29

enter image description here

As far as I can remember it's been there for all of the 1.5 series I've watched so far, and no one's ever commented on it. Does it have any particular significance or is it just a random object?

  • 2
    Just started watching TOS: Obsession, and in the first sickbay scene there's a shot showing the lizard and the wall to the right with other similarly-sized random objects which looked like a collection of some kind, so maybe he was one shelf short. No idea what it's a collection of though. – Ixrec Sep 6 '15 at 15:23
  • Mmmmmm... Fan Fiction... Good Luck Charm – Firebat Sep 7 '15 at 12:34
  • Looks like a Komodo dragon to me, rather than either a salamander or alligator/crocodile. – Pieter Geerkens Sep 8 '15 at 1:04
  • Maybe it's intended to be some sort of futuristic space caduceus, and thus symbolic of McCoy's profession as a space doctor. – Doug Warren Sep 8 '15 at 13:39
  • I really wonder why they have not corrected this error, regarding the caduceus. It should be rod of asclepius – user001 Sep 8 '15 at 14:02
37

There seems to be no official information whatsoever — in-universe or out-of-universe — concerning McCoy's decorative lizard, which we can see more clearly here in a screenshot from "Amok Time":

enter image description here

But given that McCoy is from Georgia and trained in Mississippi, this could be one of a number of different salamanders commonly seen in the south of the US (as posited by users discussing the ornament on the TrekBBS),

enter image description here

or a southern US gator or crocodile, the latter of which is pictured below:

enter image description here

Given the ornament's flat back and elongated snout a crocodile would be a better fit than a salamander. Crocodiles are also more southern US-centric than salamanders.

In-universe, this would be like McCoy bringing a "little piece of home" into space with him. Out-of-universe, it helps to cement the character's back story.

Finally, while it appears that the ornament might have six legs, I believe the pair that are second from the top are just mounting brackets (they have no hands like the uppermost pair).

Thanks to @T.J.Crowder, @KRyan, and @terdon for their help on this!

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    I wasn't even expecting to get plausible speculation for this question, but that is an eminently believable theory. +1 – Ixrec Sep 6 '15 at 15:41
  • @Ixrec : Glad to be of service. ;-) – Praxis Sep 6 '15 at 15:44
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    Maybe it's a trophy from a Mississippi wild game hunt? A bull salamander attacked the party, and Bones let him have it with his phaser. (They grow 'em big in Mississippi!) – Daniel Griscom Sep 6 '15 at 19:55
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    That looks much more like a small gator than it does a salamander to me. Gators are also much more notable and famously-southern than salamanders. Most famously Florida and Lousiana, but they’re not the only places. – KRyan Sep 7 '15 at 14:31
  • What @KRyan said. Definitely closer to a croc or gator than a salamander. Note the flat, wide back. Salamanders, by the way, are common in most of the Northern hemisphere, hardly a species associated with southern US. – terdon Sep 7 '15 at 17:46
21

The piece on Dr. McCoy's wall is definitely not a lizard nor a salamander from Earth.

First it has a very short tail and an elongated mouth - two things that you won't find on a lizard or salamander from Earth - but most important, it has also two pairs of front arms; each with two digits.

Clearly, this has been put there in order to show that Dr. McCoy has a great interest in astrobiology; the science of biology for planets other than Earth.

(Of course, the exact definition for the term astrobiology would be different in Star Trek than it is today on Earth and they might even use another term.)

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    Good catch with the dual forelegs. You absolutely destroyed the accepted answer with its 36 points! – Mazura Sep 7 '15 at 2:09
  • Now it's at 35 ;) – Mazura Sep 7 '15 at 2:11
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    @Mazura : Thanks for the downvote. :P I'm not sure those extra legs are "legs". I provided the close-up graphic myself and assumed those were mounting brackets (since they don't seem to have hands like the uppermost forelegs do). I've added this to my answer. The TrekBBS has a discussion on McCoy's ornament that also posits it is a salamander. – Praxis Sep 7 '15 at 2:45
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    I'm not sure it is possible to say "Clearly"..."Possibly" is better. :-) – Praxis Sep 7 '15 at 2:54
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    I have tought about the possibility of a mounting brackets but they would have a very strange looking for a mounting brackets and also it doesn't look realistic to have such a visible brackets on a spaceship wall. Furthermore, the big red eyes and possibly the posterior feet don't look from Earth either. In my opinion, they clearly wanted to show us something different from any known species of Earth. – SylvainL Sep 7 '15 at 5:06
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I'm not a spiritualist, but if there's any reason other than it's a decoration, this might be it:

If Lizard is your Animal Totem –spirit-animals.com/lizard/

When Lizard is one of your personal Animal Totems you have the power to regenerate that which is lost. You are prone to repeating some cycles simply because your energy loves [to recreate] your emotional attachments in some way. You are extremely good at facing your fears and moving between realities and “otherworlds”.

[...]

We have an innate ability to recognize danger and can remove ourselves from harm’s [way] when the situation calls for it.

That last one sounds like Debbie-Downer-Bones, to me.

Spirituality aside, lizards do have amazing regenerative abilities; the only animals I can think of that can regrow a lost limb throughout their adult lives. Enabling self-restoration is the holy grail of physicians (and apparently, it still hasn't been found).

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