In a world I'm designing, there's a race that look like the picture below, except that the race has heavily hunched bodies. The race's arms and torso are hulking, heavily built, and muscular, but the legs are very small and thin in comparison. which is why they are quadruple, The race's king and queen have red crests and red-fringed tails, while the ordinary citizens of the race don't have these red crests and red fringed tails. They are nomadic ,sapient, and capable of speech, and all descendants of the king and queen have red crests and red fringed tails, while the descendants of all the others don't have red crests and red fringed tails. The ams are so long that the hands rest on the ground. Now for the question:

Why would my race have arms longer then the legs?

enter image description here


  • $\begingroup$ The difference between this question and your closed ones is that you ask for evolutionary pressures that lead to a specific aspect of a body plan. I think this a pretty interesting question, made more interesting in that there are lots of examples from nature - as opposed to purely fanciful phenotypes for which known biology offers no information. And credit where due - remember to link up the source for your images! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ This does not need as much justification as you think, it has evolved many times for a variety of reasons, as long as they are using the arms for something it is possible. primates, chalicotheres, sloths, Hyena, therizinosaurs, have all done so for different reasons. it also borders on being a duplicate worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/167193/… $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 19:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Questions are closed because they're waiting to be editted to a point where they're answerable. If we allow answers whilst your question is in need of major changes then those answers would become invalid once the changes are made. Either way whether a question is close is based on whether it is answerable in keeping with the rules of this SE - I'm afraid it doesn't matter if that'll make you sad or not. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 19:49

2 Answers 2


They are brachiators

Look at living animals. What animals have the longest forelimbs relative to their hindlimbs? Mostly arboreal animals like gibbons and sloths, which use their forelimbs as the main method of climbing about in trees.

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For a quadrupedal example, consider the giraffe. If you look at pictures of the skeleton, it's easy to see that the front legs are quite a bit longer than the back ones. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Dec 27, 2020 at 4:02

They are aquatic.

sea lion


Note in the sea lion, the hindlimbs are much reduced compared to their Carnivoran-body plan ancestors.

Your creatures are aquatic, or if not then their very recent ancestors were aquatic. There are many examples of aquatic vertebrates in which forelimbs got larger and stronger and hind limbs smaller. Without the need for hindlimbs to support the body or ambulate, they can become structures for steering as in the sea lion, or disappear entirely as in the cetaceans. There are example of aquatic dinosaurs with reduced or nearly absent hindlimbs also.

I note also that tails are important for your creature and this is good for the aquatic theme. The depicted creature (source of image? My guess - the movie Treasure Planet) has a very robust tail and I can imagine a swimmer like a mosasaur or oceangoing crocodilian propelled by such a tail.


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