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Currently On Hiatus: Please Enjoy A New Reader Question Every Weekday!


I have to ask the age-old question here: how does centaur biology work in your universe?

Where are their major organs located? Two hearts? Two sets of lungs? Anything in their upper torso, or is it more of a glorified neck? How do they get enough air through such a relatively small mouth/nose?

Centaurs are already wildly impractical from an anatomical standpoint. One concept that I’ve seen, involves the two halves specializing: The upper body hosts the respiratory and primary circulatory system, while the lower body houses the digestive and excretory system and a secondary heart.

With the intestines moved to the lower torso, this leaves more room in the upper torso for a single set of oversized lungs and a hypertrophied primary heart (the reason for the primary heart being in the upper torso would be to make it easier to pump blood to the brain). There would also be a secondary heart in the lower torso, with a nerve ganglion where the two halves meet to coordinate the pumping of the two hearts. The stomach would be close to the front of the lower body (to keep it in a more direct line with the mouth), with the kidneys, colon, and intestines behind it.

Oh, and in regards to getting enough air… well, first of all, based on Kory’s sketch, the mouth and nose are larger than humans, and the neck is thicker. I’d lay odds on a larger airway. Also, in addition to the large lungs in the upper torso, there are several ways to make the body more efficient:

* Greater concentration of 2,3-Bisphosphoglyceric acid (2,3-BPG). This is the molecule that allows people who live at higher altitudes where the air is thinner (such as the Andes mountains) to adapt to the lower oxygen. They have about a 60% higher concentration of 2,3-BPG than people who live at sea level.

* Higher concentration of myoglobin, such as in whales and seals. This would allow oxygen to be stored in the muscle tissue and released when needed.

* Higher concentration of red blood cells. Obviously, since red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body, the more red blood cells you have, the more oxygen they can carry. This is one of the adaptations that occurs naturally in people who run regularly, or exercise at high altitudes.

Nice details, and really well thought-out; let’s hear from the author, though, hmm? Since it’s her universe?

I really doubt that Kory has given that much thought to how the anatomy of a centaur works. To be honest, I didn’t either, until Gwenhyvar posted her question.

Most of the mythical community in Skin Deep, in their true form, are close enough to human (e.g. satyrs, medusa, nixie) or animals (e.g. gryphons, manticores, nemean lions, pterippi) that we can say “well, obviously, their anatomy is similar to a lion” or “a horse” or whatever. Centaurs are one of the exceptions, since they’re the melding of the upper half of a biped with the lower half of a quadruped.

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