Why keep the humanoid body plan?, which is the advantage of the humanoid shape? This were my principal questions when I was wondering about the features of different fictional specie, so I reached to the conclusion that the ability, as simple as it sounds, to pick up a stone from the ground and throw with force, is the main physical ability of the humanoid species known in real life therefore it is to be expected that fictional human-based species will maintain this characteristic, since the ability to attack an opponent from long distance is something that almost no species has.


Till where I found, this is principally caused by the human shoulder shape, then I thought, I just should keep this shoulder shape in my humanoid species, in other case there is no reason of why make them humanoid, but I was searching more information to support this thinking, watching some videos of baseball players and javelin throwers at the time of throwing and looks like this requires a great rotation of the torso, from the lower back to the shoulder so that this is behind the head and somewhat elevated.

So the problem is that this looks excluyent with many classic fictional species.

I don't know if my assumptions are correct but looks like these two examples with massive neck muscles to support the head hunched posture will have problems to do the kind of moves that I described, even if they have the correct shoulder shape.

So, How much I can change the humanoid body plan and still be able to perform the high speed throwing?, because this could be a delicate balance maybe i haven't even considered that a seemingly minor change just adding or removing a vertebra could change this.

Note: Several of my species can be considered humanized versions of different animal species, they just have to be biomechanically functional and the reasons of why they are humanoid at this moment are out of the question topic.

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    $\begingroup$ this article latimes.com/science/… and this paper may help you nature.com/articles/… $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 3:54
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    $\begingroup$ @John. Thank you $\endgroup$
    – Drakio-X
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 3:57
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    $\begingroup$ AFAIK, humans and our very close cousins the chimpanzees are more-or-less alone in having the skill to throw stones overarm. (Many species of monkeys, notably baboons, are known to throw sticks and stones at enemies and sometimes at boyfriends but they do it underarm. Overarm and underarm throwing are very different biomechanically.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 5:24
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    $\begingroup$ humans actually dont have many (almost any) features that they're particularly optimized for, we're instead built to be as generalist in our skills as possible. the humanoid bioplan isn't very efficient for such a role but it is much more accessible for four limbed vertebrate type animals than most, so that may be your reason. $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ @zackit: Humans are optimized for endurance (the ability to perform mechanical work for a long time). Ruthlessly optimized for endurance, I would say. Compared with the closest related apes, humans show much less momentary strength (because of our reduced muscle mass), but very much higher endurance (because our lungs, hears and muscles are balanced to that the muscles can remain in aerobic mode for a long time while doing work). (And we are also better at shedding heat, have very much better hand-eye coordination, much longer attention span etc.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 5:43

1 Answer 1


Longer arms that throw a bit more like a catapult.

Human throwing is less about the arm itself but more about the shoulders, pectoral and back muscles. One thing I've noticed is that many concept artists tend to extend the arms when designing an aliens or other creatures. Apes have longer arms but are far worse at throwing (because they don't put their back into it). So I propose to ignore the human way of throwing and design arms like a catapult; long and slender with a protruding bone at the elbow. The way it would work would be to bend the arm so that the hand is positioned near the shoulder, then ligaments attached on the elbow are pulled by the triceps. In addition cartilage inside the elbow is squeezed when the arms are flexed, storing potential energy to release like a spring, adding to the throwing strength.

This is the closest thing that came to mind: enter image description here

Here's a green martian next to an average human from the series Young Justice. As you can see the handsome fellow on the left has the long arms with protruding elbows that I talked about. The ape on the right however can barely reach his ankles.


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