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Let me not answer your question but say something related, on the point of
biology.
When the subject of biological nomenclature comes up in projects of an engy
inclination, it tends to be assumed more or less tacitly that the correct
classification to reflect linguistically is phylogeny, as opposed say to
something more functional, like grouping creatures by environmental niche. 
I don't see why that's so clearly the right thing.  I expect the latter to
be probably more relevant to typical relationships humans have with
organisms, and therefore more useful when discussing matters other than
phylogeny.  And there's lots that one might unify, i.e. there's lots of
convergent evolution (e.g. see
http://akana.dreamersdisease.de/viewtopic.php?p=795#p795)

For instance, you invoke whales not being fish, but fish aren't a clade to
begin with!  Wikipedia on fish saith
| Indeed, lungfish and coelacanths are closer relatives of tetrapods (such as
| mammals, birds, amphibians, etc.) than of other fish such as ray-finned fish 
| or sharks, so the last common ancestor of all fish is also an ancestor to 
| tetrapods.
So structure your lexis too phylogenetically, and you can't talk about fish.
 Maybe that's okay?


At any rate, the last time I considered this question was for the gripping
language, with Sai, where the structure of the set of forms forces us into
using taxonomies of prescribed shapes with children of prescribed sizes
(doing violence to what's natural at every step of the way).  We wholly
embraced folk taxonomy: our top few levels for animals are currently
specified as
* Proper animals (~= mammals)
- work animals & pets
- pests
- animals raised for their flesh or products (cows, llamas, bees, ...)
- wild carnivores
- ones that lots of things regularly prey on
- ones that not much preys on
* Fish and birds
[unelaborated]
* Marginal animals
- reptiles & amphibians
- lower bugs
- parasites
- worm-like things
- little bugs that don't do much
- higher bugs (ones that do distinctive things, mostly?)
- magic animals
- icky-weird ones
- neutral-weird ones
- microscopic ones

Alex