Physiological Musings

This is the place for discussion and voting on various aspects of werewolf life, social ideas, physical appearance, etc. Also a place to vote on how a werewolf should look.
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Physiological Musings

Post by PrismWolf »

Awhile ago, a topic concerning wether or not werewolves could get pregnant appeared on this forum. While the specific source simply used it as a way for werewolves to only reproduce by biting, (or something to that effect) it gave me cause to wonder, if changing into a werewolf form causes the human form to resemble that of a wolf,

how deep does such a transformation go?

Wolves and Humans may both be mammals, but their reproductive systems are very different in contrast, so I've come to wonder as to wether or not a transformation would have an effect on a developing Human embryo. Would this stunt growth in any way? Enhance it? Would the embryo "transform" as well? What about eggs and sperm? Would transformation effect either or both of these? Negativley? Positivley?

I tend to think that it depends on how close to wolf physiology a transformation would come to, as many sources depict many different forms of transformation. From full wolf, to the general "furry" form, to something more wild like the one in Cycle of the Werewolf, it's certainly obvious that one's internal organs cannot simply remain the same while the outside appearance and many times the general physiology of the body changes. This raises the question of wether or not other internal organs would be effected, so on, and so forth.

But to keep it simple, lets keep this one on just the organs.
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Re: Physiological Musings

Post by Wingman »

I'm tempted to say that after becoming an established werewolf, after having transformed at least once and possessing all the werewolf abilities, whatever those may be, then they're going to have different innards than humans. Even with magic, I find it to be an easier explanation than a complete transformation every time. Maybe every time they transform they are left a little less human, or whatever.
Personally I think that if someone is in a position to perform an autopsy on a werewolf, then they've earned the right to say, "Huh, that's weird." when they notice that the corpse has a heart 140% larger than normal and no less than two unidentified organs of indeterminate purpose.

Probably the only way I'd accept werewolves that get ridiculously tall, and by that I mean upwards of 6 feet tall, is to provide room for the innards to provide stuff like a wolf's sense of smell without having an immediately identifiable and disproportionally gigantic head.

Well it's a different issue for actual werewolves and things that happen to be able to transform into wolves, such as spellcasters and whatnot. An actual werewolf should have traits that those others don't possess, such as genuinely unique innards that support their abilities. I shed a tear or two every time I hear about a werewolf who was unable to transform because some rude mage had created an Anti-magic Field in the area.

The way I've been operating for a while now, since back in my D&D days, is that born werewolves possess a measure of their abilities from birth, and that children whose mothers had been turned while pregnant passed on lessened traits of lycanthropy. I think I had some half-werewolf templates lying around before Shifters(Essentially half-lycanthropes, unable to fully transform and capable of only a "Wolf Man" type transformation) showed up. No, half-lycanthropes aren't as silly as you might think.

As for women who are pregnant with human fetuses when they become werewolves, I'd say the extent of the changes would depend on how far along the pregnancy is. Well, if I'm feeling generous and don't want all them to have miscarriages.


Of course, I'm a hearty supporter of having multiple types of the same creature existing simultaneously in the same universe, so I don't really feel the need to constrain myself to a static set of rules for what a werewolf and what a werewolf isn't.
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Re: Physiological Musings

Post by Scott Gardener »

To avoid certain problems, I've found it necessary to commit werewolves to setting fixed rules that apply regardless of form--rules of biology such as whether to give birth to singles versus litters, gestation time, and so forth. My werewolves follow human conventions, including usually single births (with the usual incidence of occasional twins and rare multiples), and nine months gestation. My werewolf women still have more wolf-like split uteri, a rare variant in normal humans but the norm in wolves. Actually, wolves have long, extended uteri that in humans form the Fallopian tubes. (In humans, tubal pregnancies cannot progress beyond about 7-8 weeks before creating a surgical emergency, threatening rupture, hemorrhage, and death.)

Obstetric and gynecological lycanthropology is a lengthy subject beyond the scope of this post, so I'll refer you to the medical literature from ten years from now.
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Re: Physiological Musings

Post by RedEye »

My Lupans are a mix of what works best, and as for Pregnancy, I stick with a more human uterus and a modified birth canal. Gestation is ten months, simply because the embryo develops more slowly than in a standard human pregnancy.
The embryos stay small, too. A seven month preggers Lupan looks no more pregnant than a non-preggers Lupan female. About month nine, though, things change. Mother starts eating like mad and the fully developed embryos start growing. It takes about three weeks for them to grow from fist-sized (fully developed) to birth weight (about 6 or 7 pounds) and it's their size that triggers birth contractions, not time. They emerge fully formed and indistinguishable from non-Wulf babies after a relatively short delivery time. How does one avoid the inevitable slip-ups where a baby is given to the wrong mother?
Easy, when mom's sense of smell is as strong as a Werewolf's, slip ups don't happen.
It's generally easier to stay with established bio-models and modify slightly than try to invent out of the whole cloth, unless you're dealing with magical werewolves...then, anything goes ( and frequently does).
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Re: Physiological Musings

Post by Terastas »

What I've generally written is that werewolves are still predominantly human, even when in their full animal form. A werewolf's physical appearance and receptor organs (ears, nose, etc.) may change, but if someone were to actually cut one open, there would still be several indications that the wolf was, at the very least, not actually a wolf.

Assuming lycanthropy could be passed on to nonhumans, this would work in reverse as well; even if a wolf given lycanthropy were to somehow develop the brainpower to assume a full human form, it would still have an internal anatomy that is more canine than human. As fantastic as lycanthropy may be, a full species change is just not within the realm of reality.

There's two things I ended up writing in regards to pregnant werewolves. First is that lycanthropy becomes dormant if its host is in a fetal (or more often cellular) state -- when the host is literally so small that it cannot shift in any way, shape or form except to grow. The other is that the "trigger" for the first shift is psychological; that the full moon doesn't directly cause the shift, but that looking up into the full moon has a psychological affect which the lycanthropic presence in the brain responds to. This means that werewolves could resist their first shift simply by looking away from it (which, for some reason, they rarely ever do -- it's like a sore tooth: you know you shouldn't touch it, but for some reason you keep doing it anyway), that they can perform first-time shifts in a controlled environment by replicating the appearance of the full moon, and that they can force themselves to shift manually through visualizations.

It relates to pregnancy in the sense that, even if a pregnant woman were infected and her unborn baby inherited a mature variation of lycanthropy, the baby would still not shift as its eyes are still closed and is therefore immune to any such visual influence. Shifting on the mother's part would pose a high risk of miscarriage, but she could at least in theory assume a full wolf form and give birth to a human baby.

Part of the underlying theme I've been working with is that 90% of the loss of humanity is all in the werewolves' heads. There are some bizarre scientific anomalies that have lead werekin to believe that they are a different species, but if you were to take a sample of a werewolf's blood/DNA and compare it to that of an uninfected human, you would be seriously hard-pressed to tell which is which.
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Re: Physiological Musings

Post by RedEye »

Ditto, Terastas. My Lupans are two percentage points more Standard Human than Chimps, which by general Law makes them a race of Humanity. They use this as proof that they should enjoy the same rights as humans, rather than be seen as animals.
In the "Wulfen" series, they came "out" in novel one, and the subsequent novels and short stories deal with their assimilation into humanity, often with hilarious or thought-provoking results.
By novel three, they already have some clothing-makers making Wulf-specific clothing and shoes, as well of all sorts of things that humans don't need but the Wulfen do (claw-tip covers so they don't damage keyboards, forearm protectors for cooking, and naturally, special kung-fu shoes called "Paddies")
They've gone from monsters to Market in a matter of months.
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Re: Physiological Musings

Post by Moonraiser »

I think that maybe, once a female is pregnant, that it can be dangerous if not fatal to shift while being so. I believe that if a werewolf were pregnant, they would have to stay in one form until the pregnancy is over, or they risk damaging what is inside of them.

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Re: Physiological Musings

Post by RedEye »

Moonraiser wrote:I think that maybe, once a female is pregnant, that it can be dangerous if not fatal to shift while being so. I believe that if a werewolf were pregnant, they would have to stay in one form until the pregnancy is over, or they risk damaging what is inside of them.
Maybe... If we take the small embryo system, then Mom's shifting probably won't do anything to junior. Remember, evolution put the uterus in the safest place possible; so the Shift in a being whose morphology changes but whose genetic structure is constant will probably be able to carry to term. The size of the space where the uterus is unchanged, so there wouldn't be any stress there. The genetic structure is uchanged* so no problems there. Both canids and humans have generally the same reproductive structures, so no threat there.
That's why I went with the preggers concept, complete with morning sickness, cravings, mood swings...the whole were-banana.
*My werewolves are "Stable tri-morphs of human genetic stock with modified immunity and repair systems." They are essentially not so much changing when they shift as they are making an adaptive measure; like getting a suntan in summer or losing weight because they are working out...the base being doesn't change; just some of the outer appearances.
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