like some sort of mutant pug dog; in fact, the Tick was sure Speak was a dog until he took him to the vet.
  • Snook from It's a Big Big World is supposed to be a sloth, but he looks more like some weird furry creature.
    • Bob is supposed to be a Tarmandua, a type of anteater, but looks more like a cross between Gonzo and a cat.
  • The titular Aardvark from The Ant and the Aardvark doesn't look very much like an aardvark, having blue fur, a long snout more like that of an anteater's than an actual aardvark's, and long angularly bent ears.
  • Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio is so heavily anthropomorphized that he looks more like a little green man with no ears. Animator Ward Kimball, who designed him, admited that "he's a cricket because we say he's a cricket."
  • Cyrill Sneer and his son Cedric on The Raccoons are suposed to be aardvarks, but have pink fur and snouts that bend down. The show's creator did this on purpose so kids don't think that real aardvarks are greedy industrialists.

Community Feedback Replies: 57
  • June 29, 2011
    fluffything
    • The Roadrunner from Looney Tunes also looks nothing like it's real-world counterpart. Roadrunners aren't bright purple/blue nor are they the same size as a coyote.
    • Bungo from Jungle Junction is said to be a "bunny", but, rabbits don't have long striped tails.
  • June 30, 2011
    Aielyn
    It seems to me that this should be an Artistic License type trope. Perhaps... Artistic License - Animal Appearance?
  • June 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
  • June 30, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ Call A Smeerp A Rabbit is when a strange creature on an alien world is given the name of a creature from our world. This is when the story is set in our world, and it's supposed to be the actual creature.
  • June 30, 2011
    Ryusui
  • June 30, 2011
    ButterKit
    @Ryusui: Good trope name!

    Also, does Mei's panda in Full Metal Alchemist count, since no panda is that small?
  • June 30, 2011
    Duncan
    Lampshaded in Bloom County that eventually Opus looked more like a puffin than a penguin.
  • June 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^I did say "related," not "this is Call A Smeerp A Rabbit."
  • July 1, 2011
    robybang
    • Sonic The Hedgehog looks little like his animal namesake. His spikes look more like styled hair and he lacks a snout. Instead, he has a jellybean like nose that's close to face. Also, hedgehogs aren't blue.
  • July 1, 2011
    Arivne
    Examples deleted.
  • July 1, 2011
    PaulA
    ^ I think that's just general Funny Animal-ness. If you were shown a picture of one of them and asked to guess what animal it was, you'd still have a pretty good chance.
  • July 1, 2011
    shinehro
    • The Rattata, Pikachu and Sandshrew families are all labeled as being Mouse Pokemon in the Pokedex.
      • Rattata's are much closer to rats
      • Pikachu takes some cues from rabbits
      • Sandshrew is neither a mouse, shrew or armadillo, its actually based on something called a pangolin. This is more obvious by Sandslash's original name, Sandpan.
        • A lot of Pokemon probably have this trope especially with the localized names.
  • July 1, 2011
    Aielyn
    Actually, shinehro, Pikachu is based on the rat, too. The only thing about Pikachu that even remotely resembles a rabbit is the ears, and they're nowhere near the right shape to be rat ears.

    More importantly, the "species name" of pokemon is more like referring to a Catfish, which is nothing like a cat. Those families of pokemon are labelled as Mouse Pokemon for the same reason as why we have a Catfish and a Dogfish, neither of which share any notable traits of cats or dogs.

    Arivne - none of those instances are this trope. Bugs and Roger Rabbit aren't normal rabbits, but they're quite obviously rabbits in appearance, with all the features that one would naturally associate with rabbits. Similarly with Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn. As Paul A points out, if you showed someone who had ever seen a real rabbit a picture of Bugs, they'd recognise him to be a rabbit immediately. Same with Daffy and ducks. Foghorn Leghorn is a little more obscure, but in context (that is, seeing him in a farmyard setting), it would be obvious. Compare with Tassie Devil, who looks and acts nothing at all like an actual Tasmanian Devil, except perhaps for the general colouring of his fur.
  • July 1, 2011
    NateTheGreat
    University of Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher doesn't look much like a gopher. Upon consultation the conclusion was he looks more like a chipmunk.
  • July 1, 2011
    Bisected8
  • July 1, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Many of the characters in Arthur, but espeically Arthur himself and his family. They're supposed to be aardvarks. What's the one thing everybody knows about aardvarks? They have giant noses. Arthur has no nose.
  • July 1, 2011
    GoopsWorld
    • Pidgey looks nothing like a pigeon. Pidove averts this though.
    • Stimpy looks nothing like a cat.
  • July 1, 2011
    fluffything
    • Pokemon has Blastoise which is labled as the "Shellfish Pokemon", despite looking more like a large turtle rather than any known shellfish.
      • Likewise, there's Golduck, who is said to be a duck, but looks more like a platypus.
      • Slowbro is labled the "Hermitcrab Pokemon", but apart from having a shell, it doesn't resemble a hermitcrab at all.
      • Cyndaquil is labled the "Fire Mouse" Pokemon, but more closely resembles an Echidna.
      • Azurmarill is supposed to be a rabbit, but, like Bungo, what species of rabit has a long tail?
      • Wooper and Quagsire are supposed to be fish, but more closely resemble salamanders.
      • Vigoroth is said to be a "wild monkey", but, monkeys don't look like sloths.
      • Wailmer is supposed to be a whale, but whales are not sphere shaped. At least its evolution, Wailord, more closely resembles a real-life whale.
      • Bidoof is supposed to be a "plump mouse", but it more resembles a beaver much like its evoluion, Bibarel.
      • Snivy and its evolutions (IE: Servine and Serperior) are all supposed to be snakes, but they all have limbs, something real snakes lost millions of years ago through evolution.
      • Tranquil is said to be a "pigeon", but it looks more like a hawk or a secretary bird than an pigeon.
      • Shelmet is said to be a snail. Snails don't have shells that resemble a knight's helmet.
  • July 1, 2011
    EmbracingShadows
    Including Pokemon here would be troublesome.
  • July 1, 2011
    fluffything
    I only included the Pokemon that were explicitly said to be that species of animal within the games' canon (For example, the Pokedex lists Blastoise as the Shellfish Pokemon). Other Pokemon look like a particular animal but are known as things like the "Flame" Pokemon or the "Thunder" Pokemon or the "Kite" Pokemon.
  • July 1, 2011
    doommech33
    Half Life 2 has Ant Lions, bear-sized bugs which pop up from the sand and attack you in large numbers if you disturb them. They can also fly. In real life, the ant lion is a small, larval sand-burrower that traps smaller bugs in sand pits and drags them underground.

    • its not realy suposed to be a real ant-lion
  • July 1, 2011
    Hannibal
    Because any trope with the word 'Dissonance' in the name is that much better.
  • July 1, 2011
    Andygal
  • July 2, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    • Spongebob Squarepants: Squidward really bears no resemblance to an actual octopus (and yes, he is an octopus - not that he looks like a squid either). Spongebob himself is more of a kitchen sponge than a sea sponge.

    I'm too lazy to think of other Spongebob examples. Anyone else?
  • July 2, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I'm having trouble evaluating whether this is all that tropable. Are there any consistent criteria for what fits the definition of this trope? Is there a consistent reason why it happens?
  • July 2, 2011
    MrInitialMan
    Rin Tin Tin, a german shepherd, often played the part of a wolf.
  • July 2, 2011
    Aielyn
    Stratadrake - it doesn't necessarily need a single consistent reason for the trope, so long as it generally has a reason in each case. In other words, you're asking the wrong question. The question is, does this trope have a reason at all, or is it merely a case of ordinary artistic license?
  • July 2, 2011
    fluffything
    How about we only use examples in which the animal in question is SPECIFICALLY said to be that particular animal but looks (almost) nothing like the animal it's supposed to be?

    For example, Bugs Bunny wouldn't count because he still looks like an actual rabbit (Just larger than normal and with more cartoony features, obviously). However, the Roadrunner would count as an example since it more closely resembles a purple/blue ostrich than a real-life roadrunner. Sure, both are birds, but a roadrunner doesn't look that much like an ostrich much like how a parrot doesn't look much like a chicken.
  • July 2, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Killer Shrews: the giant "shrews" are played by dogs.
  • July 3, 2011
    fluffything
    • Kiara in Inuyasha is supposed to be a nekomata (a cat-demon with two tails and supernatural powers), but her appearance makes her look more like a small fox rather than any sort of feline. This is especially evident when you compare her appearance to that of Kagome's pet cat, Buyo, who actually does look like a cat.
  • July 3, 2011
    Bisected8
    The Half Life example's more Call A Smeerp A Rabbit, since they're a completly alien species (the Vortigaunts state that they used to farm them).
  • July 3, 2011
    JoeG
    • Peanuts: More of an informed breed, but Snoopy and his brothers look nothing like real beagles.
  • July 3, 2011
    fluffything
    • Chip and Skip from Camp Lazlo are supposed to be dung beetles, but look more like purple things.
    • Zilla is an interesting variation. He's supposed to be a mutated iguana, but his physical structure is more akin to that of a theropod dinosaur. Of course, since he is mutated, this might be justified.
  • July 3, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    Another Looney Tunes example is Hippety Hopper the baby kangaroo that Sylvester always mistakes for a giant mouse. In Sylvester's defense Hippety does look far more like a giant mouse than an actual kangaroo.
  • July 3, 2011
    bluepenguin
    Crash Bandicoot: Crash and Coco don't look much like bandicoots, Tiny the Tiger looks like some kind of big cat, but definitely not a tiger, and Dingodile has a crocodile tail but the rest of him looks like some kind of pig thing, not a dingo. (I think the rest of the animals in the series are reasonably accurate-looking, but it's been a long time and I never played past the third game anyway.)
  • July 4, 2011
    Stratadrake
    It's safe to say we don't need more examples, we need more discussion about tropability and how to differentiate this from Call A Smeerp A Rabbit.

    Remember, it's not a lack of examples that get most tropes thrown into TRS.
  • July 4, 2011
    TippyToeZombie
    Rev Runner is from Loonatics Unleashed the roadrunner from Tiny Toons was named Little Beeper.
  • July 4, 2011
    Aielyn
    Stratadrake - is there really any confusion? It's quite well-differentiated. Call A Smeerp A Rabbit is where a creature that isn't meant to actually *be* a rabbit is called one anyway. Kind of like a Prairie Dog, which isn't a dog at all. This trope, on the other hand, is about creatures that are meant to be rabbits, but don't actually look like what rabbits really look like. For instance, most people would refer to Michael Jackson as human... OK, that's just a joke. Real for instance, Taz, which is meant to be an actual Tasmanian Devil, but looks nothing like one.

    Whether it's tropeable is a different issue, but I think that's more about purpose than anything else. Many, if not most, cases are just ordinary artistic license - Road Runner is clearly designed, generally, like a real roadrunner; his blue colouring, thinner neck and stylised feathers are just artistic license. On the other hand, Taz looks nothing like a Tasmanian Devil, unless you count "has four limbs, looks like a mammal" as similar. So the former is clearly artistic license, whereas the latter is a more interesting case - but is there a solid trope behind it?
  • July 4, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Shifu isn't all that more unlike a Red Panda than any other anthropomorphic cartoon animal. He is a lot closer than Bugs is to a real rabbit.
  • July 4, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    The thing about Tiny Tiger is he apparently was originally intended to be a Tasmanian tiger (an extinct Australian marsupial not actually a cat) but in the game Crash of the Titans he was redesigned and looks more cat like now. (possibly a case where the game designer Didn'tDoTheResearch)
  • July 6, 2011
    somerandomdude
    Rafiki in The Lion King is stated to be a baboon, but looks like the bastard child of a mandrill and a capuchin monkey.
  • July 6, 2011
    fluffything
    • Earl Sinclair from Dinosaurs is said to be a Megalosaurus, but looks nothing like the actual dinosaur.
      • Likewise, his wife Fran is supposed to be an Allosaurus. But, Allosaurus never had that Dilophosaurus-like crest on its head.
    • Wendell T. Wolf from Taz Mania is supposed to be a Tasmanian Wolf, but he looks more like a miniture version of Wile E. Coyote.
    • Also from Arthur, both Brain and the Tibble Twins are supposed to be bear cubs, but they look more like gophers than actual bears.
      • Likewise, Prunella is supposed to be a rat (like Mr. Ratburn), but her ears and hair make her look more like a poodle.
    • Cera from Land Before Time is hardly recognizeable as a Triceratops since she only has one horn.
      • Poor Ducky. Sources can't decide if she's a Parasaurlophus, an Edmontoaurus, or a Saurlophus since she doesn't really look completely like one or the other.
      • Likewise, Hyp and his father don't really look much like Hypsilophodons.
      • The "Yellow Bellies" from The Wisdom Of Friends hardly look like the dinosaurs they're supposed to be either.
  • July 6, 2011
    doommech33
    rename "its supposed to be a mouse"
  • July 6, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    Jake from My Gym Partner Is A Monkey is supposed to be a spider monkey but, while obviously a primate of some kind, looks little like the actual species. Lampshaded in one episode that shows his family at the zoo at first appear to look correct but after the humans leave they remove disguises showing they actually look like Jake.
  • July 7, 2011
    Deboss
    Make sure you differentiate between this and Call A Smeerp A Rabbit.
  • July 7, 2011
    elwoz
    Does the dogcow qualify?
  • July 7, 2011
    TonyG
    About The Killer Shrews, the point of this trope isn't that the "shrews" are clearly played by dogs, it's that they don't look like shrews at all. The example needs to be elaborated on or deleted.

    • Dagget and Norbit from The Angry Beavers don't look an awful lot like beavers. This is constantly pointed out in the show, as most people assume that they are weasels.
  • July 7, 2011
    fluffything
    • Zazu from The Lion King is supposed to be a yellow-billed hornbill. And, while he does look like a bird with a yellow beak, he doesn't look much like the bird he's supposed to be.
    • Like Arthur, Cerberus The Aardvark looks little (if at all) like the real-life animal. He looks more like a gray pig-creature than an actual aardvark.
  • July 7, 2011
    Speedball
    The Tick has a capybara he calls "Speak" (because he once hallucinated it talking to him). Speak looks much more like brachycephalic pug dog of some sort (in fact, the Tick even thought he was a dog until he took Speak to the vet).
  • July 7, 2011
    Speedball
    The Tick owns a capybara named "Speak" who looks much more like some sort of mutant pug dog; in fact, the Tick was sure Speak was a dog until he took him to the vet.
  • July 7, 2011
    fluffything
    • Snook from It's A Big Big World is supposed to be a sloth, but he looks more like some weird furry creature.
      • Another character (I forget his name) is supposed to be a Tarmandua (A type of anteater), but looks more like a cross between Gonzo and a cat.
  • July 9, 2011
    CaveCat
    • The titular Aardvark from The Ant And The Aardvark doesn't look very much like an aardvark, having blue fur, a long snout more like that of an anteater's than an actual aardvark's, and long angularly bent ears.
  • July 9, 2011
    Aminatep
    Shifu is actually a lot like real red panda, except not red and with slightly bigger ears.
  • July 11, 2011
    TonyG
    ^ The reason Shifu isn't red may be because he's old and his fur has gone gray.
    • Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio is so heavily anthropomorphized that he looks more like a little green man with no ears. Animator Ward Kimball, who designed him, admited that "he's a cricket because we say he's a cricket."
    • Cyrill Sneer and his son Cedric on The Raccoons are suposed to be aardvarks, but have pink fur and snouts that bend down. The show's creator did this on purpose so kids don't think that real aardvarks are greedy industrialists.
  • July 11, 2011
    Unknown Troper
  • July 11, 2011
    fluffything
    ^ Finn still looks like a human, and is easily recognized as one, he's just very stylized and lacks a visible nose (Then again, most humanoid characters on Adventure Time lack visible noses as it is).
  • July 11, 2011
    Andygal
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gadjuwxbvo4lkaml71ub73mg