The Hecatoncheires was the collective name given to three monsters; (Briareus, Cottus and Gyges) who were the children of Gaia and Uranus. They were not only known for their frightful enormity, but also for their ghastly arrangement of one hundred arms and fifty heads. Even Uranus was so taken back by their ugliness that he decided to push them back into their mother’s womb. On failing to do so, they were subsequently banished to the underworld of Tartarus.

This is a very creepy creature and is probably going to be a very difficult challenge. I imagine that it will have to be an invertebrate of some kind, maybe a mollusk or even an advanced sponge. I also really doubt all appendeges will be functional. How could a Hecatoncheires appearing species realistically evolve.

A list of all of the Anatomically Correct questions can be found here, suggestions for future question are welcomed;

Anatomically Correct Series

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    $\begingroup$ Worldbuilding has made me chuckle, Worldbuilding has made me cry, but this is the first time it is making me scream in terror. D: $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ Seems like sea anemone (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_anemone) is what you are after. It is not hard to make some tentacles into heads. $\endgroup$
    – user58697
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ Related, possibly duplicate: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/26626/… $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 16:19
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    $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh That question asks if its possible mine asks how it could evolve $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ I think its amusing that any father would think pushing them back into the womb would work, especially a god such as Uranus. I can only imagine how Gaia would react to that attempt, shudder. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


The hundred arms aren't a problem. A centipede has that, sort of. We'll assume that the Hecatoncheir can use its limbs as legs or arms as convenient. The metamerism of the centipede might also provide a basis for the fifty heads. Quoting Wikipedia:

In biology, metamerism is the phenomenon of having a linear series of body segments fundamentally similar in structure, though not all such structures are entirely alike in any single life form because some of them perform special functions.

One must suppose that each of the repeating metameres or segments of the body of one of the hecatonchires* has within it or growing from it something that one can call a head. What defines a head? I'd say that two out of three of (a) a cluster of sensory organs (which could include eyes, noses, ears, antennae or vibration-sensors), (b) a mouth, (c) a brain would be enough to count as a head. Note that the "brain" on each segment needn't be fully independent, it could be that these creatures had their intelligence distributed over multiple or non-centralized brains, as dinosaurs were once believed to.

*They aren't all three joined together, are they? If so, that's beyond my worldbuilding pay grade / yuck factor. As is determining which of the many variants on offer is the correct spelling of "hekatonkheires".

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    $\begingroup$ It's an old word, said way before formalized spelling was a thing (in English, anyways) so I wouldn't worry about it. It's a fun bonus point, though. $\endgroup$
    – PipperChip
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ @TrEs-2b, I'm pleased that you accepted my answer. I hope you don't mind that I restored "hecatoncheir" to the singular in the first line. According to Wikipedia the word does have a singular form and in that instance I am only talking about one of them. As PipperChip says, there seem to be many different spellings: Wikipedia gives "hecatonchir" and "hekatonkheir" as variants of the singular form, and a quick google shows that all possible spellings turn up, with "hecatoncheir" the most popular. It's sort of fun to pack as many variants as possible, plural and singular, into this one question. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 12:18

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