Humanoids with Segmented Skeletons?

  • Thread starter Meluxia
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In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of a "Thin Man" having a segmented skeleton, which the player plans to incorporate into a character. Questions are raised about the feasibility and potential advantages and drawbacks of such a skeleton for a human-like organism. The experts suggest that a humanoid organism with a segmented skeleton would have high dexterity but may not be able to stand like a human due to decreased load-bearing capacity. It is also mentioned that a human's spine is already segmented, so there may not be significant differences between a normal human and one with a segmented torso and neck.
  • #1
Meluxia
Hello everyone,

A while ago I played XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and, at some point, I carried out an autopsy on a "Thin Man". Now, one of results of the discoveries of the autopsy is that a "Thin Man" has a segmented skeleton, rather like the serpent, which is supposed to be reason for their "spectacular range of motion in combat". See Thin Man Autopsy for for more information

I find the concept rather intriguing, and so I plan to incorporate as a trait of a character. That said, the information XCOM supplies is minimal...and, of course, I'm wondering if it really works like that. Naturally, I understand Fantasy/Sci-Fi tend to take liberties with reality, but I'm curious to what extent in this regard

So, in other words, I have a number of questions about this topic. And yes, I should note that biology was never my strong point, so be prepared for potential novice questions. Plus, English is not my native language so I might be unaware of certain scientific terms.

Anyway, my questions are the following:

- Is it actually remotely feasible for a human-like entity to have a segmented skeleton to begin with, or is this anatomically impossible and solely part of the realm of fantasy?

- Are there any "special" requirements for a human to have a segmented skeleton, and, if they are, what are they? That is to say, could a segmented skeleton be a single trait, or would a part of a "package deal" in the sense that a segmented skeleton in itself requires other anatomy changes?

- What would be the advantages and drawbacks of possessing such a skeleton compared to a normal human's?
 
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  • #2
Welcome to Physics Forums! What do you mean segmented skeleton? A snake skeleton is like any other vertebrates; they just have a much longer vertebral column with a correspondingly high number of ribs and nothing else (aside from a skull).

Are you asking what an organism would be like if its limbs were made in a similar arrangement? If so I imagine that said organism would have a high amount of dexterity but wouldn't be able to stand like a human. A long solid bone has a much higher load bearing capacity than a vertebral column. Consequently it is unlikely such an organism would look like a human but rather some sort of terrestrial octopus.

EDIT: upon thinking more I guess it is possible to get a humanoid organism with vertebral limbs but they would have to be quite small to take into account the decreased load-bearing capacity of their legs. They'd also be relatively weaker.
 
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  • #3
Thank for you the welcome Ryan.

Those are helpful answers and the concept of a terrestrial octopus certainly is interesting.

I'm not sure what the game means with the term segmented skeleton; it struck me as a bit vague. Hypothesizing that XCOM itself might mean that, in regards to a "segmented" skeleton, they only refer to the skeletal structure of the torso and neck as being "segmented"; the limbs would still have relatively normal anatomy. However, since a human's spine is already segmented to begin with, would there be any real differences between a normal human and human whose torso and neck segmented like that of a serpent? If I understand correctly, it appears that the differences wouldn't be overly significant, if any.
 

Related to Humanoids with Segmented Skeletons?

1. What is a humanoid with a segmented skeleton?

A humanoid with a segmented skeleton refers to a type of creature that has a skeleton made up of multiple segments or sections, similar to insects or arachnids. This differs from the typical human skeleton, which is made up of one solid bone structure.

2. Are there any real examples of humanoids with segmented skeletons?

While there are no known examples of humanoids with segmented skeletons in our current understanding of biology, there are some fictional creatures and characters that are portrayed with this feature, such as the Xenomorphs in the Alien franchise.

3. What are the potential advantages of a segmented skeleton for humanoids?

A segmented skeleton could potentially provide greater flexibility and agility for movement, as well as increased resistance to impact and injury. It may also allow for more efficient energy usage, as different segments can move independently.

4. Are there any potential drawbacks to having a segmented skeleton?

One potential drawback is the increased complexity and vulnerability of the skeletal structure. Multiple segments could also lead to joint and movement issues, and potentially make it more difficult to support the weight of the body.

5. Could humanoids with segmented skeletons evolve naturally in the future?

It is highly unlikely that humanoids with segmented skeletons would evolve naturally in the future. Evolution is driven by natural selection and adapts to the environment, and there is no evidence to suggest that a segmented skeleton would provide significant advantages for survival in human populations.

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