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I've got a creature here. Generally around 4 feet tall. The head is not as tall as a human head, but wider, so the brain size should be the same. It has a wide snout with crushing predator teeth like hyenas, so this head is heavier than a human's. Has a nuchal crest.

Approximate head size compared to human from frontFront

Side viewSide view I've already given it some spinous processes on the neck and back. It has digitigrade feet.

It can change from upright to quadruped stance, so I've given it thick legs to give it some balance weight on the back end.

Front facing cross section of chest; also shows neck width Chest

Is that enough spinous processes supporting it? If not, how much spinous processes; muscling and tendons (and cervical ribs if needed) does it need? Or is it more than necessary? If possible I'd like to not have more of a back hump than it already has.

How flexible would the neck be with these supports?

Is there enough weight at the back to not fall forward during quadruped movement? Any other needed changes?

Version with nuchal ligament and longer forwarded neckversion nuchal

Version 2 with nuchal ligamentNL v2

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Jul 4 at 3:16
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Give them a dog neck. Dogs are able to maintain their head up due to their nuchal ligament. That would keep your creature comfortable when quadrupeding. A dog neck is also flexible enough to rotate forward when they are standing on two feet.

Notice that due to this ligament, keeping the head up is actually the neutral, resting position for dogs. They have to make an effort to lower their head - analogous to how we need to make an effort to flex out feet (in our feet case it is a tendon that keeps the neutral position, though). Other quadruped mammals have similar arrangements - AFAIK horses have a nucha ligament as well).

Anatomy of a dog neck, showing the nuchal ligament

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  • $\begingroup$ Is it strong enough for sapient brain size? $\endgroup$ Jul 3 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ @ChickenpeepChickenpeep dogs with heads much smaller than a human are able to carry the weight of a human head indefinitely. Cats with the weight close to a human adult (jaguars, juvenile tigers and lions) manage with really heavy heads. So I think your creature will be fine. $\endgroup$ Jul 3 at 18:28
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with a neck that thick, it should be fine. That said, you may want to give it a hump on it's back and shoulders to attach extremely powerful muscles.

Many large animals with large heads have elongated spines above their shoulders to support powerful neck muscles. Bison are a good example.

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    $\begingroup$ bull and bison necks are also very inflexible, the combination is fine for a grazer but there of plenty of animals with heavy heads without huge humps. the hump is a detriment if you want a horizontally flexible neck. the hump is an adaptation for keeping a heavy head close to the ground with minimal effort. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 3 at 20:02
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Very strong neck muscles and bones can do the trick. This will probably result is a visible "hump" between the shoulders, where the neck muscles are more developed.

Something akin to the hump of bulls and bisons, with very pronounced spinous processes, to ensure the muscles have enough attaching points.

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  • $\begingroup$ bull and bison necks are also very inflexible, the combination is fine for a grazer but there of plenty of animals with heavy heads without huge humps. the hump is an adaptation for keeping a heavy head close to the ground with minimal effort. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 3 at 20:01

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