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A fairly common trope in fantasy is "barbie doll anatomy". Effectively, a species completely lacks any visible orifices besides their mouth and nose. This brings up two major questions. First, how would such a species reproduce, and second, how would it deal with waste in the body? Since these races are so often magical, an answer involving magic is fine. Thanks!

Edit: Here's an example of "barbie doll anatomy" for clarity's sake. The Zora from the Zelda universe is a good example of "Barbie Doll Anatomy". The depicted character is lacking visible genitals of any kind, despite seemingly being naked. As inferred in the post, the character may also be lacking a sphincter.

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    $\begingroup$ "an answer involving magic is fine" - doesn't this kind of invalidate the question? So the answer is... "Magic"! (seriously though, once you introduce magic, you can make up whatever method you like) $\endgroup$
    – komodosp
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 8:30
  • $\begingroup$ The body could break down the waste into particles which are radiated away through the skin. Or it's possible there's no waste to speak of, maybe their bodies really use all particles in their food. Perhaps their body can do nuclear fusion or fission and use those particles for processes in their body. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ Needs details. Do they have to reproduce sexually? Do they have bones? I second @komodosp position. If it can involve magic, then it doesn't matter how. It happens, a wizard engineered it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ you might want to consider current assumptions people make when drawing and viewing 'Barbie doll' creatures. Barbie is a representation of a human being, and we know when we look at her that human beings do have several more holes and organs, but that we'd prefer not to see them. We don't include the organs for most depictions of dogs or cats either, even though those animals often have very visible holes and organs. Your blue character above may have the same assumptions built into the design :0 $\endgroup$
    – LeLetter
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ The "Barbie Doll" anatomy usually refers to her bust proportion and not necessarily the lack of orifices. I'm not really sure what the correct term is for the latter though. $\endgroup$
    – Nelson
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 7:06

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Inspired by the natural world around us, here are some weird but real options:

  1. Certain animals have a transient anus. This is a bit of a frame challenge but still, you can walk around with no visible opening for 99% of the time without anyone noticing anything.

  2. A lot of snail species use "love darts" that literally wound the other snail during mating. Although these darts aren't the thing that transfers the sperm, there is no reason why in your world this couldn't be the case.

  3. As for gestation, this is tricky. There are (were) however frogs that do "gastric brooding", i.e. they incubate their young in their stomach and then...well, throw up their offspring.

Admittedly though, none of these options really has that Barbie vibe.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hey, that's awesome. It doesn't need a "barbie vibe", just the anatomy. Think the Zoras from LoZ $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ No need to go anywhere near that exotic. Multiple common real-life animal species have genitals hidden away beneath feathers, fur, or folds of skin. Dolphins have the smooth look of a Barbie (or a Zora!). Their penises are sort of "hidden away" under a fold of skin until they get an erection. (More streamlined swimming that way). $\endgroup$
    – MGOwen
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 8:03
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    $\begingroup$ I now choose to believe that Barbie will vomit up any offspring she has. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 20:15
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One unfortunate possibility is that your species may eat, mate, breathe, and excrete using the same orifice.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes. Some species already use their mouth as anus simultaneously. You need a bit more plumbing to get the waste back up, but I expect the intestines would curve back up sooner to facilitate that. I would similarly expect sperm to have some sort of marker so when it’s taken into the bloodstream its deposited into the uterus. I also expect birth to be more like a planned Alien concept, potentially killing the mother each time and birthing many offspring simultaneously. Or the mother surviving (the body is able to make deliberate holes to the surface to get puss out for example). $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ It is only unfortunate from a human perspective. Human males use part of their waste disposal as a specialised tool to deliver sperm, a very valuable mechanism for all organisms that require mating. It can be viewed just as weird. Same for breathing, smelling and eating. As we can see waste disposal and eating from the same orifice in nature I would say it is logical, not unfortunate. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Trioxidane What is objectively unfortunate about this arrangement though is that it's "last in, first out": you can't "queue up" food in the digestive tract, with each of them taking a long time to digest. In the diploblastic world there's no dessert for you until you poop first. $\endgroup$
    – biziclop
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ @biziclop as you need to poop first there is more room for desert. Objectively and subjectivity practical. On a serious note, the digestive system can loop. Some food in (human) digestion can also move more quickly than others. Something that could potentially be exploited in a to and from system in a single tract. Not useful necessarily, but if it works it can answer the already not practical question. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ @biziclop as I mentioned already, you can have the intestinal system loop around. The animals that poop through their mouths have short digestive systems so going the same way back makes sense as they can digest it all before eating the next bit. Alternatively you could use multiple stomachs or temporary storage to make sure you don’t poopuke freshly devoured materials. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 20:42
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Ant larvae do not excrete any waste material. They keep their excrement contained until they grow into pupae.

enter image description here

When ants are in their pupal state the waste collects in a sealed little plug at the end of the cocoon. It's a dark spot. Then when the cocoon is shed it can be thrown away.

enter image description here

(Having worked with ants, it's a very tidy system and seems to keep their nests clean as they raise the young.)

So a Barbie organism could molt, and simply have a dark spot of concentrated waste that would be removed when molting. (Here is a fascinating article on ant poop lol: https://www.pestcontrolgurus.com/ant-poop/)

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No visible orifices

Many great answers already, but I see one avenue not considered in detail. All it takes is for the orifices to not be visible. We could have a feather or fur cover that retracts and be fine. With reproductive organs and waste organs actually not needing any length, only good positioning, you're basically done.

I recognise that this isn't really the spirit of the question. Barbie dolls are without fur, feathers or other covering and any clothes can be removed for orifice inspection. Let's see options that would suffice for an inspection on an uncovered body.

Holding an orifice so tight it looks like smooth skin seems a bit of a cop out, so I'll skip that.

Reproductive organs do not actually have to get inside another. Though this is the most common practice, we can see several other kinds. Think of eggs, or simply pressing two holes close to each other for transfer. Penetration has it's advantages, but it does not rule out this kind of reproduction. So covering them up and only opening at required times would be enough.

As mentioned in another question, the anus can form when needed. This can then be applied to any orifices. The easiest implementation is to have all the internal plumbing in the 'normal' places, but with a layer over the orifice. It'll be dissolved or ruptured when it is required to function. Skin grows too slow, so maybe something similar to blood clotting, or a substance that is excreted and when exposed to the air/drying out will form a layer that looks like skin. If it's anti bacterial all the better.

Sadly barbie is lacking a belly button and other not normally orifices, or else it could do tripple duty as a not obvious orifice.

We can hide the orifices in unusual places still. We can hide it under the feet, a place we normally do not inspect closely. Again, we can inspect it on a doll, but assuming a 'real' barbie it might not be realised until much later. Do not ask what leg they use for reproduction if no third leg is available.

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    $\begingroup$ holding the opening tightly closed isn't that much of a cop-out, aligators for example have a cloaca where the genitals and excretion orifices exit into and that usually looks like a too-low belly button $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ This is the real answer, it even exists in nature. Dolphin penises are sort of "hidden away" under a fold of skin, and kind of "pop out" when they get an erection. More streamlined swimming that way. $\endgroup$
    – MGOwen
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 8:01
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Perspiration. Absolutely everything... They might need to drink copious amounts and also wash rather often... Still waste material could be remove by glands around the body.

For reproduction egg laying like certain species of fish would do. Females lay eggs and then male lay sperm. Both could come from organ in or near head and be relatively small. Growth cycle from that point is somewhat open. Potential lactation for feeding could happen by some type of mucus. Mixing this process with the waste removal is likely not preferred.

Magic could help these processes by lowering food requirements and supplying the energy for growth to certain limit.

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A species with only one orifice has two options, 1) magic: waste is removed magically, it just disappears by magic. And it's a similar story with reproduction, insemination happens by magic with sperm magically appearing in the female body and the baby also appears by magic after growing inside its mother's body it magically appears outside of her body 2) the one orifice is used for all functions: this which would be rather unpleasant, but is physically possible even if it's biologically very questionable.

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    $\begingroup$ Upvoted for going full bore into the allowed realm of magic. Because with magic, anything at all is possible! $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 22:39
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I was trying to focus minds in exactly that direction! $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 7:46
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They do have such orifices, and where you would expect them to be, but they are just very, very small! There is a continual thin stream of excretion, and babies are born the size of a twinkle in the mother's eye...

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    $\begingroup$ Babies are born in the mother's eye?! That sounds painful. $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 10:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Stef, no that is their size, not where! They are born very small, in order to exit the very small orifices such anatomies have. $\endgroup$
    – Konchog
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 12:19
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They are plant or fungus based

The visible orifices on a human are the mouth for eating and tasting, the nose for breathing and smelling, the ears for hearing, the anus for pooping, and the sex specific orifices for urinating and reproduction. While mammals generally work this way, there are plenty of macro-organisms here on Earth that don't have any of these orifices in thier bodies, but they are pretty much all plants and fungi

When you eliminate the need to eat other organisms, suddenly the need for giant holes to consume food with becomes unnecessary. Plants and fungi don't have mouths. Plants consume most of thier energy through photosynthesis, and get most of thier chemical building blocks directly from the air and water The vast majority of organic chemistry only uses hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen; so, even trace amounts of other stuff is all planets really need the soil for. Fungi, similarly use a sedentary method of absorbing nutrients. Even though they eat other organisms like animals do, they don't consume them. The excrete digestive fluids onto thier food and sit on it while they uptake just the nutrients. If you never take in what you don't need, you never have anything you need to poop out.

Breathing holes are also not exclusively necessary. Plants, fungi, and many amphibians breath through microscopic pores in thier "skins". So, it's highly feasible that a fantasy race could breath through thier skin too.

Hearing does not require holes. While mammals tend to have orifice based hearing organs, we are actually the exception to the rule. Reptiles, mammals, fish, and amphibians can all hear just fine without any orifices.

Like the mouth, your anus and urethra only exist because we eat other organisms whole, then have to sort out what we do and don't need and expel the unneeded stuff. If you ate more like a fungus or a plant, you'd have time to sort things out before you eat it, meaning you don't need a massive excrement system. What little waste you might need to worry about could be excreted like sweat.

Lastly, there is reproduction. Again, most plants and fungi don't pernitrate each other's orifices to reproduce. Some us a form of buddy where a part of the body just falls off and becomes a little clone of the parent. Other use purely external sexual reproduction methods involving pollination and fruiting.

So, as long as your barbie-folk get to spend long hours rooted in the soil, and basking in the sun, or spend thier nights sleeping in a big pile of food and self-excreted digestive fluids, then major orifices could be unnecessary.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like this, but isn't there a problem of scaling here, can you ingest calories fast enough to support a fairly big and fast-moving body, a very energy-hungry brain and everything else needed to support it? After all, absorbing stuff through the skin is always subject to the square-cube law, so afaik the largest animal that does it is the hagfish. $\endgroup$
    – biziclop
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 13:50
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    $\begingroup$ @biziclop Not all fantasy races require human like activities. worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/a/166293/57832 <- Tree-ent type monsters can spend months or years just sitting around doing what trees do, needing only short bursts of energy. Fungi are probably more scalable. Fungus use chemicals to break down food for absorption, but a fungus-man could create a sort of cesspool that continuously digests the food while he is away gathering more food to throw into it, and then he just needs to bath in it for awhile to absorb the freed nutrients allowing animal like activity. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ Also cold bloodedness helps a lot. Mammals and birds require WAY more food and oxygen than reptiles and fish. $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 16:10
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Reproduction with magic

  • The mother cuts a very small bit of her own flesh
  • The father cuts himself and adds a few drops of his own blood on the mother's flesh
  • They add some water from the ancestral river
  • Then they join hands and cast a magic spell on the mix of flesh,blood and water.

After the fourth step, the mix of flesh,blood and water turns into a gelatinous egg with a fetus/larvae inside.

If the parents are interrupted before the fourth step, before casting the magic spell, then the mix of flesh,blood and water will still turn into an egg with a fetus/larvae inside, but it will not have a soul. It will have the body of a Zora and be able to breathe, but will have no soul, no mind, it will just be an empty shell. (Ignore this paragraph if you don't like it)

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To keep it more grounded to the real-life inspiration, your creatures do not need to eat or secrete waste, and they reproduce by casting plastic on a mold they made lovingly for the purpose, as part of a ritual which casts the animating magic on the new being. They're all animated by magic rather then having anything resembling a real-world metabolism.

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Pellets

Many birds do not excrete waste matter. Instead, indigestable matter remaining in the stomach is regurgitated as a solid pellet. Owls and hawks are best known for this, but other birds do too.

The bird still passes urine though, but the hole for this can be very small. Especially if your species has fur, feathers or scales, you're never going to see it.

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    $\begingroup$ Owls poop as well as producing pellets. The pellets remove completely indigestible material - e.g. feather and bones - while the rest passes through the gut as in humans. Owls, however, in common with many non-mammalian animals, do not pee. They pass out urea as uric acid. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 11:00
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    $\begingroup$ This is patently false. Raptors (birds of prey) excrete uric acid (instead of urine) and fecal matter through the cloaca, and only regurgitate indigestible matter (fur, feathers, bones) as pellets. $\endgroup$
    – JYelton
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 17:21
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Excretion:

This is most unusual and an unique feature of her physiology. Now, human hair is made of a matrix of proteins giving it strength and suppleness (not to mention gleam from the oils in the scalp).

"Barbie's" hair is composed of a complex polymer made from urea (the primary constituent of urine next to water) and complex carbohydrates (usually present in stool as roughage). Her gut of course is remarkably efficient in breaking everything down as it should and water normally present in urine is conserved, except a normal amount of sweat with salts present.

She has to be very careful to regulate her diet, but can chose to change her skin and hair colour to suite her surroundings and social expectations by altering what she eats. Her remarkable abilities extend to laying on curves, altering her facial appearance to have East-Asian, Afro-Caribbean, Caucasian or mixed features at will.

Reproduction:

When the time comes, having detachable limbs that snake-off on their own to find food and grow serves well. We all know the subject of Barbie's innocence, but if there's a "Ken" (or another Barbie) who's limbs decide to entwine in that special way, then an offspring will develop.

Unnecessary genetic material is shunted aside and reabsorbed, perhaps during a cocoon-stage then a youngling emerges of an appropriate gender. (Whatever the writer decides that may be) Limited parental care is needed, no breastfeeding as the baby will find its own meals.

Of course, a new limb quickly grows to fulfil the deficit in the parents' limb count.

Mouth:

Eating is obvious, the mouth serves just fine - the same for respiration and speech. (and kissing?)

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