The giant is a large humanoid with some paradoxical-seeming traits

It is a mammal, roughly as heavy as a small elephant. Their mouth seems adapted for herbivory: Their lips are like that of a camel, and their canines are formed into protruding tusks. However, their hand has long sharp claws like a lion, which seem like they'd only be useful for a predator. Furthermore, they are capable of digesting cooked meat, which they enjoy

What diet could realistically give reason for all these features?


2 Answers 2



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This is a Chalicotherium, a herbivorous mammal with possibly phehensile lips, a horse-like head and large claws. It is a far cry from a proper humanoid, and weighted much less than a small elephant, at around 900 kg max. Still, there be claws.

If that's not a good enough example, here's another: megatherium

enter image description here

Heavy as an adult elephant? Check.

Prehensile lips? There seems to be evidence for that.

Big meaty claws to reach for vegetation and swing as would be threats? Check.

Humanoid? Arguably. Had 4 limbs, could stand upright, not perfect but not terrible (do remember: to achieve that it made use of VERY thick leg bones and strong muscles).

Tusks? Nope.

A liking for and the ability to digest meat? Not unlikely and not confirmed for megatherium, one of its cousins however indicate that it'd not be impossible.

The hardest part to explain are the tusks. Normally canines could be still useful for Intimidation (see baboons), but at the size where they start to be called tusks, all natural examples seem to point at 2 paths:

1-fighting for females and self defense, like in walruses and boars

2-multitool uses, including digging, ripping the bark off trees, self defense and also fighting for females, like in elephants.

The fact many modern strict carnivores also lack tusks further strengthens the likelihood that the species doesn't eat mostly meat.

So therefore, examples throughout history seem to indicate that your giant is indeed a herbivore, one that eats leaves from taller trees, making use of their claws, prehensile lips and height to pull branches and feed on the leaves. In addition to that, much like Australian cows and hippos, they will gladly eat a piece of meat when given the chance, but don't need it to survive. Your biggest trouble will probably be with giving it strong legs to walk upright (again, look at the Megatherium and how it's own legs are structured, then remember it didn't only walk on 2 legs all the time) and explaining away the tusks, through the classic sexual selection and a liking in the species for partners with bigger tusks should be Able to explain it well enough.


Those you see in the photo below are claws belonging to an herbivore, the sloth.

enter image description here

In all honesty I would not ask it to scratch my back.

Also herbivores can feed on animal sourced food, like it has become notoriously known when the "mad cow" disease has spread in the 90's. They don't do it frequently in natural conditions because they don't have the means to hunt it.

Based on these, your creature can easily be an herbivore.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Elephants in trees? If they have red eyes too, they can hide in cherry trees so well that nobody will be able to see one. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ I would take the claws anytime so long it doesn't elbow me ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ Cooked meat maybe some, but still.. a sloth would never be able to digest raw meat. It has the slowest metabolism of all mammals, it can take 2 weeks to digest a meal. youtube.com/watch?v=OTp8W251aiQ $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 21:15

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