Why do OS owners get so protective of their species designs?
Okay so tell me, have you ever tried to make a cohesive, unique original species? It's not the easiest thing in the world to make a species design that stands out from the rest, it IS a difficult thing to accomplish, and more often then not if the person is taking time to draw and develop a species, it's something they're attached to, proud of, it's a product of their hard work. It is utterly devastating when you spend that much time and effort on something and care about it so much, and someone who admires your work and wants to do something similar uses your design as a step-stool so that they don't have to do as much work. Now I know it's not always the case, after all our minds are incredible things that store everything we experience, it's not impossible that when trying to create an original species of your own, you accidentally draw up ideas based on things you've seen or read without even realizing it. I'm sure more then half the people that do copy a species design don't do it for malicious reasons or even know they're doing it at all, but that doesn't change the how it makes the original creator feel when they see this. People will react differently, SOMETIMES ridiculously, and it's the ridiculous reactions that get shared with everyone else and spread around, giving others the impression that every time this happens it is violent and silly (this is also fueled by the emotions of either side of the conflict, we tend to only tell the parts that side with our own and sometimes even stretch the truth to make things look worse). In short, your assumptions about OS owners, when negative, are WRONG. Not everyone is like that, and by going around and saying they are, you are perpetuating a generalization over a large group based on something a very small amount of people actually did. Never assume you know the way someone is going to react about something unless you have seen first-hand evidence.
Original species is an invalid term, all OS designs are a mixture of existing species!
Now I may be wrong, but I was always under the impression that the term original species applied in this manner referred to the specific design as a whole, not by the parts it was created with. Dog paws do not make an OS, but an OS can have dog paws, yes?
There are only so many things to draw inspiration from for an OS, therefore similarities are inevitable.
This is true, similarities are inevitable for this reason! Did you think I was going to say otherwise? No, there are definitely going to be ideas that look sort of alike, especially based on how raw the design is. By raw, I'm referring to how closely it resembles a real-life species, like a wolf for example. If your OS is a wolf with wings and horns, of course someone is going to have a similar design to it. The more and more you polish a design to look a specific way, the less likely someone is going to make a species exactly like it by pure coincidence. My fumis for example, are very very specific, unless it was brought up by someone's subconscious, I can't imagine someone thinking up a species exactly like them by pure coincidence. It is much more likely for someone to make a species that looks exactly like someone's hornedwingedwolf then it is for someone to make one exactly like my fumis. When on the topic of original species copying, this needs to be taken into account.
I can't make an OS because they've already all been thought of!
No, no nononono, when you look at the statement 'there are only so many things to draw inspiration from for an OS, therefore similarities are inevitable' that doesn't mean nothing new can be thought of. There is a VAST amount of species traits to use for your own species, plus themes, different ways to warp those features, ect. and the ways to mix and combine those features is HUGE, I HIGHLY doubt we could think of all the possibilities for original species within the lifetime of the human race, even with us being limited to what we have! The problem is, you're trying to restrict yourself to the things that have already been used in the community, you need to isolate yourself from the community completely and gather inspiration from the world around you, limiting yourself like this would be a shame. I know it's frustrating, especially if you're a beginner in the original species business, because like I mentioned before, it ISN'T easy, and like everything in life we will want to look at those who succeeded to figure out how to do it. We can't keep doing that though, nothing new and unique will be thought of, we'll all just be using the same things over and over again and the species we once admired for their uniqueness will no longer be so!