7
$\begingroup$

The Greek Sphinx is a mythological creature with a woman's head and the feet of a lion, which kills its victims by strangulation

While this is all well and good for a written myth, it has some glaring issues that won't do for any sphinx I add to my world

To explain, though both humans and lions are capable of strangulation/suffocation, they do it in different ways. A human will use their hands, either directly or using some sort of tool; the leonine feet of a sphinx are inelegant tools of running and slashing, with no capacity to do the fine work of human strangulation. A lion will use their powerful jaws to clamp their prey's throat; the sphinx's mouth is tiny and weak, and could not withstand constant use in strangulation

The sphinxes for my world would be smaller than lions, close to humans in size. The head is human-like, as is the neck, which is short and curved. The rest of the anatomy is leonine. Like the sphinx of mythology (and lions to some degree), they would strangle/suffocation all of their prey and victims. They would have a similar set of prey to leopards, but with a significant number of humans mixed in. I could make small tweaks to details of the body, if it is required for this strangulation

Is there some way that these sphinxes could realistically strangle or suffocate their victims?

$\endgroup$
5
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Does the story specifically require strangulation? The sphinx knocking down its victim and crushing the trachea using a hard pounce of the forefeet would be sufficient to produce suffocation one would think. $\endgroup$ Jan 15 at 23:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @GrumpyYoungMan I'd prefer proper strangulation $\endgroup$ Jan 15 at 23:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ahh +1 great question, and the answer is not generally known.. The chronicles of Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr are often misunderstood in western culture. ref answer below. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jan 16 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ Does choking count otherwise I'll consider retracting my vote (juz kiddin) ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jan 16 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ She gets your head in and applies a lot of muscular pressure onto your neck from all sides. Where do you think the word 'sphincter' comes from? $\endgroup$ Jan 16 at 13:37

6 Answers 6

1
$\begingroup$

Snake for a Tail

enter image description here

Much like the Mythical Chimera, the Sphinx has one or more long scaly tails. These tails are in fact live constrictor snakes that are used to strangle the victim.

Most depictions of the Sphinx have a normal lion tail. The Sphinx likes to keep the snake tail secret as they don't want to be associated with the more beastly Chimera. So they sit (often for years straight without moving) with their tail underneath them, and only reveal it when it is time to strangle.

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ How dare you compare the noble sphynx with animals. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jan 16 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Goodies What I meant to say is there exists a type of scaly crawly animal with a superficial resemblance to the tail of the mighty Sphinx. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jan 16 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ Just joking, Daron.. beautiful chimaera you show but it's not a sphinx.. voted up for the remark.. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jan 17 at 7:19
6
$\begingroup$

Why the Great Sphynx lost her nose

In 1378 CE, Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr destroyed the Great Sphynx' face, and most modern scholars always assumed only her nose was cut off. But if you look at the damage closely, the eyes as well as the nose are gone. This was because Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, upon discovery, was captured by her seductive talents. As a pious muslim, Muhammad regarded the statue as haram for that reason. He cut the face, destroying the eyes and the nose.

She's absolutely fatal

When you encounter a sphynx, or a well-crafted statue of a sphynx, she will hypnotize you. The face is so beautiful, you'll get hypnotized, you'll keep looking at her.

The life sphynxes that existed in the age of pharao Khafre used this talent to approach a prey closely, and freeze it. While the prey is hypnotized, it will keep staring at the sphynx, into her beautiful eyes, exposing its throat, without any defense.. The sphynx would strangle the victim, by leaning on the throat, or slash the throat with her claws.

https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-egypt/the-sphinx

https://www.smithsonianjourneys.org/blog/photo-what-happened-to-the-sphinxs-nose-180950757/

$\endgroup$
3
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ More likely she would walk up, give a long kiss and suck the victim's breath out like the big cat she is. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jan 16 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ Intimacies.. Well I'm afraid sphynxes aren't that subtle, @Willk.. when you hear her coming, better run and don't look back, else you won't survive the encounter. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jan 16 at 10:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Goodies I believe some people will regard the Great Sphinx being a statue of an animate creature already as haram, regardless of seductive talents. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jan 16 at 19:44
1
$\begingroup$

A big cat like a lion or leopard could easily suffocate a human with only its paws. It could pounce on a person’s back and pin them to the ground as it put all of its weight into the back of the neck, which would quickly lead to unconsciousness and death

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Claw power

It can give a powerful blow with its claw on neck or spine of the victim, which will make the victim unconscious. Then it can drink the blood from the neck.

Jump from height

It can jump on the victim from a tree or stone with nails piercing the body of the victim.

Strong hit

It can run fast and hit the victim with great force.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

This problem is solved by ART:

enter image description here enter image description here

enter image description here
                                                          

The depiction to the left is that of a sphinx (Gustave Moreau's Oedipus and the Sphinx), those to the right are symbolic representations of nightmares (Daumier's Horse Meat is Healthy and Digestible & Füssli's The Nightmare, resp.) (I thought I remembered seeing a combination of the two, but I might be mistaken).

The sphinx suffocates by burdening her victims. This can be done both physically and psychologically.

This is not at all surprising, given the etymology of the word 'sphinx':

"In English from early 15c., from Latin Sphinx, from Greek Sphinx, said to mean literally "the strangler," a back-formation from sphingein "to squeeze, bind" ([ref.] 'sphincter')"

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The picture on the left.. that is exactly what happens if a man encounters a sphynx. She puts her claws in his chest and he doesn't even feel it. Despite the romanticism of the tale of Oedipus, he-is-dead. Really. Finito. Muerte. End of story. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jan 16 at 17:51
0
$\begingroup$

I think the key here is in your use of the term "human-like", in your description of the "sphinxes for [your] world".

Compared to real-world big cats, yes, human mouths and jaws are both tiny and weak. But jaw strength is not a significant issue here. A normal human jaw can produce something like 125 pounds of pressure, but it takes only about 11 pounds of pressure to stop blood flow in the carotid artery. (I accept my numbers might be somewhat off, but not enough to change the results)

So the strength is there. What about size? Here's where the "human-like" comment pays off. You're obviously already mixing and matching biology here, so why not make one last tweak, that doesn't have to have any outwardly visible indicators? Just make the Sphinx' jaw have a wider range of motion than a real human jaw. Slightly stretchy-er skin around the sides of the mouth (need not be noticeable when not actively being stretched), and similarly unnoticeable small subsurface adjustments to jaw muscles and bone connections, and you have the appearance of a human, but a gaping maw when needed.

Finally, what about holding on long enough? With a lion body (and presumably at least somewhat comparable, at least proportionally, muscle strength), I'd think the strength and claws would be more than enough immobilize prey long enough for them to lose consciousness.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .