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I haven't seen my exact question answered in my research, so hopefully this is not a duplicate.

I am building a world where the human race on another planet has a reason to genetically enhance themselves to become as strong as possible. Using a combination of advanced science and magic, they have achieved 10x the strength, durability, and stamina, of an un-enhanced human, without changing their size or appearance. Based off of my own research so far (not exhaustive yet), all the discussions I can find talk about a max of 3 or 4x the strength of a normal human, which by itself would necessitate things like :

It would follow that 10x stronger would have more needs and side affects than 4x times stronger, so I am looking at what those would be.

Side effects I have considered and have ideas for:

Overheating
Not enough space for better organs
Body too heavy
Blood flow difficulties
Need for too much food
How to make it pass on to children

My question is:

Assuming I can convincingly explain why the 10x human was able to be created in the first place, are there side affects I haven't considered that would make this implausible? What have I not considered that might ruin any believability this could work scientifically?

I know I could explain it with magic but like I said would like at least a good foundation believable from a scientific point of view, the magic would have just been there to make doing the original adjustments/surgery easier, or picking up just a little slack.

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    $\begingroup$ You say only that they are 10x stronger, but seem to imply that this is done by an increase in the density of the body tissues. That is not the only way to achieve what you're looking for, though. For instance, muscle tissue could be made out of a different, more elastic substance, or bones made out of a tougher but lighter substance, etc... Are you dead set on it being accomplished by an increase in muscle/bone density? $\endgroup$ – Mike DiBaggio Oct 7 '16 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ There are other apes that has less mass, etc than us, that has 10x strength. The difference seems to come from simple muscular connections, but I don't remember quite what is the case or which ape it is. $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 7 '16 at 19:41
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    $\begingroup$ I always assumed that was because they were swinging through the trees looking for snacks all day instead of reading stackexchange. ;-) $\endgroup$ – intrepidhero Oct 7 '16 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ I am also interested to know if increased muscle mass and density is the intended solution. Given the diminishing returns of standard strength training, I feel like demanding ten times potential strength is already pushing the boundaries of possibility. $\endgroup$ – Lord Dust Oct 7 '16 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ @mike dibaggio and Lord Dust, interesting point. I am not opposed to a different way of increasing strength. I was actually considering different materials added to the bone, but I hadn't thought of something different for the muscles, I like the idea of applying new materials there as well for increased elasticity. I mainly thought of density as part of it as I need more durability along with strength and stamina. $\endgroup$ – Majaii Oct 8 '16 at 2:18
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Would the people become 10x heavier? If so, drowning becomes a serious risk, as these hypothetical humans would obtain a much smaller percentage of their needed swimming-force from their buoyancy, and being 10x stronger would not save them. (Ex. Suppose that normal humans are 10% denser than water, and are twice as strong as they need to be to tread. Aka, they can tread 2*10%= 20% of their own weight. Therefore, your hypothetical humans would also be able to tread 20% of their own weight, but now buoyancy only provides an additional 10% of their weight. Meaning they have only 30% of the necessary force, and are not nearly strong enough to swim).

If the people stay roughly the same weight, then they become much more dangerous to each other and themselves. They can now jump about 3 times as high, greatly increasing the risk of landing badly. A toddler could easily push you out of a window. And it becomes impossible to subdue somebody without using weapons, as one small kick from them will launch you(and them) into orbit, meaning that cops and bouncers will favor the use of deadly weapons.

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  • $\begingroup$ Some very good points, I had considered swimming, but not the physics like you mentioned, very helpful. $\endgroup$ – Majaii Oct 10 '16 at 12:06
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for mentioning weight. Your center of gravity still has to remain over your feet while you are lifting anything. Otherwise you will tip over with the object you are lifting. Even in my case I notice I'm not standing perpendicular to the ground when carrying a heavy load. It would be very difficult to lift a car off the ground for example even if you were a hundred times stronger. $\endgroup$ – Stephen Lujan Jun 6 '17 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenLujan You'd have to lift the front or rear end off the ground while the other end is still supported by the ground, move towards the centre while still holding it up, and then grab the entire car with your hands outstretched sideways, and then, assuming you can find the grips, lift it up. Very difficult to prevent it from tipping forward or backward. $\endgroup$ – Milind R Feb 12 '18 at 13:09
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Increased strength most often comes at the cost of accuracy and there is a condition related to hyper strength issues. Simply put, a hyper strong being lacks the ability to control this strength in regards to tasks that require small and accurate movements. Exaggerated, this can result in completely crushing a beer bottle when the hyper strength being simply menot to drink from it. A small caring caress to a lover from the hyper strength being might be a crushing squeeze of their head instead. The ability to operate small tools that require finesse instead of brute strength can become impossible to use.

I'll try to find the medical term for it...

add...my searches for the medical term have been futile. I thought it was hyper strength syndrome, but all searching that gets me is a list of hits on a product named hyper strength. I recall it from time in a role playing game...think of it as a human attempting to inspect an ant. Little dexterous nimble fingers can do this without damaging the ant. Large strong fingers tend to squish the ant mid process. Manual dexterity and great strength tend to be inverse relations

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    $\begingroup$ I marked the other comment but this one was very useful too, I had not considered the control issues, that is very helpful. $\endgroup$ – Majaii Oct 10 '16 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Majaii I am not convinced that this would be the case in the OP's scenario. Using a technological example, the medical condition you mentioned sounds like swapping out a small motor for an enormous motor in a system without increasing the resolution of the drive or torque sensors. The drive and torque sensors have a finite resolution so each step-size equates to vastly more torque on the larger motor than the smaller one so you lose granularity. But if the machine was designed for it, as these superhumans are, this should not be a problem. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Nov 26 at 22:42
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    $\begingroup$ That's not to say there wouldn't be some biological concessions made for such a thing (i.e. more neurological capacity might be consumed to simultaneously maintain the degree of fine control and high end strength due to the larger range of strength that can be applied). You might not necessarily clumsier, but you may have to sacrifice something else brain-related . $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Nov 26 at 22:42
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FEET An infanteer typically carries 80 lbs of kit, and weighs about 200 lbs themselves. The average human male has about 17 sq in of area on the sole of each foot. This results in about 16 psi pressure on the ground, standing still.

If that infanteer now tries to carry an 800 lbs load, they are now exerting about 59 psi on the ground. Walking will easily double that, or more. For the purposes of simplifying the math, I am not taking into account your engineered human's greater muscle mass.

60+ psi greatly exceeds the ground pressure exerted by modern-day machinery, which sinks on soft ground. If foot size does not scale, I would expect that this will have a significant impact on architecture and behaviour. Importantly, it will greatly limit the use of this "super strength".

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  • $\begingroup$ This is very useful as well, I had not considered the weight on the feet. Might be okay if they have basically carbon fiber skeletons to reduce weight, but still something to consider. $\endgroup$ – Majaii Oct 10 '16 at 12:05
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Actually, there wouldn't be too many problems. If you can enhance a human's strength by 10x, you can change his composition. You can create humans who have bones that have more graphene than bone. We would get lighter bones and more durable ones. We managed to merge skin with spider silk and it became really flexible to the point where a normal gun can't penetrate it. And all we need are denser muscles.

Create a human with more type 2x fibers and of course density and strengthen the tendons and ligaments. Make the human less dependent on water so drop water percentage from 65% to 50%. The human we have created is basically about the same weight maybe a bit heavier but much stronger.

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They would not have to be heavier to be stronger, a slight change to the skeletal stem can double, triple or even quadruple the strength of a human, at the cost of speed and range of motion.

This works just by using mechanical advantage, no super dense muscular tissue needed.

This has to do with our arms being levers and pullies, with all of the load at the end, and the muscle (force) right next.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you elaborate? $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Jan 23 '18 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @T.J.L. The same way levers and gears works. Longer levers or larger gears allow you to apply more force at less speed or less force at greater speed, depending on which end you are on. Short arms can lift more all things being equal. That's why you carry heavy things close to your body instead of away from your body with arms outstretched. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Nov 26 at 22:51
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen My comment was written in the hope the author would enhance the answer with more specifics. $\endgroup$ – T.J.L. Nov 27 at 13:08
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Something you might want to consider is the physiological phenomenon of muscle contraction, and how that system would create the physical strength you're looking for.

More power means more electrolytes being depleted. Without the excess needed, people would literally have their muscles seaze and in extreme cases their organs no longer be able to move internally, like the heart pumping.

Another perspective that might shed light on the new physical system is comparing regular humans to animals. Humans have insane endurance compared to other animals, but sometimes we are outmatched in speed and strength. Think about how those differences manifest physically, and how their weaknesses might become those of the mega-humans you're talking about.

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They may have a shorter life expectancy than normal human, if they have faster metabolism - specifically, if their cells duplicates faster than normal human cells.

I expect these meta-human have similar mechanism to grow up like normal human. When new cells are produced, DNA is duplicated and distributed in both cells, but each time the end of DNA string will be slightly damaged. We have evolved a sequence called Telomere at the end of the DNA string, to sacrifice itself and protect the main DNA string from the duplication wear. When the Telomere zone is used up, the cell will immediately kill itself: since the DNA is now unprotected, it's better not to mitosis. (cancer cells and stem cells have a way to extend their Telomere, but normal cells doesn't)

And that basically shows that a cell can only duplicate itself a certain amount of times. If your meta-human's body cell mitosis faster, than I expect it to have a short life expectancy.

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The reason your research seems to cap at about 3-4x strength is because that is about the theoretical limit of biology based on what we see in other animals of similar size to our own. That said, 10x strength is doable without magic if you get into cybernetic enhancements. An electric motor the size of your bicep can pull hundreds of pounds of force quite easily. If you attach your motor to a transmission system, then a cybernetic limb can scale torque in a way biology can not so that you can slow lift absolutely incredible weights with little extra total strength needed; so, a person whose body has been surgically augmented and reinforced with machinery could obtain at least 10x strength no problem.

Cyborgs come with many caveats

Biology becomes your weakest link: If you want to pick up 500 lbs with one hand, you need to reinforce everything from you hand up your arm and down your back all the way to your feet (and possibly even the floor you are standing on); otherwise, a single wimpy organic chunk will become your weak link that breaks under the force. Such a cyborg would likely need their outer torso, and all four limbs completely replaced. The head, spine, and endocrine system needs to remain in tack though for this "person" to still think, perceive and feel like a human. You digestive tract, pulmonary, and respiratory systems will also need to be left at least partially intact to keep your organic parts alive.

Cybernetics are foreign bodies: You will also need some pretty serious anti-rejection augmentation to prevent what is left of the body from rejecting the cybernetic parts. Anti-rejection medication weaken the immune system, and would likely not do the trick for such an advance cybernetic integration to work. This is where your biological engineering skills become important because you'd have to reprogram the immune system to accept the extensive foreign bodies without weakening it against infection and bleeding out.

You now have a two sets of needs: Your body parts that are left will continue to need nutrients that can not be delivered by an electrical system; so, you will need to continue eating to keep your organs alive, and your super strong mechanical body will need a strong electrical power source, lubricants, replacement parts, etc. that the body cannot produce. This can make surviving in hostile environments far more problematic for the cyborg.

Newtonian Physics: Just because you are 10x as strong does not mean you have 10x as much inertia. When a 200 lb person pushes a 100 lb piece of furniture, the furniture tends to move because it has less inertia/friction to overcome. But when a 200lb cyborg pushes a 1000 lb piece of industrial equipment, the equipment may stay put and the cyborg just gets pushed backwards. This means workplaces may need specialized foot-holds and things to brace against if you want your workers to be able to exert their full strength to any effect.

High torque may be strong, but not fast: If your cybernetics rely on torque adjustments to lift greater loads, this means that you slow down in proportion to how much you speed up; so, lifting 1000 lbs over your head may not be too hard, but throwing it might be impossible because you can only lift that weight when geared all the way down. If your cyborg wants to throw, punch, run, etc. He may need to gear up and do that at much closer to human-like strengths. Where mechanics are concerned doing both strong and fast requires a lot more power and therefore bigger motor systems that may not fit in your human sized cybernetic chassis.

Looking human: As long as you are taking out human parts to replace instead of just building on top of them, your overall frame remains the same. As for skin, you could theoretically graft human skin over the cyber parts like a terminator, but it may tair too easily under such conditions. As long as you just mean looks mostly human, then the cybernetic parts could be hidden under kevlar reinforced polymer synthetic skin, or you just hide those bits under clothing.

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What about heat and energy?

Having 10x the strength is great and all, but if you are putting out 10x the strength you are also generating 10x the heat and consuming 10x the energy. The energy can be solved by eating more and absorbing this in your efficient superbody. You would also not be using the 10x strength all the time, just like we "normal" humans arent lifting weights while running all the time. But that heat is a massive problem. You dont have an increased surface area of skin and you would somehow need to evaporate massive amounts of water to keep your temperature at a reasonable level. So you either have to pace the strength and use it sparingly with lots of downtime inbetween or you need to have liters of water&salt and accelerated water uptake in the intestines to prevent dehydration.

As a tangent, to achieve the similar stamina you'll need some serious upgrades to your humanoids that make the upgrades to the muscles and bones look like childsplay. First off your muscle cells store a bit of energy beforehand to use when they get active. This gives a short burst of energy of a few seconds before the first energy cycle gets going. But if you are using 10x the energy you either need magically higher storage amounts (the body would love to store more if it could) or you need to have the first energy cycle boot up much faster. If you went from zero to full 10x strength you would quite literally last 2 seconds before you ran out without it.

This energy cycle also has limits and will eventually need to be supplemented by converting fat into energy. This requires the oxygen you breathe and its nice that the heart is pumping faster but your lungs arent going to diffuse oxygen into the blood any faster. So you would need to find a more efficient method to get your oxygen supply. If it is possible to scale up the lungs of birds would likely be more efficient but lack the 10x higher efficiency you'll need. So you need super-blood that can carry 10x the oxygen, bind it in 10x the speed (without binding it so much that the cells who need it cant take it off of them) and handle the higher accidity of all that oxygen as well.

Now you just need a more efficient way to deal with waste products. Muscles can only dump so much into the bloodstream at a time and when going anaerobic because the fat cycle cant keep up like happens to us normal humans have you'll be stockpiling lactic acid in your muscles. This in itself is not a problem, the acidic nature does not damage the cells (it was a bad correlation that cause the "fact" that lactic acid damages cells and cause muscle pain to arise). What is a problem is that this stockpile needs to go and be processed. Your superblood can transport it but most of his is processed by your liver and you have no idea when your blood will be passing the liver again. So instead you'll need specialized liver cells at the end of the muscle where the blood converges again to return to the heart. These cells take the waste, process it and use a miniature lymphatic system to return the processed lactic acid (now suger again) to just before the muscle so it can stream righr back in. The lymphatic system is basically a passive secondary bloodvessle system for blood and liquid that doesnt return to the bloodvessles immediately amongst other things.

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