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would a were-animal count as a therian?


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The strictest definition would be that they would not, @axol_alterhuman, and this largely has to deal with etymology of the word and the general application of it. There are some tangential and peripheral elements to it that change this but generally when individuals frame it this way, it is an inaccurate portrayal as there is a very loosely agreed upon content of what the word "therian" means, as it is derived from "therianthropy".

 

For one, in the language from which it originates, Greek, the prefix of "therian" generally refers to carnivorous, mammalian wild beasts, and "thropy" itself derives from "anthropos", in turn meaning effectively "man". In a literal sense, the word "therianthropy" should be understood as "beastman". Historically the line between if this is "animals who become people" or "people who become animals" such as the classic case of the lycanthrope and thus werewolves and the argument here is not well established as distinctive, but other equally specific language exists that makes these delineations more clear, such as "zoanthropy".

 

So far as the greater community goes in the past, "therianthropy" generally almost exclusively referred to natural, mundane animals that were extant on Earth. Of course, this was and even more now than ever is commonly contested, but there really never seems to have been any discrepancy here; when one says "therianthrope" it appears it was widely understood as an individual who merely was an animal and that was that. Because of this and because of the community's habit of tacking on more prefixes and suffixes to everything rather than just defining terms and categorizing them coherently, we come into a solution but an equally badly agreed upon conclusion. These are the neologisms of "theriomythic" and others "weremythic" or "weretherian", with the former probably being the most appropriate one and which I agree with as the general best application in these circumstances in distinguishing an individual who is merely a wolf from an individual who is a werewolf, as it is the largest possible categorization for exceptions as this and includes other mythic animals, including shapeshifters.

 

So far as can be said, the real reason a "werebat" would not be said to be a "therianthrope" in the etymology of the word and its appropriate use is because it is a creature that is, at least here in our reality, a mythic one; a "werebat" and a mundane bat are not entirely the same things.

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On the other side, if you want to go with the more traditional or still used in some areas definition, yes it could count as a therian. I'd also argue that the earthen animal definition isn't agreed on by the community since I've met many therians who disagree with it. Someone I know did an essay far more in-depth into the topic than I ever could, so I'll link to this essay by Daski. I did grab a lot of my sources from this essay but that's because I didn't have any of them saved in my archive before.

 

The therian as earthen animal definition can be traced to a 2008 forum known as Therian Wilderness. This was a popular forum in the early 2010s, ']and their definition of it can be seen in a 2010 FAQ here where it's stated that therianthropse are a type of otherkin but with earthen animals, and this was actually being argued against on the forums themselves in 2015 as seen here.

 

It's uncertain where exactly Therian Wildnerness came up with the Earthen Animal definition but my personal interpretation at least is that they wanted a difference between otherkin and therian, since if you look at what the FAQ says it emphasizes that difference and states that therians are a type of otherkin. This is something I see too nowadays where if two terms develop without knoweldge of each other's communities they don't want the terms to mean the same thing. It could also have come from the infamous hostility these forums had towards mythical-identifying that the earthen animal definition became overwhelming, since it was hard to argue in a forum that encouraged a hostile environment against you.

 

This idea of non-earthen animals was accepted far earlier. I couldn't actually find the more specific examples but there were dragons and gryphons on alt.horror.werewolves, and even a were-car which is very infamous now.

 

Websites are easier for me to go through and there are many which define therian and don't include the earthen animal defition or acknowledge mythical, such as this example from at most 2004:

There are also weres whose phenotype (what animal they are) is not of this earth, like dragons, and gryphons, though some say these are not weres, but Otherkin.

 

Or this website last updated in 2006:

The variety of theriotypes.... is very long, and even includes some animals which are thought to be mythical or legendary, such as dragons and windigowak. It is possible that there is some relationship between therianthropy (lycanthropy refer to king Lycon, who was changed into a wolf; hence it refers to a "wolf-man"; therianthropy means "animal-man") and the people who refer to themselves as "Otherkin", and who believe that they have the souls of elves, or other "faery"-type beings. This is true particularly of some of the "mythical" therianthropes such as dragons.

 

There is a sizeable portion of the community which did and does define therianthropy as being about the animal rather than being from Earth, and there's a few schools of thought where it's defined as being closer to your relation with shifts though I wouldn't say I agree with that. If you feel that the label defines your animality better than otherkin could then it is open to you and there are spaces which are accepting of theriomythics.

 

Though different communities will use different terminologies, so Kinmunity itself may not welcome the non-earthen definition and their FAQ is the earthen definition, and I'm not sure how it's viewed in this community. If this community takes a hard stance against theriomythics and traditional-term identifiers then I would be more careful identifying as such here. Beyond that, if the term gives you a sense of understanding and is an accurate identifier? Go for it and good luck on your self-discovery!

:calm:

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