Alternate Human Biology

In my upcoming novel I have a character transported to an alternate reality. His ‘real’ body is slightly… dead. And rotting. And not usable.

He wakes up in a new body artificially created in this new world he’s in. That’s not uncommon there (so also the reason the apocalypse is happening there). It’s a brand new body of the right age, gender, etc. It looks very much like him, but it’s from this new world, not our world. I want to make some sort of minor cosmetic alterations to human biology, with maybe one being obvious so he notices something is off.

My current ideas

  • centered heart, slightly different circulatory system pattern (this is the big one. Missing arteries because he doesn’t know where they are)
  • Combined liver pancreas
  • different orientation of digestive track.(instead of a tube it a…)
  • single bifurcated testicle. (this is the sign something’s different that he might noticed and comment on before one of these changes causes him harm, but its also the one I have the biggest issue with since the female anatomy should mirror the male, and I’m not sure there’s a good place for a single bifurcated ovary. I’m not good at anatomy but I think women would be almost sitting on it? or it would be squished during pregnancy?).

So that’s where I am. Quemments?

Sideways eye lids
Sweat primarily comes from places like the forearm or shin
Maybe some kind of similarity to how cows chew cud?


No. That’s not how female anatomy works. Ovaries free float somewhere near the hip bones. If they were single bifucated, they would… hmmm. Not actually sure if they would be in front or behind or above the womb? Might vary from person to person? And would probably shift above during pregnancy. Organs shift then anyway.

Different digestion, maybe breathe and eat with different tubes in the back of the throat, rather than partway down the throat?

That’s why i’m like, behind they’d have pressure from the uterus and the spine/pelvis, from the front they’re just kind of in the way of everything. I guess they could fall to the side. Would there be lump on that side? They can’t slide forward because then they’re in the way of the birth canal.

Isn’t this a fun discussion?

Tongue rooted on the roof on the mouth instead of the bottom.

What if they still used third eyelid???

twenty minutes on Wikipedia later


Not cosmetic, but the first thing I would do if I got to redesign human bodies would be making allergies go away. It’s basically a design flaw, anyway.

If I was redesigning human bodies, I’d make them more attractive. I mean, presumably somebody designed these bodies and had to convince others to use them (unless it’s some mad scientist randomly grabbing people and putting them in new bodies against their will, of course). No acne! A faster metabolism so you can eat all you want and not get fat!

If he realizes he’s in a different body anyway, and just needs something to realize he isn’t in a normal human body, these won’t help, of course

Yeah… He’s supposed to be in a ‘standard’ body, not an actually enhanced body. Still synthetic enough he’ll get looked down upon. And he’s going to spend a lot of time in carefully controlled environments because… apocalypse.

That was the original plan (in universe). Better humans, and maybe humans that can survive extreme conditions (do you realize what even a couple months in space does to a human).

In this case though he’s supposed to be a slightly aged up version of himself. Just the reality-warping powers that brought him there made it so its actually matching the local version of humanity. So the locals come in and see him pop out of the vat and the read out says “Clone” even though that might not be completely true.

Though it would be interesting if he was a regular human clone and the others weren’t… Half the plot is he’s a demon sent to destroy them.

Though back on topic, it’s about three years to grow a clone. He died at 20, is now 23. He thinks he’s more handsome as a 23 year old.

More nipples? :wink:
Now more seriously - why not check animal anatomy? Most of them got weird modifications that to us seem almost alien; for example, a horse’s ovaries dont look anything like, let’s say, a dog’s. You can find some interesting ideas there!

I had embriology like 5 years ago and it was never my fav subject, so i won’t give you very specific information, but ovaries and testicles arent actually 1:1 counterparts, they origin from the different embriological structures. So i guess it’s entirely possible for men to have one testicle and women have two ovaries. Looks like wikipedia have a whole article abt this, but i’m not going to read this and fact-check, sorry. I had enough embriology in my life. :sweat_smile:

But ad one ovary being on the one side - you know ovaries are actually tiny, like really small, so even if there were two in one it shouldn’t make a big difference. Our organs aren’t actually symmetrical in most cases and everything else just shift slightly and adapt. I such a big organ as a heart can be on one side and our chests look proportional, it wouldn’t be a problem with an ovary, so you can go either side with this.
If i came up with any other suggestions i’ll write them, just now my mind is totally blank.


Niofomune makes a good point about ovaries - they are small, much smaller than testes. The change you propose would make no discernible difference.

What if your MC’s heart rate was different? Much slower or faster?

I might be apprehensive about the squishing because on a guy you don’t want to squish so matter how small they may be :pleading_face:

Need to think what wild be the pros/cons of a faster heart rate.

Also the more extreme changes might be part of the monstrous race (someone used the cloning machine to create monsters… Or did the machines do it on their own?)

Believe me, a great deal of a woman’s organs shift during pregnancy. Our bodies evolved over time for it. I see absolutely no issue with a bifurcated single ovary.

Higher heart rate: faster breathing. Children naturally have higher heart rates than adults.

When I Googled side effects I got tachycardia. Might be something to check out. So, he might at first feel like he can’t get enough oxygen (I think he’d adapt to the feeling over time? Maybe not - might be one thing that makes him stand out) Feeling light headed. He might feel like he gets tired more rapidly. So climbing stairs - others around him not affected, but he is out of breath.

I’m going to pipe in here about a faster heart beat. You would have to get really fast for it to seem like a too fast of a heart beat. I know this from experience. I have a “fast” heart beat myself. Like my resting heart beat is what most people’s is after a mild to moderate workout. I don’t breath any faster than a normal person without extenuating circumstances and my blood oxygen level is normal. So for a faster heart beat, his heart beat would have to be somewhere up around 200 beats per minute, which is danger zone for a human.

I have slight tachycardia, but that is not a faster heart beat. Tachycardia refers to when the rhythm of the heart beat is off. So say the normal heart beat is 1 beat per second (just using an easy example, this isn’t the actual science of it). A normal person would have a heart beat of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. But a person with tachycardia would have a heart beat like 1, 2, 3, 5 or 1, 3, 4, 5 or 1, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 or something like that. A person with tachycardia has an irregular heartbeat, not necessarily a faster heartbeat. Some people with tachycardia function completely normally with no intervention (I’m one of them. My tachycardia is so slight that we didn’t even find it until I was pregnant and under observation for pre-term labor. I was 30 at the time. Tachycardia happens from birth) or the tachycardia can be so severe that medications have to be taken for them (my aunt is one of these. It’s not necessarily genetic, but it can be genetic). I believe beta-blockers are taken for tachycardia, but don’t quote me on that.

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I just checked with my BFF who is a nurse about heart beats:

Normal resting heart rate: 60-80 beats per minute

At 150 beats per minute or so, they start to panic in the hospital and administer medication to bring it down.

Yeah, I had some tachycardia issues in the past. It’s an irregular heart beat, usually the upper chamber adding in some extra beats, which can lead to a-fibrillation. Fun Fact: the proper way to fix it is to turn it off and back on again (since a-fibrillation isn’t as bad as v-fibrillation, you restart by over-pressurizing your head, instead of electrocuting yourself)

Either way, that’s not quite useful since if they had a higher heart rate, that would be normal for the species and wouldn’t suffer from negative effects. Like a kid can have a higher heart rate without being a concern, if they all had a higher heart rate that would just be how they were designed (and some characters are designed, some are not).

That makes sense. It’s like how each species on earth has a different “regular heartbeat.”

What if you made the limbs different to function better? What comes to mind for me, without trying to be derogatory here toward amputees, is like the running feet or claw-like gripping hands used in prosthetic.

That’s true. Some animals like mice and hummingbirds have heartbeats which are not just dangerous but downright impossible for a human heart. That said, I’m not sure what purpose a faster heart rate would serve, as heart rate is basically just a function of body size.

A slower heart rate, on the other hand, could be an ideal. Athletes have lower resting heart rates than the average person because their bodies learn to utilize oxygen more efficiently or whatever to cope with prolonged strenuous activity, which reduces the demand on their heart and lungs.

I think the ideal for an enhanced human would be (and I’m not a doctor, so don’t quote me on this) a heart that’s slower at rest but can safely beat much faster than an ordinary human’s. The slower resting heart rate signifies efficiency, and I assume (again, don’t quote me) being able to safely beat at a much higher rate would contribute to increased stamina since oxygen would be delivered to the muscles (and everything else) much more rapidly. (Maybe. I could be wrong.)

I don’t mean to sound gripey at all, but I want to clarify some of the misunderstandings in your post. This is not necessarily true. I was an athlete for over twenty years. I know plenty of athletes who actually had higher resting heart rates. What changes is their lung capacity (usually. Asthmatic athletes don’t necessarily increase their lung capacity but just learn to utilize their existing lung capacity better) which is how their body utilizes oxygen better.

To clear up your questions here. No. Higher heart rate doesn’t equal increased stamina. A higher heart rate does not necessarily deliver the oxygen to the muscles more rapidly. It can sometimes, but it doesn’t always equate to a more rapid oxygen delivery.