9
$\begingroup$

I am irritatingly perfectionist and must know things to relax my anxiety. So this creature here. From the top its head shape is salamander. Its mouth is large and strong and the cranium needs enough space for sentient brain and good fitting hats. It can switch to quadruped movement. It is approximately 4 feet tall.

It will need to be able to not fall forward on its face from either stance. Not too top heavy. Would balance be an issue? I'd rather not give it a counter balance tail. Its body is roughly barrel shaped, so more thick support neck could fit. I'm unsure about the limb joint positioning, as I notice the quadruped shoulder and enlarged chest looks a bit weird on a biped (don't worry about the limb shape; those extra lines in the front are just for telling me its leg position as quadruped). The back legs are animal shaped and around the same length as its body plus halfway up the neck. Its hands and feet are like chicken feet.

Will these proportions work strength and balance wise? What might I need to change?

I hope you can see the images okay. I don't like to put down harder to erase lines until I'm very sure that's where they need to be.

Side Merx

Front Merx

I did a bit of change. The neck is a bit longer and thinner, if that makes it more realistic. The neck bones are positioned something like this. Im attempting to copy a chimp like head to neck connection for switching between biped and quadruped position. Merx neck Though now I'm concerned about if the brain case is too small in proportion or if it having the generally large head already makes up for it.

Am I allowed a side question? I need to know how stretchy a spine can be.

Potential head/neck fixes? Neck fixes?

Maybe a slightly shorter head would make it more believable. His head is big and wide enough that it should make up for the shorter head height, for brain space. Hopefully the hat will still stay on okay. I could probably shorten it even more if I weren't worried about the hat falling off. (Hat base shown here) How do the spinous processes look? Do they look like they are enough and proper? I don't know much about those. shorter head + hat base + spinous processes

Perhaps s neck. S neck

$\endgroup$
10
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Images , with no scale indicator, must be assumed to be on scale 1-1. so your being stands about 29 cm tall, and has a 5cm3 cranium. About the size of a small cat, but with a brain 1/7th as large $\endgroup$ – PcMan Mar 4 at 20:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ OK. 4 ft tall. so head is about human size, on a teenager body. That works. It allows for the much wider jaw. Eye placement is ok, the wide separation partially makes up for the immobile neck. $\endgroup$ – PcMan Mar 4 at 21:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PcMan why would the neck be immobile? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 4 at 21:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Tyrion Lannister says that the proportions of this beautiful creature are perfectly fine. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Mar 4 at 23:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The neck is like that of a Walrus. But with space for only 1/4th as many vertebra. It will be a miracle if your creature could rotate, tilt or nod its head more than about 15 degrees to each side... There is just not enough distance between the shoulder and the bottom of the cranium, and the immense width of the neck further impedes movement. Effectively, your creature has the neck and head of a frog. Go and look up how mobile a frog's head is. $\endgroup$ – PcMan Mar 5 at 2:20
10
$\begingroup$

I would say that it is perfectly feasible.

1. If we consider dwarfism in humans, it is frequently the case that the head appears proportionally larger than average with respect to the body. Yet such people can successfully take part in sports without overbalancing.

enter image description here

2. You mention salamanders and it is true that for example giant salamanders have large heads in proportion to their bodies. Of course a normal salamander does not stand upright but evolution could surely make this happen.

enter image description here

3. You would do well to consider the phenomenon of neoteny

Young humans (who have relatively large heads) are capable of walking and running at an early age. If the species retained the childish shape longer then this would work perfectly well for someone 4ft tall. By retaining the general body-shape of a two to five year old into adulthood but with larger muscle growth, and better co-ordination through experience, your creature could be perfectly well balanced.

enter image description here

4. Finally, here is a video of 5-year-olds racing https://youtu.be/_4K3gbYBtX0

$\endgroup$
7
  • $\begingroup$ I tend to not use juvenile creatures for reference images because the creature is incomplete and the proportions are temporary and not long term, thus the functionality of the shape does not need to be as refined, is how I see it. I may be wrong though. Also does a long snout affect the balance in any way, for future reference? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 4 at 21:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I also tend to overestimate how much muscle and bone is needed to support things. If the flamingo were a fictional animal, I'd call it unrealistic. $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 4 at 22:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Look at almost any photo of a horse. They have very heavy heads but they can still hold them out. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Mar 4 at 23:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If the head is held vertically above the spine then the force is applied downwards. This simply needs sufficient bone and muscle strength to keep it balanced whilst moving around. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Mar 4 at 23:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Neoteny means that the creature is adult but it just retains juvenile characteristics. You might like to read about neoteny in humans. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny_in_humans $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Mar 4 at 23:45
5
$\begingroup$

Your main problem is you want a variable stance but have drawn a perfectly upright neck. To work quadrupedally the neck articulate should be as horizontal as possible, for an up right stance it should be as vertical as possible. Animals like chimps and gorilla that do both use a compromise with something close to a 45 degree angle. Basically the angle of spine should match the angle of the neck to skull joint, if two drastically different spinal postures are uses you compromise between the two. A side effect of this is the neck posture is not optimal in either position, when upright it gets swung forward, so the whole head sits forward relative to the body, when horizontal it sits with a with a strong upward curve.

enter image description here

enter image description here

when horizontal, aka quadrupedal, it sits with a with a strong upward curve of the neck to bring the eyes forward. If your creature has equally long limbs this will be even stronger.

enter image description here

You will also notice that doing this requires a much stronger neck, which is why the neural spines of the neck vertebrae are very tall, they need a lot of space to attach muscle to hold the head in these positions. This is even more true for your creature because the head is huge, bigger even than a human. This means the neck has to sit further forward than you have drawn to have enough room, which means pushing the head even further forward or giving it a humpback.

Here look a bear head when upright. enter image description here

Notice how far forward the head sits, because the neck connects to the skull right in the back of the skull like most quadrupeds, the whole head projects forward. they can pull the head further back, but only because the neck is long enough to bend in an S curve. You can see a less extreme version in this ape, which has a neck articulation in the middle between quadrupedal and upright.

enter image description here

You can see it in this troop of chimps:

enter image description here

Again notice how far forward the head is in the upright position, most of the skull is forward of the chest. I really do recommend taking some time to study animal anatomy if you want to draw fictional animals.

Neck range of motion on humans: enter image description here

$\endgroup$
32
  • $\begingroup$ What if I altered the back facing spines and/or the skull opening so it could more easily pivot back and forth between the two positions? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 7 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ Or maybe make the pivot point somewhere a bit lower on the neck if the place where head and neck meet is too important to change. $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 7 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @ChickenpeepChickenpeep It is not a question of pivot, the skull to neck joint (occipital-atlanto) barely moves. the whole neck flexes to change the position of the head. none of the neck vertebra have a very large range of motion, only the atlas axis joint has a decent range of motion and that is only side to side (look left or right). If you are going to be drawing fantasy creatures I can't recommend enough learning a little anatomy. here is an x-ray showing the range of motion. boneandspine.com/range-motion-cervical-spine $\endgroup$ – John Mar 7 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ But I asked if it were physiologically possible $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 7 at 20:22
  • $\begingroup$ Or is there any way to get the movement range I want? Besides lengthening the neck a lot? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 7 at 20:24
4
$\begingroup$

Head size isn't what strikes me as unfeasible here. It's how you think the spine meets the cranium.

enter image description here

Anatomically, the body plan and head shape / orientation you've chosen is great for a bipedal creature: when standing, its eyes face forward. The trade-off is that the base of skull rests on top of the spine like a capital on a pillar.

In order for you to keep the ability to quadripedambulate, you'd need a long saurian neck, or else bend this poor fellow's neck 90deg at the upper thorax.

$\endgroup$
15
  • $\begingroup$ I said that the spinal cord enters at the back of the head like a quadruped. It can pivot at the head so that it looks like it has a biped neck. Is that not a possible thing? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 5 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ @ChickenpeepChickenpeep that neck is very wrong for a vertical skull connection. $\endgroup$ – John Mar 5 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ @John what would I need to change? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 5 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @ChickenpeepChickenpeep something more like a chimp neck articulation. journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/… $\endgroup$ – John Mar 5 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ @John would that allow a quadruped head positioning too? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 5 at 20:08
1
$\begingroup$

While the structure is sound, if you want your creature to be able to both walk bipedally and quadipedally, you would probably need the creature's vertebrae to be individually shorter, creating more joints where it can bend its neck to be able to see properly in both stances.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean adding vertebrae without lengthening the neck? Would that cause any issue? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 7 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ Chickenpeep Chickenpeep Yes, I do. The neck might not be as sturdy, due to the increased flexibility. $\endgroup$ – TysonDennis Mar 7 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ is there a way to make up for it? $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 8 at 2:35
0
$\begingroup$

i believe it is width and depth wise, however intelligence tends to be proportional to head to body ratio within animals. Take this into consideration as height-wise, it may prove insufficient for more intelligent species.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ The extra wideness of the brain case can't make up for it? The head is proportionally bigger than a human's, so more brain than human. So it should be able to have a little less on the top to still be enough. $\endgroup$ – Chickenpeep Mar 18 at 17:21
-1
$\begingroup$

...Have you seen Erythrosuchus?

enter image description here

Your creature is fine.

(Wikipedia article on the Erythosuchids: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythrosuchidae)

$\endgroup$
4

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.