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Anatomica Centauris by JackRover Anatomica Centauris by JackRover
I don't claim anatomical accuracy in any way, this is just a sketch to show the general arrangement of the organs and how the skeleton looks like in my reconstruction of the internal systems of a Centaur. I cut the organs and the bones where necessary, but I hope the overall design is clear.
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My hypothesis stems from the origin I chose for the Centaurs: in ancient times they appeared on earth as spirits of the wind in the Mongolian steppes, and then started to take the shape of a man combined with a horse… as the time passed, this spirits started to became always more physical, and as the two systems biologically developed to cope one with the other, magic supported the entire organism until the whole thing worked. So, what I’m saying is that basically the Centaurs started as creatures with 2 sets of all organs, two lungs, two digestive systems, two hearts etc. but as the time passed and biology started to take over the magical aspects, the binary systems progressively organized to fit the task of keeping the Centaur alive and started to work as a single system: some of the organs shrink or atrophied, while some others enlarged and turned hypertrophied. For example, it’s impossible to make two sets of lungs work properly for a mammalian respiratory system, so the second pair simply disappeared, while the first pair enlarged and developed many methods to cope with the relative small amount of oxygen they can intake (we’ll see that later). On the contrary, a second heart is required to keep the extremities vital, so even if the upper heart enlarged (it was preferred due to its proximity to the brain), the lower one shrank but persisted, and a large nervous ganglion (a la stegosaurus) evolved to assist in the complex task of synchronize the beat of the two hearts. So basically the upper torso specialized to host the respiratory and circulatory system by extending abnormally the ribcage and filling the space left in the torso with the right organs, while the lower torso specialized with the digestive and excretory system, made bigger because the Centaur has to eat a lot and absorb a vast quantity of nutrients to keep its organism efficient (in few words: everything is bigger in the Centaur.)

The main facts are written in the picture, but here are some minor details:

Lungs work through a combination of sheer power of the diaphragm (this means that Centaurs take extremely long and deep breaths) and biochemical adaptations: like in moles and other mammals which have to cope with oxygen problems, Centaurs have an increased capability of absorb oxygen and tolerate its absence. Besides, there is also another clever trick they developed: in nature, there is only one type of creature which have to breath for two and share its circulatory system with another creature to which is fused, and that is a mother: we don’t think to it often but a mother is two creature in one, and has to do all the tasks which she used to do for one being, to sustain two lives. How does she do that? It’s simple: in mammals the fetus has a blood composition slightly different from that of an adult, with a special kind of hemoglobin which is far better in binding oxygen. Centaurs retained this kind of hemoglobin in adulthood too.

The skull reflects the respiration habits of the Centaurs… the nasal opening is greatly enlarged and is sustained by a bony protrusion (which gives to the Centaur a characteristic "Greek nose"), but to grant a sufficient amount of air intake, the Centaur often has to breath with its mouth too. This leads to a series of bone modifications which in humans are note as Long Face Syndrome, which contributes to make the face of the Centaur look superficially similar to that of a horse, although the Centaur body is designed to cope with the modifications, so that they don’t have drawbacks from the “syndrome”, and the overall aspect is neat and shapely. A Centaur’s brain is bigger than ours, but a large part of it consists in a large cerebellum which coordinates the six limbs, so the occipital bone is bigger and the entire skull extends backwards. The mouth can be opened more than that of a human (the Centaur has to eat a lot, remember?) and powerful muscles assist mastication.

Speaking of eating, the Centaur’s diet is essentially made up by game and a lot of proteins, as they originated as prairie hunters: although it is placed in the horse half, the digestive system is very “human”. Horse has a relatively small stomach, while Centaurs has a very big one: besides, they have a caecum, which they use to integrate their diet with vegetables and various kinds of herbs. They easily get drunk, but this is not due to their inability to vomit, because in fact they can. Instead, the inebriation is induced by the absence of enzymes which metabolize alcohol: this activates the liver and thus diverts the blood from the primary brain to the digestive coordination ganglion, unleashing inhibitions and inducing euphoria more than usual. They have a taste for everything sweet, and that’s why they used to love wine in ancient times, because it was mixed with honey. Also, they have a low metabolism.
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In encourage you to ask questions :D
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:icongruemasta:
GrueMasta Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2017
The one thing I think is missing is a secondary motor-brain located in the horse-body. Otherwise there's not enough neural-capacity dedicated to motor control to maintain human intelligence.
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:iconacoronadluvsprowl:
acoronadluvsprowl Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh wow.
This is actually really cool and probably scientifically accurate.
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:icondino-drawer:
Dino-drawer Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I just f******* love this!
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:iconnightlilac:
Nightlilac Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016
This is amazing! Centaurs have been my favorite mythological creature since I was just a kid, but as I've gotten older, a bit of the charm wore off as I attempted to understand how in the world an animal like that could actually work. Most of the explanations I got were along the lines of "they're fictional beasts, so it doesn't matter" or "they're basically magic, that's how". I've recently done some actual research on many of the different interpretations on centaur anatomy, and this is by far my favorite one. It makes a lot of sense both in structure and function. Really good job here. ^_^
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:iconbeatawiggen:
BeataWiggen Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2016
... sent you a note - PLEASE CHECK! Need answer quickly! Thxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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:iconram-brandt:
RAM-brandt Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I had always thought that the upper torso would look like a throat on the interior like a normal horse, but with musculature and some bones for the structure and strength of the arms. there would likely be less ribs in the upper torso than in a human. All vital organs would reside in the rear horse torso and be nearly identical to those of a regular horse. The jaw, throat, and nostrils would be increased in size from a standard human to allow for effective breathing and specialized teeth for a herbivoracious diet.

Only problem with this is people would throw a fit because girls would have "crotch nipples" and no breasts on the upper torso. Not that I care, I just know how people think.
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:icondreadalous:
Dreadalous Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This was fascinating work. Superb :D
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:icontheorangeelephant:
TheOrangeElephant Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2015  Hobbyist
very well done. i hope there will be more to follow
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:iconampforyou:
ampforyou Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm very impressed for this detail about centaur's anatomy.
Akari Akazaki (Good Job) [V3] Good job, pal
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:iconreinaldo-rasec:
REINALDO-RASEC Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
It's a great anatomy. It's all very well made and designed.
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:iconohkey-freeflyer:
OhKey-FreeFlyer Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
that's a hell of a thing. I have centaur characters and I took a moment to wonder about their anatomy as well and how the organs would work. I quite like what you've done here. all very awesome
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:iconnintendraw:
Nintendraw Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Dayum, that is one detailed story to go along with the art! Best centaur anatomy/explanation ever! 8D
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:icons1mp50n-92:
S1MP50N-92 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist

I've never cared much for centaur as a mythical creature mainly, because their physiology makes so little sense (Why does something need two torsos? What would you even use two torsos for?) but you've done a very good job at showing how you think that could work. And not only do you have an excellent diagram but also a verily well thought out description to go with it. All in all I really like this piece.

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:iconghirahimsremlit:
GhirahimsRemlit Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
I love how not only have you given us a detailed image but masses of info in the description too!
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:iconaldreaalien:
AldreaAlien Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Professional Writer
Wow, nice work. I'm especially taken with this as, except for the lack of a third heart for the males, this is exactly how I pictured the internal workings of my space centaurs.
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:iconcharanty:
Charanty Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
How do baby centaurs look like? And how big are they when they are born? Because as you remember human women has a number of problems because they are bipedal and heads of human babies are quite big. Horses too have problems, tough, different ones. Do centaurs have both problems here or they have non of these?
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:iconmensjedezeemeermin:
MensjeDeZeemeermin Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012
Very thoughtful, will take some time to digest! A huge amount of artistic and intellectual labor, all skillfully employed! Right to my favorites it goes!
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:iconmarhaus:
marhaus Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012   Digital Artist
Anatomical accuracy? Well, I doubt anyone can prove you wrong :D
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:iconashewednesday:
AsheWednesday Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Student General Artist
This is incredible! I love the thought and detail you put into this.
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:iconjackrover:
JackRover Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thanks!! I'm glad you like it :D
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