There are many theories about how teleportation could work (warning: tvtropes). One of them is that the body is completely disassembled on a molecular level and reassembled at the target destination. This leads to ethical problems like “Am I still me, even after I got completely disassembled and the original me has been destroyed?”.

What I am interested in is not the ethical implications of teleportation by disassembling and reassembling, but the applicability to shapeshifting.

Shapeshifting is the changing of ones body from one form into a different one (again: tvtropes). An example that is often used is the Werewolf – a human that can change into the form of a wolf and vice versa. There are already a few questions on WorldBuilding that deal with the transformation, but nothing about disassembling a human on a molecular level and reassembling all of his molecules to form a wolf.

For this scenario, we will disassemble a roughly average European human and say that this human is about 1,70 metres tall and weighs about 70 kg. Only the molecules and compounds of this humans body can be used. The machine that is used will not disassemble the body into single atoms, but into the existing molecules and compounds (e.g. glucose, water, ...). There are no clothes or other materials that could influence this little experiment in any way. This includes things that could potentially be in the stomach of the person, other organisms, piercings, ...

How big would the wolf be that I could create from the molecules from this human? What differences to a normal wolf would this one have, if I were to use all of the molecules from the human?

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    $\begingroup$ Average European is 70.8kg, not average European male who will be somewhat heavier, probably around 85kg. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Mar 16, 2017 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Thanks for pointing it out. To not invalidate the existing answer I changed the question to "average human" instead of "average human male". $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Mar 16, 2017 at 8:39
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    $\begingroup$ That would be two wolfs per human, obviously. A good wolf and a bad wolf, one white made of the angelic (or divine) part of the human, and one black made of the demonic (or animalic) part. The good wolf would seek to become a guardian dog, while the bad wolf would immediately seek some sheep to kill. The problem is how to recombine the two wolfs into one human, and what to do with the sheep molecules acquired by the bad wolf. After several decades of such splitting and recombination researchers will find that the increasingly docile human population is in large part made of sheep molecules. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 16, 2017 at 17:45

3 Answers 3


The difference between humans and wolfes is in a few percent of DNA and maybe some proteins. Since you deconstruct the human body into lower elements that DNA and proteis, you will end up with the same "bricks", since DNA and proteins are made by the same basic assemblies.

In principle you could reshuffle the very same bricks to make a 70 kg wolf, or 2 35 kg wolves...

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    $\begingroup$ Technologically Induced Schizophrenia with a side of Lycanthropy! +1 $\endgroup$ Mar 15, 2017 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ Now THATS an ethical problem, having two wolves created $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2017 at 0:25

I'll extend this a bit by providing a potential method for the shape-shifting that takes this molecular reordering into account.

You can use Stem Cells

If the shape-shifter is able (consciously or not) to devolve its current cells into stem cells, they can be used to recreate the new shape while staying "biological", possibly doing it in stages, one organ at a time.

Of course, it would have to be very accelerated.

As a bonus, you can include something about the tidal pull of the full moon to prompt the transformation hormone.


Well, the DNA of a human is complicated. Humans likely have a gene in them that makes low amount of hair. Take it out and you have a hairy human. If you mix and match other human genes, such as the length of a tailbone to become longer resulting in a tail, you could get a werewolf like human. But it would cost tons and likely many generations to get there. if you want some more info on this you could check out: https://theconversation.com/safe-and-ethical-ways-to-edit-the-human-genome-73110

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We prefer answers to include supporting data and citations where possible to improve their value to the original poster (OP) and others interested in the subject. You can learn more about this in our help center. Your answer, while well intentioned, reads more like casual speculation. Could you take the time to improve the answer with citations? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 29, 2018 at 20:41

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