A book that I'm currently writing called Surge features an enemy faction called the Degenerates that are heavily inspired by the Scythians (Indo-Iranian horse nomads that ruled the Eurasian Steppe and Central Asia from the 9th century BC to the 1st century CE) and consists mostly of humans parasitized by a prehistoric worm-like endoparasite called Echidna, which parasitizes and radically alters the entire physiology of a wide variety of organisms from the phylum Chordata.

Parasitized humans are transformed into nocturnal humanoids that are facultative quadrupedals and divided into three distinct subspecies, named after the sons of Hercules and Echidna (all of which were ancestors of the Scythians):

  • Agathyrsus (Physically imposing and immensely strong Degenerates used mostly as shock troops, cataphracts and heavy infantry)

  • Gelonus (Lightly-built and multi-armed Degenerates which act as scouts, light infantry and cavalry whose purpose is to advance beyond their own front lines for the intent of harassing enemies from afar)

  • Scythes (Degenerates that have excellent vision and are deployed as marksmen and mounted riflemen, who engage their targets at long range).

Human-spawned Degenerates can only reproduce by giving live birth to thousands of Echidnae that are used to convert more humans into potential Degenerates, due to the Echidnae hijacking their reproductive system. Because of this, Degenerates are constantly capturing humans to use as hosts and have compact skulls with specialized jaws that can grasp and carry envenomated humans by the neck, allowing them to be brought underground for conversion. I have no idea what sort of jaws such a creature would have, especially ones that have teeth for consuming plants and meat along with a set of myotoxic fangs used to paralyse humans.

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    $\begingroup$ Are these Degenerates still humanoid? Or do they walk on all fours? And what size are they? I'm having trouble picturing a humanoid picking up another humanoid in it's jaws... $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 10:33
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    $\begingroup$ It's not simply a matter of jaws and teeth. To carry an entire human using their jaw they would need neck, shoulder and back support (muscles, skeleton, etc. ) to prevent injury. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ And another small tip: you might want to use the tag creature-design for your question because that's basically what you are doing. As you can only have a maximum of 5 tags you would need to decide which one to replace. I'd recommend the general biology as creature-design already implies that (in a sense). $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 10:50
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    $\begingroup$ I agree, you cannot carry people by their neck without killing them. Also, how do they breathe with myotoxin in their system? I suggest that since some of them seem to have hands you just carry people normally, possibly even with carts or similar aids. And use a poison with sedative or hypnotic effect instead of myotoxin. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 11:35
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    $\begingroup$ A question that goes into a different direction, but wants to have a creature that can drag quite a lot of weight: Building a Giant Spider. You might get some inspiration from some of the answers. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


You want a creature with a human skeleton which can carry an adult human in its mouth. The problem with doing it like a cat is that humans have no scruff. I proposed this method here How to make a saddle for a feline mount but the dwarves being carried wear special scruff-shirts.

For your creature, starting with the base human plan, the modifications you need are great but not impossible I don't think; the fang is the hardest. It would be more difficult to achieve starting with an adult; you might want to assert that the Degenerates who are so modified are exclusively those who are initially captured and transformed as babies. Adults go on to become other types.

A gorilla jaw is close to ours and would work to carry humans. They have big flat herbivore teeth and two tusklike canines at the front which would help keep a human body from rolling forward.

gorilla jaw https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260040771_Ontogenetic_Variation_in_the_Mandibular_Ramus_of_Great_Apes_and_Humans

A gorilla jaw is not long enough to fit a human body on the chewing teeth behind the incisors. I measure this jaw to be 6 cm; I think you would need 36-40 cm of tooth expanse to let the body rest atop the teeth.

You could accomplish this by giving your creature a very horizontally elongated skull like that of a horse.

horse skull https://www.amazon.com/3B-Scientific-T30017-Horse-Caballus/dp/B005DTI8PW

Or you could just greatly exaggerate the jaw and have it protrude out, with our without teeth. Those protruding teeth would have no corresponding upper teeth. An expanse of toothless gingiva with the tusks in front would be fine for carrying a body. An exaggerated mandible is called mandibular prognathism.

manidibular prognathism Persons with pituitary gigantism (like Andre the Giant) have problems with this since for whatever reason the mandible can keep growing after the rest of the adult has reached maximal skeletal growth.

You also need to adjust the stance or your creature will be way overbalanced forward. The gorilla again - gorilla stance would be a much better way to carry a weight on the jaw.

gorilla stance https://gorillafund.org/giranezas-group-involved-in-another-interaction/

You would need to greatly augment the neck and jaw muscles which would get your head looking like a gorilla also.

So: your humanoid which carries other humans in its jaws would look like a large gorilla, go as a quadruped when carrying, and have a very elongated jaw or muzzle with huge anterior canines, so the carried body could simply rest on the jaw with no bite force being necessary to retain it.

This thing would be formidable too - when not carrying people the combination of strong neck and jaw muscles and those giant anterior teeth would let it fight like a boar. I suspect the flat teeth would mean it is a herbivore - no shame there.

Re the fangs - they will get in the way and risk being broken off. Consider that these could be extensible like cat claws, to keep them out of the way when fighting / eating. The venom fang might be better not on the jaw - male platypi have poison spines on their legs.


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