How would Marvel Comics mutants really be classified, scientifically?

I know they are often referred to as Homo superior in the comics, although I personally find it much easier to believe in eyeballs that shoot force blasts than the idea of any international body of (presumably mostly non-mutant) taxonomists agreeing to that particular designation, formal rules of nomenclature notwithstanding. Elsewhere they are referred to as a “genetic offshoot” or “subspecies” of humanity.

But if such a pattern of traits were to really occur among humanity, how would they be classified? Seemingly normal parents produce mutant offspring; mutant parents produce (mostly) mutant offspring (but not always); the traits of mutant offspring need not resemble the parent’s traits in any way. Would this pattern really warrant a separate taxonomic classification? Or would it be regarded as more closely analagous to some type of heritable disease?

Technically, mutation is a mistake in the copying of genes, so it would probably be considered a genetic defect or something like that. As far as I know, mutants and normal humans in the Marvel Universe have no problems mating, so it certainly isn’t a new species.

Homo sapiens suffering from the Xavier-Magnus syndrome.

There are at least five different types of mutants:

Energy casters (Sunfire, Iceman, Cyclops, Magneto; can generate or channel electromagnetic energy)

Empathic psychics (Xavier, Karma, Emma Frost; can read minds, but not move stuff with their minds)

Psionics (Phoenix, Franklin Richards; their abilities can impact the physical world)

Physically enhanced humans (Wolverine, Angel, Toad; generate no energy. With surgery, could pass for normal humans)

Physical post-humans (Beast, Glob Herman, Beakman; bear little or no physical resemblance to humans anymore)

The last category have difficulty mating with humans, and with most other types of mutants. I’m just surprised that all five of these types are lumped together under a single label.

Actually, as I remember it, what makes them mutants is the presence of the X Gene, which seems to be the common genetic proponent. The powers are made possible by the presence of the X-Gene but the powers themselves are not generally heritable.

After checking Wikipedia, I have to say that their description sounds about right, based on what I gleaned from the comics over the years. The article also confirms that the scientific name is Homo sapiens superior. Huh.

It seems to me that the mutant tendency to bitchslaps the laws of thermodynamics would be much more worthy of study than their taxonomy.

By any current system of species classification, the mutants would not constitute either a species or a subspecies. They are simply morphological variants of the species Homo sapiens, no differently classified than ordinary albinos, dwarfs, giants, or people with six fingers. Merely possessing a single unusual gene would not classify them as a separate species.

According to the Biological Species Concept, the mutants would have to comprise a population that was genetically isolated from ordinary humans - they would have to rarely or never produce offspring with ordinary humans, but regularly produce fertile offspring by breeding among themselves. (It’s OK if they are interfertile with regular humans, just as long as they rarely mate with them.)

There are other species concepts, but these would require that the mutants all share some identifiable trait (besides a single gene), which they do not. Likewise, classification as a subspecies would require them to share an identifiable trait, not just a gene.

I’m not sure what you mean by that last line…few of even the most unusual looking Mutants no longer retain generally human form. Glob Herman is the only one of your examples that doesn’t.

Beast is quite the ladies’ man, to boot - He’s currently got a kinky sexual relationship going with a completely human looking alien woman. (He was also an example of your ‘physically enhanced human’ until his secondary mutation kicked in.)

And Beak…Beak’s got kids. A lot of kids. (Granted, his wife had wings, so you might be counting her in this list, too, but the wings are the only thing that made her look like anything other than an average, fairly attractive, young woman.)

Homo sapiens superior seems a good - if politically charged - designation for them, if you feel they need to be separated from Homo sapiens sapiens - they are clearly humans, but the X-gene can be argued to make them a distinct population.

Hank USED to be quite a ladies’ man. After he went from ape to cat, his prospects apparently declined; Trish Tilby dumped pretty quickly, I seem to recall.

Moreover, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of Hank’s Avengers-era studliness was–well, not TALK, but unconsummated. His charm is a self-defense mechanism; it masks a lot of pain, and I seriously doubt he’d have ever followed through with most of the women he dated, because deep down he thought their attraction to him was either un-genuine or unhealthy.

Homo sapiens superior is an IDIOTIC name for them. It screams “We are going to supplant you, take your goods for our own, kill the vast majority of you, and keep only those of your women we find attractive around for raping purposes.” I don’t know what the hell Xavier was thinking when he started using the term.

Trish broke up with him, because bigotted news reporting (calling her relationship with him ‘bestiality’) was hurting her reputation, not directly because of Hank’s appearance.

And soon after the fallout from that ended (in comics terms, anyway - something like 6-7 years realtime*), he hooked up with SWORD agent Abigail Brand. (Who is, pardon the pun, hot.)

So, I stand by the statement that Beast is a ladies’ man, still.

  • I only just got back into X-Men, so I’m not 100% on when he and Brand actually got together.

At this point we’re just arguing about subtext, and said arguments are impossible to resolve until the subtext becomes text. But I remember two or three Avengers comics from the 80s and 70s which seemed to imply that, as much as he partied, Hank was deeply lonely.

Oh, his older relationships were far from healthy, and Hank was clearly deeply insecure*, but that’s really a separate point from the one I was making - Hank’s perfectly physically capable of having relations with ordinary human women, and hasn’t had any real trouble finding women willing to look past his varyingly unusual looks, aside from Trish’s reaction to being accused of bestiality. Which again, doesn’t paint her in the best light (a better reaction would have been ‘he’s perfectly human, despite the fur’), but her problem wasn’t really his looks.


  • It occurs, actually, that his relationship with Brand, despite their describing it as ‘playing alien sex pervert’ is pretty much the healthiest he’s ever been in.

Once he turned blue and furry, whom other Trish did he ever actually date (as opposed to dancing with non-comittally).

ETA: I don’t mean that as a snarky or rhetorical question. I keep thinking there must be someone, but I’m having a brain fart.

Offhand, the only one I can name from his Avengers years is Patsy Walker. Not an Avengers fan.


But…but…but…THOR, man! The freaking GOD of THUNDER! How can you not love them for Thor alone?

I never thought Patsy was his girlfriend, but I’ve not read much Avengers with her in it.

The other problem with the vague “mutants” label is that there isn’t any difference between them and humans for a sufficiently accurate scan. The future Sentinels eventually got messed up because they could no longer tell the difference, and not because there was nothing left but mutants, but because they got better and finding them.

“Mutant” seems to be a generic term for “somebody with inborn super-powers, except when we don’t call them mutants, for some reason.”

Could be worse. Take the case of Mr. Immortal of the GLA (and whatever other various names they’ve used over the years). He’s a mutant, but not homo superior. A few years back it was revealed that he was actually homo supreme!

At least he’s just one guy. The political tone-deafness of calling yourself “Homo superior” is breathtaking. They’re making their enemies’ case for them. It’s like a guy avenging his wife’s sexual violation by calling hmself Rape-Man. J. Jonah Jameson is not going to give him any slack.

Some hipster named Vera, if I remember correctly. Mostly from his Defenders (or Champions, I get them confused) days,