While wandering a new planet in No Man’s Sky, you’re going to discover animals unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Once you’ve found one it’s, both a blessing and a curse that you get to name it.

Since you can’t rename anything once it’s found, you have to make sure it’s good, though once you’ve discovered a planet full of nothing but freaky dogs, inspiration runs thin. In fact, naming might be one of the most stressful parts of the game’s very chill playing experience. The answer to this stress? Taking a page from Linnaeus and creating your own taxonomic naming system.

Biologists use the naming system to identify evolutionary relationships between different species, or highlight unique characteristics of a new one. Today, genetics makes relationships relatively easy to discover, but in the 18th century, when Linnaeus was designing the system, he was going off appearance and behavior.

So many species to name, so little time.
So many species to name, so little time.

There are a few broad rules about scientific names. First, every name has to be unique. Second, scientific names have two parts — the first word represents the genus (larger family), and the second is the unique identifier of the species.

On a planet of freaky dogs, step one is to create a genus name for your first canine. In classic scientific nomenclature you would use Latin for scientific names, so here you would use Canis as the genus name. Next is the species name, which is used to represent something unique about the animal. If the particular dog-thing is purple, you might choose the Latin word for purple as the species name.

The trick is that in scientific names, the gender of the Latin word in the genus name dictates the gender of the species name. Since “Canis” is masculine in Latin, all the species names have to be in the masculine version of that word. Luckily, purple is masculine in Latin, so Canis Purpureus would totally fly in the biological world … most likely.

Now, while you may not want to stick to the classical Latin gender-matching scientific naming system, calling your dog-things “Doggo Purplehead” and “Doggo Lil-Wings” can make your life much easier. Not only does it take some of the pressure of naming away, but it gives you a fast way to remember what all the animals you found are generally like. When you decide to go back to places you’ve been, being able to quickly see it’s the planet of “Doggos” and not the planet of “Yuckbugs” will make a difference.

Photos via No Man's Sky (1, 2)

Dyani Sabin is a science writer from small-town Ohio transplanted to New York City. Former biology researcher and library supervisor, you can also find her writing at Scienceline.