You are a intelligent adult quadruped; suddenly, you find yourself in a humanoid body due to magic! How long does it take you to learn how to move in your new body?

Imagine a race of sapient quadruped mammals who have a society much like our own. They are able to function very well with their four-legged gait, but have almost no ability or concept of moving on two legs. Through magic or science, one of them suddenly transforms into a bipedal mammal.

What would be the process of the individual in adapting to a vastly different form such as this? How little or much might they struggle in learning to walk and properly balancing? Almost certainly, it would be easier for an adult to learn how to walk compared to a baby learning from scratch for the first time, as a matured adult will have better body control and intellect.

Is this something that might take a few minutes, a few hours, days, weeks, months, or more? What factors might help the process go faster?

Twilight having issues

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    $\begingroup$ may I suggest you to ask a physiotherapist or a wizard, if you desires immediate result then choose the latter. ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Nov 8, 2017 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ @user6760 If there's one right around the next corner, then sure! But I find that unlikely =) $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2017 at 5:24
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    $\begingroup$ Requires a massive reorganisation of all parts of your brain responsible for motor control. Unsure if functions that are similar are reused. Making those connection takes long training. A baby brain is flexible, and it needs years, yours is rather stiff, so it will likely never work perfectly. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Nov 8, 2017 at 5:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Karl This sounds like the start of an answer, rather than a comment. Please, feel free. $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2017 at 6:01
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    $\begingroup$ Clearly, this new ability, gained through magic, is learned at the speed of plot. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Nov 8, 2017 at 13:09

2 Answers 2


It will take some time and quite a struggle, as their entire brain has to be "rewired" to learn the new mechanism.

You can compare it with how a human has to adapt when learning to move on a wheelchair or using crutches. On day 0 it will be a mess, after one or two weeks the movements will be as swift as in the original conditions, and with some more practice the subject can even play sports where coordination is even more important.

Of course the more frequent the practice, the quicker the adaptation.

  • $\begingroup$ With crutches and wheelchairs, you still use the original muscles, just a bit differently. Rewiring a brain to use new organs is hell difficult. I think I once read about a person born deaf who was transplanted a working ear in his twenties. Don't rememer details, but that might give an idea. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Nov 8, 2017 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Karl, arms are normally never used to sustain and propel the body. Yes, you use the same muscles, but it's the coordination between them that changes. Also the quadruped would have "just" to learn to use two legs to move and two legs to balance. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Nov 8, 2017 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ Climbing? Rowing? Not really difficult. Wheelchair I haven't tried, but crutches take an hour til perfection. Ice-skating was very easy imo, skating skis much more difficult. Have you ever tried to juggle? Perhaps four balls? Or tried to learn to write left-handed? Takes weeks, and you might never get good in it. But that's all with a brain that only has to learn the coordination, not one that first has to find out how to bend the left elbow or lift a specific finger. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Nov 8, 2017 at 6:27

I would hazard to assume that, regardless of the -grade, downgrading from 4 to 2 legs would just be a matter of 're-learning' how to balance as a new bipedal creature. As they would still have a fairly good grasp on how to use their legs, being on only 2 wouldn't be too much of a hassle; if we're dealing with a younger youth, the process of re-balancing might take 2-3 days to fully adjust, whereas adults could have a couple of (long) hours of reacclimation, and will be wobbly hobbling along in at least a day. HOWEVER, if they have a tail, and are well-versed in it's dexterousness, the process would be expedited to an extent.


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