continuing from the question I had asked yesterday, I have had another query come to mind. For my humanoid alien species to possess horns, it would surely put forward the risk of being the shortcut to a fatal neck injury, as they'd act as handlebars. These horns serve the purpose for additional hearing aid, disapating of excess heat and 'mating charms'. Is there a way without heavily altering the humanoid body shape or horns to result in a stronger neck structure to strengthen the neck against snapping by the literal handlebars?

One idea I have had is to lower the heads of the species, or perhaps bringing them forward, to emulate a similar bodily structure of the Krogan from Mass Effect.

enter image description here

(Not my art, but a reference for the Krogan from Mass Effect)

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    $\begingroup$ How are sheep different? Some of them have some pretty insane horns, of all different sizes and shapes too, but I don't know any being more prone to neck injury (getting stuck on things, yes). Their necks are angled differently from humans because of the walking on 4 legs vs 2, but they have fairly long necks. What am I missing? $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole Jan 27 '19 at 2:11
  • $\begingroup$ The horns can be easily grabbed on to, which can be pushed sharply one side to ensure a neck snap. Could prove a threat in their early evolution. $\endgroup$ – TurnWall Jan 27 '19 at 2:18
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    $\begingroup$ So are you saying the issue isn't so much that they have horns but that they have arms with a prehensile grip (and that are unnecessary for standing/walking)? So that one member of the species would grab the horns on purpose when fighting with another? But sheep can't do that. (Though sheep, or more often, deer, can lock horns and then twist.) $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole Jan 27 '19 at 2:21
  • $\begingroup$ Not sheep directly, but potential animals within the world that could exploit this weakness prior to their signs of proper civilization during hunting and what not. $\endgroup$ – TurnWall Jan 27 '19 at 2:24
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    $\begingroup$ Okay, that just confused me more. I can see one humanoid exploiting the weakness of horns that they can grab to get more torque (and grip) for breaking a neck. But I don't see non-bi-pedal animals doing it. I don't think sheep are affecting the humanoids, I just used them as an example of animals with big horns that don't make them more prone to neck injury. $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole Jan 27 '19 at 2:27

Wonderful drawing!

You do need a neck (spinal connection between the head and chest) if only to act as a channel for the spinal cord (I'm assuming the brain is in the head). So, IMO, all suggestions must protect the spinal cord. Because of this, IMO, you can't shape the bones to limit how much twisting they'll permit because a hard enough yank will turn those boney protrusions into quick paralyzation.

  • Thicker bones and stiffer cartilage. Pros: no significant change to the way the cretaure looks. Cons: makes it harder to move the head, which makes it harder to hear and see. That's a serious defensive drawback.

  • Shorter neck. Your drawing suggests you actually have a longer neck. Pros: thee's less to twist. Cons: you'll have to change your picture.

  • Seiously buff neck muscles. Pros: your efforts to twist his head off will probably result in an evil chuckle, when he flexes his muscles, the necklaces pop off, chicks dig him. Cons: There aren't many cons. You lose a bit of flexibility (can't rotate the head as far), but muscles are the first-level shock absorbers. You really don't want to trust to what comes after them.

  • Tendons between the skull and shoulders. This has all the benefits of reshaping the bones (which I said in paragraph #1 you shouldn't do) but not the drawbacks. Tendons will usually break before bones and cartilage, so they act as anchors. Cons: you can only turn your head so far.

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    $\begingroup$ While I'm honored to have my answer selected, I would like to recommend that you uncheck it and wait for at least 24 hours. We have participants all over the world - and human nature is to see that you've selected an answer and not bother to even read the question. Ultimately, this robs you of a considerable amount of imagination and creativity (and possibly a better answer!). $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 27 '19 at 4:52

They are brittle and snap right off.

Most mammals with horns use them to fight conspecifics. They have to be durable enough to fight with.

But secondary sex characteristics can be just for show, not for fighting. Your hornlike organs are for show, hearing and heat transfer. They don't need to be robust. Have them break off if stressed. There is not much to them and it is the matter of a week to grow another set.

Although if they are for heat transfer they are probably full of blood. Breaking them off will be a mess, so go outside for that please.


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