The Phylogeny of Magical Creatures

There are many species, besides wizards and witches, which have inherent magical attributes. Magical properties are also inherent is some plant species. These magical flora and fauna are an integral part of wizard culture, which we have cultivated and coexisted with for centuries. In some of these creatures the presence of magic is more obvious, such as the Demiguise, a giant ape with long silvery hair that can vanish completely and instantly. In some cases the presence of magic is more subtle, such as the Kneazle, indistinguishable from a common house cat.

Some of these species even possess sentience, which is the ability to think intelligently, feel emotions, and act freely. This means that humans are not the only intelligent species on the planet (not even the most intelligent species on the planet). Goblins, Vampires, Werewolves, Merepeople, and Giants can interact with humans without any technical problems. They may not like each other, to the point of homicide, but that is more of a cultural problem than a technical one. They can form complex social structures, legal systems, and languages. The Goblin language, Gobbledegook, is famous for having single words for concepts that need several sentences to describe them in English, and 147 unique terms for money. Werewolves are human, with 14 exceptions every year. Vampires were human; they procreate by ██████████████████ their human victims (you don't want to know).

Other species fall into a grey area between irrefutable sentience and basic animal instinct. House Elves are reasonably intelligent, by all accounts they are emotional, and they even possess comparatively powerful magic. However, they have no free will. Their desires and decisions are always a reflection of someone else's needs. It is unknown if this is the absence of sentience or extreme co-dependence. Centaurs fervently claim to have intelligence that far outstrips humans. This statement is contradicted by the fact that they still live in the woods. Their claim to fame is their ability to divine the future from the stars. However, their predictions are less of a forecast and more of a vague statement about a looming threat. More humble centaurs will freely admit that the whole thing is hit or miss. Trolls are famously stupid, it's not uncommon for them to be outsmarted by dogs. In spite of this handicap, in their natural habitat in the mountains they live in communities, they make and use tools, and they even domesticate animals. How they outsmarted these animals is something of a mystery. It's often contended that their language consists of grunting and pointing. This is untrue, they communicate using infrasound, sound so low pitched that it's inaudible to humans. This gives them the advantage of being able to talk to each other through solid rock.

Ghosts and Poltergeists are ostensibly sentient, but they freely admit not being, and clearly has-beens. They are just an echo of someone who once lived and has now left. They are no more than a phantasmagorical footprint left in the ether. They are not free floating souls, as evidenced by the fact that the ghosts display distinctly human psychology. They desire to taste food, and they retain a fear of death. Souls are immortal and don't fear death any more than a cat fears a goldfish and don't hunger for food any more than a rock.

While wizarding society was hiding from muggles, there was a concerted effort to keep magical creatures in hiding as well. While Goblins can be relied upon to be surreptitious, a dragon doesn't give two flaming farts about secrecy. Most muggles are quite happy to go about their lives comforted by their belief that everything can be easily understood and clearly labeled. If they saw so much as a gnome running across the lawn it would shatter their whole world view and there would be rioting in the streets. The existence of dragons is probably one of the wizarding world's worst kept secrets. Leaked information also includes pegasus, sphinx, manticore, unicorn, and the phoenix, among others. There were some fortunate instances where muggles had free range with magical creatures and never realized the species magical properties. A Spanish galleon once stumbled upon an island that had a large population of Diricawl, a flightless bird that can teleport out of harm's way in a puff of feathers. The Spaniards named them 'Dodos' and when the Diricawl teleported to the neighboring island to escape being lightly breaded and fried, the Spaniards assumed that the poor creatures had been hunted to extinction. Muggles are aware of the existence of Octopus, but have never discovered their vast dark magic powers, though I can't imagine why.

The magical phylum has been intertwined with wizarding society for as long as there has been a wizarding society. There was a large scholarly movement to study the natural history of magical creatures to better understand the origins of magic. This movement was catalyzed by the discovery by muggles of what they called Dinosaurs, reptiles bigger than houses. Wizards immediately scrambled to destroy as many of these as possible operating under the assumption that the muggles had stumbled upon ancient dragon skeletons. This initiative was discontinued when no conclusive proof of magic had been found in the fossils, and the muggle paleontologists were finding more fossils than could be destroyed without raising even further questions. The muggles seemed quite content with the explanation that these were giant extinct animals and never brought up the possibility of magic.

Magizoologists studied these same fossils to better understand the natural history of magic and possibly even understand the origin of magic. Perhaps they could find the skeletons of whoever built the city of walls so long ago. They never got any answers about that ancient city, but they did discover the origins of the dragon. To their great surprise, Dragons are newer to the world than the invention of writing paper. A dig in Mongolia found a protodragons alongside the ancient bodies of ash encrusted humans. There was documented evidence of large reptiles living in the same region in the same time period. So long ago, some wizards and witches ingrained magic into a local species. Perhaps they thought they could travel on the backs of giant winged reptiles. Perhaps they thought fire breathing lizards would defend them from invading hordes. Whatever their motivation, their creation destroyed them and then spread all over the planet, adapting to new environments, meeting new people, and barbecuing them.

A similar explanation is passed around by Goblins. They maintain that the 'Old Potter Woman' who built their city of On Beh, was both fully human and the progenitor of Goblinkind. Apparently, humans were the first occupants of the underground city of On Beh and adapted their physiology for a subterranean lifestyle.

The origins of centaurs are often speculated, though never voiced out loud.

Merepeople can trace their origins back to the sunken city of Atlantis.

Today it is generally agreed that all magical creatures were instantiated by a witch or wizard. This was substantiated by the Montefiore Guild's creation of the Ethereal Whale (they passed up the idea of ethereal shark). The general acceptance of this theory killed house elf rights movement. It was reasoned that if they were designed for domestic work without compensation, then that's what they should do. This does not logically justify showing them reckless cruelty, but some people still do it all the same.

It is postulated that, in the same way wizards imbued other species with magic, someone (something) imbued humanity with it in the first place. There could be a species, a civilization even, as hidden from wizards as wizards were hidden from muggles.