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Centaur Anatomy 202: Overall Skeletal Structure

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Usual disclaimer: These are my opinions! There is no real physical centaur to compare against, so the best I can do is make an educated guess. If you prefer a design other than this, that's fine, but this is what I'm going to keep drawing. If you disagree, fine, but do so politely, and above all, please don't ask I draw things your way. I know how I think it'd work, and that ain't gonna change.

It's been awhile since Anatomy 201, where we learned the basic structure of the leg bones. This drawing is the next logical step: It shows all of the rest of the bones (except the arms).

If you're an artist, the important thing to note here is how the shapes and positions of the bones inform the shape of the rest of the body. In particular, the shapes of the rib cages and the wavering curvature of the spine control the shape of nearly all of the upper and lower torso.

Interesting notes:

  • Due to a lack of cleverness on alternate Latin names, the bones of the upper body and the bones of the lower body often have the same name, disambiguated only by the words "upper" or "lower." So there are two sets of scapula (shoulder blades), two sets of thoracic and lumbar vertebrae (with somewhat different counts), and two rib cages.

  • The human rib cage has 12 pairs of ribs, of which I've drawn 11 (the bottommost pair of "floating" ribs tends to be small enough that it's hard to see anyway). An equine rib cage has either 17 or 18 ribs, depending on the species, and I have drawn 17 here.

  • With any luck, I got the number of vertebrae correct for both halves of her.

  • Don't attempt to count her teeth, though: She's a gift to you all, and she'll be mad if you look her in the mouth ;-)

  • I do not place a human pelvic bone at the waist of the upper torso. The appearance of "hips" is formed from the shapes of the lower scapula. The spine continues smoothly past where the pelvis would be with nothing to interrupt it all the way to the coccyx (tail).

  • Due to the rather unusual shape of the spine, there is minimal natural spinal support for the upper torso at the "hips". So I consider the "belly" area — where you would find intestines on a human — to be mostly muscles that support the weight of the upper torso. (We'll get into that more when I draw the muscles in a future anatomy drawing.)

So there you go. Next up, we're going to take a look at internal organs: How a centaur could possibly breathe, circulate blood, digest food, excrete waste, and eventually perhaps the long-awaited but surprisingly straightforward reproductive systems. It's gonna be a long, weird ride :)

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