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Questions tagged [bio-mechanics]

For questions about the mechanical processes that allow organisms to live, including respiration, consumption, excretion. Focus on shapes of body parts and connections between parts.

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48
votes
15answers
13k views

What injury would be of little consequence to a biped but terrible for a quadruped?

Let's imagine a group of people who can turn from human to wolf at will. Wolves are quadrupeds, and humans are biped, so I guess their weight is differently shared in their body, notably when they ...
46
votes
22answers
8k views

Advantage of luminescent eggs?

For example, a quote from one of the Witcher 3: Blood and Wine's side quests says The eggs themselves are a sight to behold, luminescent. The man (hologram) is referring to giant centipede eggs. ...
37
votes
8answers
9k views

How to modify the human eye to see into the ultraviolet and infrared bands?

If I'm writing a sci-fi story and I wanted to include humans with modified eyesight that see into the ultraviolet and infrared bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, what would I have to change about ...
35
votes
8answers
7k views

Can a human being live with a continuous stream of blood instead of pulses?

For any reason, a human heart is replaced with a pump that instead of pulses provides a continuous stream of blood. It varies the pressure, as a heart does, as needed. Ignore such technical issues as ...
35
votes
11answers
7k views

Would humans be able to derive nutrition from foodstuffs found on alien planets?

Suppose humans have developed the technology to travel between star systems. This might be some science-fiction method like warp drive, jump drive, peanut butter drive, hyperspace drive or whatever, ...
34
votes
11answers
10k views

Why are low gravity humans depicted as TALL?

I totally get why humans who have colonised a low gravity environment (Mars or an asteroid, for instance) are skinny. Muscles doing less work, square cube law, force output of a muscle proportional to ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the bio-mechanical plausibility of a fox with venomous fangs?

For context, I've been working on a fantasy race for use in a science fiction novel, the gist of which is essentially a red fox that has had its genes manipulated by a supernatural force with the ...
22
votes
15answers
3k views

Symbiotic benefits for large sentient bio-machine

I’m working on a setting, and have a state I want to achieve but need to come up with a compelling reason for why it is the way it is (even if no one but me ever knows the ‘why’.) I’m after a reasoned,...
19
votes
5answers
5k views

What would be the disadvantages and advantages of having four fingers instead of five?

Animated creatures generally have four fingers (including thumbs). In a real-world context what physical possible consequences would result in having only four (or 8) fingers? Physiologically, what ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

Fart & Furious: flatulence as acceleration booster possible?

It's the Olympics, and it'll be one the world won't soon forget. The sprinters are in position on the starting blocks, the signal is given and the runners are off! However, one man gives off a fart so ...
17
votes
3answers
940 views

Could a Species Use Tools (and Build a Civilization) Without Thumbs?

If humans were to vanish completely from the Earth rapture-style, other primates would possibly slowly evolve and eventually take our place (in a few million years?), since they have both the basic ...
17
votes
3answers
523 views

Anthropomorphic Animal Head Support

So I have struck another snag in my draft involving my character's biology. It is an anthropomorphic animal related to the pantherinae subfamily. So far, its physical structure resembles that of a ...
16
votes
4answers
897 views

Dragon forelimb placement

Most dragons (before Skyrim and GoT) had six limbs in total, four legs and a pair of wings. The question is how would a dragon's forelimbs be placed? It's obvious they have good terrestrial ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

Where would a “Magic gland” go for full-body saturation of magic?

If there were some organ, akin to the liver or a gland (I'm blanking on organ functions right now), that produces magical energy to project through the body, its various vessels, and directly out of ...
13
votes
11answers
2k views

Why would a body plan with multiple eating mouths evolve?

Aside from very simple or colonial organisms, all animals on Earth have only one mouth for eating. Many organisms have multiple spiracles or even multiple anuses, but not mouths.
13
votes
6answers
527 views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 6: Radiation protection

Previous parts here: Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 2: nervous system Creating a scientifically semi-...
13
votes
2answers
531 views

Pharbohydrates vs Carbohydrates

Question: Are there are any serious biological or evolutionary plausibility issues with separating the energy storage/production function from the production of structural/regulatory biomass? ...
12
votes
10answers
1k views

Neutral, science-based Undead

I'm looking for one or more biological processes that could be bolstered, changed, or introduced to a human to create a severely extended lifespan, ideally requiring death first, in order to best ...
12
votes
5answers
510 views

What minerals that are more durable than calcium would be suitable for bones?

Edit: I am asking in the context of alien life, should have specifyed that to begin with. I have many ideas for fantasy/sci fi races, and one that I kept coming back to is a species with bones that ...
12
votes
4answers
528 views

Creating a plausible death world

Could a planet's biosphere be as insanely violent a la War Against the Chtorr or Fragment? Pretty much every organism, even the plants, is omnivorous and voracious. The two biggest obstacles to this ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How can dragons propel their breath attacks to a long distance

So if you remember my dragons: They aren't that big (roughly a shire horse in size, but a longer neck and a tail) They use graphene in their bodies, which might or might not explain how they fly They ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

Building The “Perfect” Mount

Horses are not perfect for war but they are still very good when trained. How to make a horse better for the following conditions? be stronger in the act of charging infantry and other horseman ...
11
votes
8answers
983 views

What's the most plausible way to bio-engineer an underground ecosystem, without photosynthesis, to produce oxygen?

Here's the full question: What's the most plausible way to bio-engineer an underground ecosystem, without using photosynthesis, so a mine system would not need an active air exchange system? (It was ...
11
votes
4answers
555 views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 3: Physical shock resistance

Part 1 here: Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton Part 2 here: Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 2: nervous system In most movies, comics and ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Biology of a Firestarter

Biologically speaking, what would be the best real world explanation for a pyro, torch, fire-starter type mutation. Leeching heat energy from the environment might freeze dry your surroundings. ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Could 'robotic' prostheses be possible in the victorian era?

In my world I would like to have a cyborg-inspired veteran, but am not sure what kinds of prostheses would be possible, ideally without the use of electrics. My main concern is how the prostheses ...
9
votes
4answers
841 views

Is a reptile with diamond scales possible?

I thought of a concept for a dragon or similarly gigantic reptile with a special adaptation, in which they’re born with scales made almost entirely of carbon. Then, over an incredibly long life cycle, ...
9
votes
8answers
661 views

Weapons for bioengineered aliens

So I'm working on an alien race I'm calling the Zaux. They look sort of like big, upright stomatopods. They're a super collectivist hive society, completely dedicated to their species' survival. ...
8
votes
8answers
557 views

How long would it take to transform a human into a space-ship and back?

This is not a very hard-science-fiction tale, but more about human relations and adaptability, but I still want it to sound plausible. A space faring civilisation that descend from humans uses bio-...
8
votes
6answers
411 views

How could dragons effectively use their wings as weapons in ground combat?

One reason I prefer classical western dragons over wyverns is that they aren't totally handicaped on the ground. However, those forelegs are only supposed to be for better locomotion on ground and ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Humans with a scorpion-like tail?

I'm trying to create a new race of humanoids that are in appearance almost identical to humans with one exception: They have an extension of their spine protruding from their back, much like a tail. ...
8
votes
2answers
300 views

Wings for orbital transfer bioships? - The ascent

I've been looking at the altitude boosted SSTO designs from the 90s that were designed to be lifted to launch altitude by modified jetliners and thinking about bumblebees and wondering if bioships ...
8
votes
5answers
223 views

Living nests for insects - Part 1: Optimal Hive shape

I've been playing with the idea of living nests for insects for a while now to help populate my worlds. The idea is that they don't build a static nest out of wood pulp and other material but have a ...
8
votes
5answers
301 views

Sanity check: 4D bio-wheels

In our 3D world, it is basically impossible to evolve living wheels, or helicopter rotors, or anything similar because free rotation of an axle dictates that there is no fixed connection to the body ...
8
votes
3answers
884 views

Stationary eye with moving pupil, is it possible?

I am making a sci-fi web-comic set on an alien world and I thought up an idea for an eye that works much like an eye from a mammal, but instead of moving the whole eye, only the pupil moves. This idea ...
8
votes
3answers
515 views

How could water breathing animals have a warm-blooded level of metabolism?

In the popular merfolk topic, I always use the model of marine mammals, not water-breathing fish-like animals. They breathe air, that turbo-charged 20% oxygen fluid that enables the scale of ...
8
votes
6answers
499 views

Would it be possible to rearrange a dragon's flight muscle to somewhat circumvent the square-cube law?

The square-cube law holds true only for objects that are similar. In evolution, you can't make big leaps forward, but since most fantasy worlds are created by gods or people who think they're gods, I'...
8
votes
2answers
243 views

The Biology behind a slime that uses hydrofluoric acid to disable and digest prey.

So I've been working on a low magic world where magic is actually just another form of energy that can be actualized, similar to alchemy in Full Metal Alchemist. Although development has taken a ...
8
votes
4answers
267 views

Are Extraterrestrial's pagoda trees plausible?

In the National Geographic mini-series Extraterrestrial or Alien Worlds, they featured a hypothetical gas giant moon called the Blue Moon. The Blue Moon orbits a binary star, has a very dense ...
8
votes
1answer
217 views

Developing a scientifically accurate species of dragon-like humanoids

I'm trying to figure out a way to make this species as I envision it while still maintaining scientific realism. I want to get it as close to "yes, this could exist in the real universe" as possible. ...
8
votes
4answers
450 views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 8: Communication

Previous parts here: Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 1: Skeleton Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, part 2: nervous system Creating a scientifically semi-...
8
votes
2answers
298 views

Is a 500 kg flying creature possible?

I usually like to leave some wiggle room for myself when fleshing a concept out. Dragons make that sort of impossible, same's true for nanomachines but ripped senators are a question for another day. ...
8
votes
2answers
386 views

Are my wing-walking griffins viable?

This is the third question in a series of such for my worldbuilding project that deals with plausible fantasy creatures. Previously, I have pondered cockatrices and hydras, but now we move on to ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Is there any reason centaurs can't fit their own horseshoes?

Since the invention of hard road surfaces, a centaur would need to wear metal shoes like any other horse-like creature. Can you see any barrier to a suitably qualified centaur (a) being a ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Humans with 360 Degree Vision across IR, Visible, UV and XRay?

Wearable and implantable technologies are increasingly blurring the line between natural and augmented reality. Currently, our commercially available computer-aided vision systems for the blind are ...
7
votes
3answers
555 views

How big would a human have to be to have a full set of redundant organs?

I'm trying to design a realistic genetically engineered nanotech super-soldier with a full set of redundant organs. How much more interior volume and thus height/weight/muscle mass would a human body ...
7
votes
3answers
185 views

How can perpetually-gliding lifeforms develop space travel?

Malgrovian gliders inhabit the middle layers of the atmosphere of Malgrov, a gas dwarf. They spend most of their life gliding, preying on giant balloon-like floating lifeforms. When they get older, ...
7
votes
2answers
259 views

Giving dragons more flight muscle

Okay, we know the type-IIb FG muscle fibers are the strongest stuff we can use. So, the only thing we can do is attach more, but how? Dragons are 180 cm tall at the shoulders with a total neck+head ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

How might a purely mechanical 'voice' function?

In my world there are mechanical semi-humanoid automata. Would it be possible to make them speak in a fashion that sounds natural (i.e. human)? How might it function? The mechanism should be capable ...
6
votes
8answers
275 views

Could a medium sized mammal in the order carnivora evolve to be bipedal?

In the movie Guardians of the Galaxy (and a few others), we meet a bipedal raccoon known as Rocket (who I am aware did not evolve to be bipedal, but I am using him as an example). I honestly love the ...