Humanoids are very common in various worlds, and all of them are very ape-like. This is most evident at the shoulders, which support the arms at the side of the body. What would be the issues with having the arms further bellywards on the body, and how might they be solved?

  • $\begingroup$ @ARogueAnt. By humanoid, I mean an animal with an orthograde posture, or bipedalism with a roughly upright body and spinal collumn. Not necessarily an animal capable of brachiating $\endgroup$ Jul 24 '21 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough, different evolutionary pathway from the apes to get there, I don't see why not. $\endgroup$ Jul 24 '21 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ Solution? Don't do that. Problems? Much more limited range of motion of the arms. $\endgroup$
    – Matthew
    Jul 24 '21 at 23:25

I propose that there would not be any "problem" at all for such sophonts. For the simple fact that, as a species, individual persons would never even realise that there is a "problem".

Take for example humans. Humans have very short tongues. They can not lick the tops of their own heads. Existential question: is this actually a problem for the humans, or is this merely perceived to be a problem by the Qrolids, who use their tongues to groom the whiskers and clear & moisten the various sensory orifices that line their cranial crests?

Perception is key. A sophont who arises from a creature that is very much catlike, a Felid, will have a shoulder range of motion much like that of a cat. I'd argue that these people will not even realise that they have a limited range of motion, when compared to humans, because through out their evolution, they've never been able to move their arms the way humans can. Thus, they will not experience any "problems". They might look on a human's ability to scratch the little bit between her shoulder blades or to spread her arms very wide with wonder and astonishment!

Another Speculation:
Since the earliest primates had a shoulder configuration much like that of a modern cat, while modern humans don't, it becomes obvious that evolution has wrought certain changes within the lineage that would become the human-like animals of later eons. Perhaps the ability to cling to a limb with one hand while reaching down to snag a delicious fruit or insect rose to become a prominent trait that would allow primates to inhabit the forest canopy. And this in turn would allow humans to perform the backstroke.

In human evolution, the "problems" were solved before we ever became human enough to even wonder if we were having a problem to solve!

It could very well be that other sophonts in the universe will hit upon a parallel solution, giving them shoulders with wider ranges of motion --- perhaps even superior to ours, and humans can look upon them with wonder and astonishment!



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