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I realize we cannnot necessarily apply our Terran classifications to all Star Wars aliens, but it is clear that many aliens are intended to be obviously primate, feline, reptilian, insectoid, etc.

In doing a cursory search, I found this article that explains that Yoda was originally going to be played by a monkey in a mask (!).

The green suggests a reptile, but of course, the hair and the wide variety of colours of humanoids in Star Wars suggest otherwise. Do we even know if he's warm-blooded? Is Grogu's liking of frogs (for a snack) meaningful evidence?

Do we have any in-universe or out-of-universe evidence of what classification of animal Yoda's species is?

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    So “what species is Yoda?” Is not asking what the species of Yoda is?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Feb 25 at 17:31
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    @TheLethalCarrot The intent of the question seems to be more like "what taxonomic class or order is Yoda", which would (presumably) be answered by knowing his species, but can also (hypothetically) be answered without it.
    – Milo P
    Feb 25 at 17:40
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    @TheLethalCarrot - I think we can ask what class of animal he is without knowing his species name. I've no idea what this thing is, but it's clearly a mammal of some description.
    – Valorum
    Feb 25 at 17:40
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    And on reflection, learning the name of his species wouldn't necessarily tell us anything about sort of animal he is.
    – Valorum
    Feb 25 at 17:43
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    @Valorum “it's clearly a mammal of some description” — I’m not sure we can confidently say that without seeing its infant suckling on its teat, and I’m not messing up my search history looking for that. Feb 25 at 18:17

1 Answer 1

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Official evidence

The only official sources I've found that explicitly describe Yoda's species don't offer any definite answer to what type of organism he is. That said, here's the relevant information that is offered:

  • The New Essential Guide to Alien Species (2006, Legends) characterizes the species based on the examples of Yoda, Yaddle, and Vandar (from Knights of the Old Republic). It describes the species as "bipedal" and "humanoid" and characterizes it as having hair and "gnarled fingers". The only "new" information is a a mention of the species's "strange tastes in food, often consuming meals that others could not even bear to smell", although this could just be in- or out-of-universe extrapolation from Yoda's rootleaf stew.
    • Note that its classification as "humanoid" doesn't answer this either way, since explicitly reptilian species such as Duros are also described as humanoid within the same guide.
  • The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (2008, Legends) doesn't have an entry for it.
  • Alien Archive (2019, Canon) doesn't describe the species at all, just listing it under the name "Unknown" and describing its "ancient and secretive nature", then including a biography of Yoda.

Speculatively, it's unlikely that this will ever be answered definitively, for the same reasons that Yoda's species hasn't been explored—George Lucas felt that any definition of Yoda's background would be detrimental to the character, and Lucasfilm under Disney seems to feel the same way.

Speculation

  • Every member of Yoda's species seen so far (Yoda, Yaddle, Grogu, and Legends examples Vandar and Minch) has had hair. On Earth this would imply that they were mammalian.
  • Yoda's species also has forward-facing eyes, which in real life (according to Wikipedia) is typically only seen in vertebrates among primates, carnivorous mammals, and birds of prey.
    • Note, however, that this isn't necessarily the case in Star Wars—reptilian aliens such as Trandoshans also have forward-facing eyes.
  • Yoda's species also has visible ear pinnae, which in real life only exist in mammals.
  • Likewise for cheeks.
  • We see Grogu eat small animals and eggs in The Mandalorian, and Yoda eats rootleaf stew in The Empire Strikes Back and hunts for meat in the canon comic The Trial of Dagobah. This indicates that the species is omnivorous. This, however, doesn't shed much light on what type of animal the species is, since mammals, reptiles, and birds can all be omnivores.
  • In works such as Clone Wars (2003, Legends) and the arc of The Clone Wars on Ilum, where Yoda has been seen in cold environments, he hasn't shown obvious signs of discomfort:

Screenshot of Yoda on Ilum in The Clone Wars

He also sometimes wears a hooded cloak in the cold, which would be of limited use for a cold-blooded creature:

Screenshot of Yoda in a cloak on Ilum in Clone Wars (2003)

He also uses a blanket on Dagobah, which would be actively unhelpful for a cold-blooded creature near a fire:

Screenshot of Yoda under a blanket in Return of the Jedi

From this, it seems likely that Yoda's species is warm-blooded.

Given the evidence that we have, Yoda's species appears to be closer to primates than to any other real-world type of animal. That said, it's unclear whether these similarities were deliberate, or if the creators of these works just gave the species human-like attributes out of familiarity (see TVTropes: Humanoid Aliens).

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