In the movie Underworld awakening the talk is of that the Lycans and the Vampires are a new species.

But at the start of the film, the narration of Dr. Jacob Lane says that the afflicted are infected and have no cure.

Which is it, are they a new species or are they infected with a disease?

  • “The three sons of the Corvinus Clan,” he observed with a tone of wry amusement. “One bitten by bat, one by wolf, one to walk the lonely road of mortality as an ordinary human.” The Elder snorted scornfully. “A ridiculous legend, nothing more.” - The implication is that they're genetic mutants and that their DNA is somehow transgenic with bats and wolves. That would indeed make them a distinct species.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 10:42
  • @Valorum, why does Dr. Jacob Lane say there is no cure? He speaks of a disease.
    – KyloRen
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 10:55
  • The word "disease" covers a multitude of actual conditions; infections, deficiency diseases, genetic diseases (hereditary and non-hereditary), and physiological diseases. In this instance there seems to be a range of things going on, some genetic (hereditary), some genetic (non-hereditary).
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 11:01
  • @Valorum, but you can't mix up a species with a disease, they two completely different things. No matter which way you look at it.
    – KyloRen
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 11:05
  • 2
    In this case the transgenic elements act like a parasite, subsuming the host's DNA. At this point, we're into scifi so you can call it a species, a disease or a wondoggleboggle if you like.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 11:08

1 Answer 1


Defining what is a "species" is a complex topic in real-world science, even moreso when you introduce fantasy species into the mix, so it's hard to say, but I'd lean towards calling them not species.

There are two main reason why I'd dispute the term "species":

Transmitted vs. Inherited

While we do eventually see that the lycan and vampire conditions are inherited by offspring, the primary means of transmission is by a lycan or vampire biting a normal human. At that point, some vaguely defined process changes the person into a supernatural being. That has all the hallmarks of an infectious disease that is passed down to children, as opposed to a genetically inherited trait.

Indeed, the whole point of the first movie is that Alexander Corvinus's offspring -- who are all human -- have some genetic mutation they inherited from Corvinus that causes their body to do something unusual when it gets infected with some particular disease. They transform it into a different strain of that disease, which causes lycanthropy/vampirism in anyone else it infects. So, if anything, those are "inherited conditions caused by an infectious disease."


While it's not 100% perfect, one of the most basic "rules of thumb" for a species is that they don't breed with other species because it's physiologically or physically impossible (e.g. the offspring are always infertile, their anatomy is incompatible; etc.)

It's pretty clear that vampire and lycan can breed and produce offspring, because we see such an event in the movie on multiple occasions. (It's what started the war in the first place.) They choose not to for social/cultural reasons, not for any biological reasons.

I will admit that we don't know if any such offspring would be able to reproduce on their own, so this may end up being a red herring, but absent more information, it's a pretty strong indicator that they are the same species.


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