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Oh my that title is a mouthful, but as a parody of the super solider questions and as an efficient way of organizing these questions I will now start this series of questions about Pseudo-Arthropod Primates.

As an overview of what these creatures exactly are well, they aren't any more related to arthropods than you or me. Just think of armadillo armor placed on primates to make a humanoid arthropod look alike.

Now for the question, in order to make these pseudo-arthropods live up to their name they are gonna need to mimic the most famous traits of arthropods, the exoskeleton. And that is where my question comes in, s it possible to make a mammalian shell that meets the requirements below?

  • Needs to cover this area of the creature\ enter image description here pretend the dark green is the exoskeleton
  • Work with mammalian skin with minimal changes to it
  • Smooth looking and not leathery looking like an armadillo shell
  • Needs to be biological
  • the weaker version still needs to be able to take a lot hits, damage and even the impact of falls
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enter image description here Pangolins have shiny, smooth armor. It comes in scales rather than big armadillo-style plates, but apparently that's still good enough to stop a lion's bite.

enter image description here Glyptodonts were about the size of a combination washer/dryer and had massive armored backs, but it seems that they, like their armadillo relatives, had leathery skin.

What I'm not seeing are any mammals with large, continuous, smooth armor plates that resemble arthropods. This makes me wonder if there is a ventilation issue. Skin is important for temperature control, and covering skin up with armor could be a problem. Armadillos have skin stretched over their armor, so that works for them but is the source of your leathery look conundrum. Pangolin armor is made of keratin (as ani ben notes, the same material as finger nails), but I'm guessing that's not a problem because it comes in scales so they can still expose their skin to the air in the interstitial spaces. You might have to choose between small shiny scales and large leathery plates; I'm not finding any examples of both among mammals.

You could also use this challenge as an opportunity to create something novel. If temperature control is an issue, maybe they have stegosaurus-style fins, or lots of weird pointy spikes coming off its back. Pick a funky shape that might work as a radiator and run with it.

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Sure, I'd imagine the shell could be made out or a protein akin to... alpha keratin? So, it would be like the humanoid has a huge fingernail appendage all over their body. Either that, or the humanoid could have a modified spine adaptation that has bones going out of the skin and plates covering the body like an armadillo. Since bones grow slower than fingernails, you can decide whether the humanoid can regrow their exoskeleton or not. You have a few different ways you can go about this: for instance, if they molt, then it might be better to have them possess armor made of alpha keratin. The fingernail adaptation could be weaker than the bone adaptation, or the creature can have armor that's a combination of the two (think horns in bovine animals).

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