14
$\begingroup$

So, lizardfolk are humanoid (and, so, upright) creatures with reptilian features and are also part-time endotherms. They're well-adapted to living in water and on trees to a degree. One adaptation for of that is a large tail that can be used for swimming. Of course, they can and will use their arms as well.

Now, the problem comes from the fact that lizardfolk are bipedal and I'm afraid their tail could end up throwing them off-balance.

In paper, they can use their tails in a number of different ways, including the aforementioned swimming aid and swiping/flicking it. Since the tail has powerful muscles, these move can be effective at stunning human opponents. I'm not sure if they could create an entire martial art around it though.

The question is, what would a lizardfolk's tail actually look like then and how would it avoid causing problems with the creature's balance?

Note: Despite what some people think, lizardfolk do have emotions, though they have trouble communicating them. For that very reason, they tend to avoid social media in every shape or form.


Note: How these lizardfolk are supposed too look like?

In terms of posture, I had the argoninans from Skyrim in mind. However, the reptilian features, like scale type, patterns, color, head shape and tail type came from the Asian water monitor.

enter image description here

$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Per Curiosity's answer, there is no problem here; you just need to keep their center of mass over their feet. This just means that the more their tail sticks out behind them, the more their upper body must lean forward to compensate. They are only off balance if you have them stand up straight with their head and torso all directly over their center of mass (like a human) and don't also keep the tail in line with their center of mass. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Mar 14 at 23:43
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You are probably better off just making them full time endothermic, it is not a mammal exclusive adaptation, dinosaurs managed it just fine. brains need a lot of calories, and they need them all the time regardless of the metabolism, so a big brained ectotherm is just begging for problems. $\endgroup$ – John Mar 15 at 3:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ here an upright lizard jesus $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Mar 15 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ @John My original idea was that if it was possible for tegus to switch endothermy on and off for a set period of time, maybe it's possible to do it on demand (i.e: the lizardfolk's in a cold environment). $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 15 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ You seem to just be describing a bipedal dinosaur. Are you looking for more than that (in which case you should perhaps clarify why)? $\endgroup$ – Tim Mar 15 at 11:39
18
$\begingroup$

First I need to mention that bipedal is different than upright. A t-rex is bipedal, it is not upright. So you may want to clarify what you want.

The tail should actually help balance not hinder it, the trick is they need a forwards sloping torso. The only question you need to answer is how upright you want them. bipedalism evolved more than once in dinosaurs. Some were very horizontal like the classic "raptors" others were more upright, like one of the therizinosaurs (below), who have a nearly 90 degree turn in their spine at the base of the tail, because their tails are small their torso is huge and they have an upright posture. enter image description here

A posture something like this should be possible, if anything the tail shown is too small for the torso shown.

enter image description here

Warhammer does a decent job of it as well.

enter image description here

Of course this depend on the size of the tail as well, the bigger the tail the more forward slung they need o be, that is the more weight of the rest of the body needs to be shifted forward to keep everything balanced.

there are several ways to do this. 1. having long necks and snouts will help move the center of gravity forward. 2. swing the upper body forward, make them "slouch" however the broader and more muscular you make the upper body the less forward slung they need to be, dinosaurs had relatively slim shoulders, more human like shoulders and arms will add more weight to the upper body. 3. Your best bet is to combine the two as shown. Keep in mind you can shift the point of contact for the feet back slightly as the first artist did, that movers the whole center of gravity forward without actually moving the center of gravity.

Also keep in mind they won't have a butt to speak of, a rounded bottom is a mammalian thing, becasue the muscles that move the hind legs don't connect to the tail like it does in everything else.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you want a real example of an upright biped with a long, strong tail, take a look at kangaroos. $\endgroup$ – Jack Mar 15 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Jack kangaroos don't walk upright, heck they can't walk bipedally at all. $\endgroup$ – John Mar 16 at 0:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ they stand upright, and are bipedal when jumping, but for slower walks yes, they use all four limbs. However that is more to do with the shape of their hind legs/feet than anything else, and it should be easy enough to adapt that for a plausible balanced creature. $\endgroup$ – Jack Mar 16 at 1:15
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Jack they stand upright by using the tail as a third leg, an are anatomically in capable of moving their hind limbs independently. They are a horrible example. I already gave examples of real functional bipeds as examples. $\endgroup$ – John Mar 16 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ @John, it's worse than that. Kangaroos can move their hind legs independently, but they only ever do it while swimming, never on land. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Mar 16 at 10:06
11
$\begingroup$

Similar to a t-rex tail, I suppose. They were also bipedal reptiles. Or perhaps like a large bird. If the tail is flexible and quick enough, it would actually help them balance when they're ruining on trees, like it does for cats, monkeys, etc. Since reptile tails are generally thicker and heavier, their torsos would have to be bent forward to counterbalance the tail. Bipedal!

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
7
$\begingroup$

Curly tail

Your lizard folk have tails that curl up and around, like this aptly named curly-tailed lizard.

curly tail lizard

http://lizardsandfriends.org/?p=573

Often these bipedal lizardfolk wear their tails curled around their shoulders, which makes them look buff and helps with the center of gravity. Also helpful is that many of these individuals have two tails which improves symmetry. Liz here shows how how these tails would look. The tails on Liz happen to be a lighter tone than the rest of the body, and Liz is wagging them so you know they are tails.

liz

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

One possibility is that the tail can rest on the ground (like your pictured monitor lizard), actually giving them better balance than humans.

This could be just when they are standing still, or also when they are walking. In the former case, they would probably lean forward when walking. Running could also go either way.

One downside of this could be that, when using a tail slap as a weapon, they are likely to lose their balance.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.