I love the game Inside. Like its predecessor, Limbo, it is a game where you cannot fight; only running and hiding are allowed. The game ends however, with you coming across a large ball of meat strewn with arms, legs, heads, even whole torso's. Below is the description from the game's wikipedia

The Huddle, the amalgam of body parts that the player controls at the end of the game, had been an idea for the game since 2010, when animator Andreas Normand Grøntved had been brought aboard Playdead to do preliminary animations for it based on a drawing by artist Morten Bramsen. Bramsen's drawing of the Huddle served to guide much of the visual nature and art style for the rest of the game. To animate it, Grøntved took inspiration of the motion of Nago the demon form of the boar god from Princess Mononoke, the squishiness of the main character of the game Gish, and human behavior during crowd surfing.

And later;

This model uses a 26-body simulation of the core of the Huddle, driven by a network of impulses based on the direction of the player and the local environment, which allowed the Huddle to reconfigure itself as it needed in certain situations, such as fitting into tight spaces. They then added six arms and six legs with some pre-set animations that would also help to drive the impulse in the main body simulation. The skin of the huddle was a mix of art styles borrowed from the sculptures of John Isaacs, and the art of Jenny Saville and Rembrandt.

enter image description here

Now, it is never explained exactly how this creature came to be, whether it was born or made, but could the option even exist? Is is possible for such an amalgamation of limbs to exist and evolve in nature? If so, what evolutionary pressure would drive it to reach this form?

A list of all of the Anatomically Correct questions can be found here

Anatomically Correct Series

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The answer is "No, it can't exist in nature. You can make one, but there's no guarantee that it will survive. And no, it will never evolve. Therefore there is no evolutionary pressure to drive it to reach this form." If you had thought about this for even a moment you would've quickly realized that evolution works through mutations. Evolving useless limbs is always phased out early, especially when they're costly to produce. You could say "oh, but birds have fancy feathers" but pigments and feathers are significantly less costly compared to actual limbs. Efficiency above all else. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 21:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Aify why so passive aggressive today? Anatomically correct has asked questions about near impossible creatures in the past 1, 2, 3 And anyone who played Inside would disagree that the limbs were useless. I understand evolution and how it works my friend, and I am mildly insulted you doubt my ability to design a creature. $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 23:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I recall something like that in a science fiction story. People would be cerimoniosly added to the thing and absorbed. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Let the record show that I believe many of the anatomically correct questions are horrible questions. I apologize if I came off "passive aggressive" - that was not my intention. I am a straight forward person and I don't like to beat around the bush, nor do I mince my words; therefore, I will also tell you that I do doubt your ability to design a creature every time you ask one of these questions. I have not played the game Inside, but I would argue that however the game uses those limbs is inefficient compared to a method I could think up using less limbs. $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 2:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Aify A perfect example of this being Anatomically Correct Medusa. I had originally planned for her stone sight to be explained via a sort of fear based pheromone, but asking the question introduced me to the possess of calcification. Something I very well may have never discovered without asking the question. But Me and you have had disagreements on what qualifies a good question many times before and I am uninterested in getting into it again. 2/2 $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 3:19

3 Answers 3


Your question didn't limit the origin to natural evolution, so at least one possible explanation remains...

The Huddle is the result of a programming bug in the hive conscious of a swarm of medical nanobots. They were programmed to build functional life support structures within the bodies of battle-damaged soldiers. They were the high-tech equivalents of front line field medics whose responsibility is to keep the wounded alive and stabilize them for evacuation.

But some programmer forgot to teach them the difference between a whole living soldier and the sum of its parts.

So when a bomb exploded in the middle of the squad and all but one of the soldiers were blown into scattered body parts, the swarm decided to fuse everything that was still alive onto the still functional life support structure of the survivor's body.

The Huddle was born because a nearly magical swarm of nanobots didn't know that Corporal Thomas's arm and Captain Jones liver were not to be considered survivors on their own. The swarm did it's best with the body parts it was given and even got some of the legs working so that the Huddle could march to the nearest M.A.S.H unit for further assistence.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Congratulations, this is terrifying. $\endgroup$
    – Andon
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 4:37
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Are you my Mummy? $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ I imagine this would be infinitely more nightmarish than the other Huddle $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 3:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs, I just realized the bug in my answer's nanobots is the same bug as expressed itself in those Dr. Who episodes. Both sets of bots failed to differentiate between their patient and any nearby biological matter (such as a leather gas mask or a friend's dismembered arm). I knew that I was borrowing the existence of medical nanites from Dr. Who, but until now, I didn't realize that I was also stealing the exact same operational failure as well. Oops. I don't mind a little idea theft, but I usually at least enhance the things I steal. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ @TrEs-2b, Thanks for the check mark! We aim to please! $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 6:24

Something that occurred to me is the Bristlecone Pine. The oldest non-clonal living thing on earth, in order to adapt to its extreme environment the tree is mostly dead but keeps one strip of bark alive to connect some of its roots to its leaves. Perhaps the Huddle similarly exists in an extreme environment, with most of its body dead or desiccated, just one spine working. It would have to be somewhere mobility was irrelevant. Somewhere with food and water within reach. Perhaps the body is inevitably the target of damage, so the living part would have to "hide inside" it. Then, at some moment that it could anticipate well in advance, it starts eating more and hydrating more of its larger body/bodies in preparation for a surge of motion leading to... freedom?

Not a lot of specifics there, but I hope the structure is somewhat helpful.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So it's an almost-zombie huddle? As gross as this monster has already been, making most of it dead and putrifying elevates it to true nightmare status. Well Done! +1 $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 2:03

In Synthetic Men of Mars, there is a malfunction in one of the vats used to grow synthetic warriors (hormads). What it produces is initially much like the Huddle. But it continues to grow...

From Edgar Rice Burroughs: Synthetic Men of Mars.

“Something has gone wrong in No. 4 vat room,” he said. “Perhaps you had better have a look in there.”

When I reached No. 4 the sight that met my eyes was one of the most horrible I have ever looked upon. Something had evidently gone wrong with the culture medium, and instead of individual hormads being formed, there was a single huge mass of animal tissue emerging from the vat and rolling out over the floor.

Various internal and external human parts and organs grew out of it without any relation to other parts, a leg here, a hand there, a head somewhere else; and the heads were mouthing and screaming, which only added to the horror of the scene.

“We tried to do something about it,” said the officer, “but when we tried to kill the mess, the hands clutched us and the heads bit us. Even our hormads were afraid to go near it, and if anything is too horrible for them you can’t expect human beings to stomach it.”

I quite agreed with him. Frankly, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t get near the vat to drain off the culture medium and stop the growth; and with the hormads afraid to approach it, it would be impossible to destroy it.

Another way to produce the Huddle is described in this short fiction. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/06/04/monstro


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