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"Define: Humanoid" Topic


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3,634 hits since 24 May 2009
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

28mmMan Inactive Member24 May 2009 1:40 p.m. PST

Mostly in regards to humanoid and non-humanoid aliens but the definition would remain constant.

How much/many human features are required to establish being humanoid or non-humanoid IYO?

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2009 1:46 p.m. PST

Carbon-based, 2 arms, same legs, walks upright, intelligent enough to develop toolmaking skills and a reasonably sophisticated 'language' for communication.

Sloppypainter24 May 2009 1:47 p.m. PST

Bilateral symmetry with 2 arms, 2 legs, 1 head moves in an upright posture -- no significant tail.

Pete

Personal logo Ambush Alley Games Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2009 1:47 p.m. PST

To me, anything that is bi-laterally symmetrical (if I'm using the term correctly – I mean to say two arms and two legs, one of each per side) is basically humanoid. That's a pretty loose definition, but there it is!

Sloppypainter24 May 2009 1:47 p.m. PST

Bilateral symmetry with 2 arms, 2 legs, 1 head, moves in an upright posture -- no significant tail.

Pete

Sloppypainter24 May 2009 1:48 p.m. PST

Whoa…is there an echo in here? Sorry about the re-post…

Personal logo Ambush Alley Games Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2009 1:49 p.m. PST

Wow! You guys are faster typists than me! I hope it's not because you're asymmetrical in some way! ;)

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2009 2:04 p.m. PST

Some of the sculpts featured here recently were definitely "humanoid", as opposed to "human looking".

Black Autumn Productions Inactive Member24 May 2009 2:24 p.m. PST

Lol…

beer
Michael

The Black Tower Inactive Member24 May 2009 3:17 p.m. PST

So a one legged human- is not even humanoid?

The Last Conformist24 May 2009 3:27 p.m. PST

To me, anything that is bi-laterally symmetrical (if I'm using the term correctly – I mean to say two arms and two legs, one of each per side) is basically humanoid.
"Bilaterally symmetrical" just means that the left and right sides of something are (approximate) minor images. Humanoids are typically bilaterally symmetrical, but so are elephants, earthworms, and mosquitos.

28mmMan Inactive Member24 May 2009 3:33 p.m. PST

So, acting as the devil's advocate:

Bilateral, 2 arms, 2 legs, 1 head

therefore this meets the requirement? picture

Does the look of said limbs or in particular the head/face matter?
this face? picture

How far does this aspect go before it becomes non-humanoid?

The Black Tower Inactive Member24 May 2009 3:58 p.m. PST

Metaluna Mutant is humanoid by many of the above definitions link

But what about the Fly?
link

The Black Tower Inactive Member24 May 2009 4:05 p.m. PST

Boobs!
All alien female that have human like boobs will be considered as humanoid enough by a lonely spaceman!

Just read John Carter of Mars!

28mmMan Inactive Member24 May 2009 4:31 p.m. PST

In a sort of off handed way to decide, for me, is if a normal man can be made into an alien with the addition of "insert whatever" then it would be a humanoid.

Now within reason this should hold true.

For me I would first define what makes us human(oid):

picture

If we add, remove, modify limbs but the core stays constant than it would be human(oid). A human without limbs in a robotic chair/platfrom is still human(oid).

This is a strong front runner for a non-humanoid link but still accepted due to common emotional response, tool use, and assumed behavior.

If this same alien had mammalian limbs it would be in the cop out category for me. You see that done alot…make an alien by sticking a squid on a set of human legs, human arms and legs with a spider body head…bla meh.

hmmmmm boobs are a winner for the lonely spaceman, agreed. But please please please use protection…moon HIV, space herpes, and reoccurring xeno-genital berries are to be avoided at all costs.

Personal logo Dances With Words Supporting Member of TMP Fezian24 May 2009 4:44 p.m. PST

hmmmmm….human-like or humanoid…don't think that stopped Captain Jack Harkness chap from Dr. Who/Torchwood from wanting to 'Snog n' Shag' with it….(after all he did have that one Capt John chap who was checking out men, women and even poodles…)

of course…he had a bomb attached to his chest at the time with under 5 minutes to live…so 'being a good boy' wasn't much on his mind at the moment…

I believe the Dr. had a few 'words' with Jack about his…'romantic liasions' being not being limited by SPECIES, and that he had to 'disable' his vortex manipulator…(so he couldn't travel in time/space..) because he'd have to go everywhere…twice..with the SECOND time…just to APOLOGIZE!!!

SLISH?

oh…my 'definition' of 'humanoid'….

'lower rung on the food chain than CTHULLU….'

Sgt DWW-btod

The Black Tower Inactive Member24 May 2009 4:57 p.m. PST

Do you think a non organic creature can be humanoid?

C3P0?
Has what we would recognise as human like emotions?
A Cylon?
Robocop? OK he is a cyborg but would you think so if you just met him disembarking from a spacecraft?
A Vorlon?
Robby the robot?
HAL? disembodied human emotions.

I think that we should recognise human traits to give something the term humanoid

Personal logo khurasanminiatures Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2009 5:15 p.m. PST

hu·man·oid

adjective
nearly human, as in appearance or behavior

Etymology: human + -oid

noun
a nearly human creature;
specif.

1. Any of the earliest ancestors of modern man

2. in science fiction, an alien from outer space or a robot that physically resembles a human being

Covert Walrus Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2009 6:50 p.m. PST

Black Tower, so if it has emotions like a human, ythen it's humanoid? Rather think HAL, despite screaming for it's life and being afraid of death, would not be considered humanoid.

Khurasan and Sloppypainter have got it from the strictly biological position between them; Sir Arthur C Clarke pointed out once that an alien race with sufficently non-discerning visions could mistake a bear or a gorilla for a human from a basic description, given the body shape of chordate life on Earth. Tailed humanoids would come under the definition, but would be recognizably alien.

Trouble is that we are locked into the life we see around us: Chordates have been rigidly four limbs and a tail for years on Earth, since extra limbs were not needed in the deeper oceans and littoral zones of this planet – Though if the seas were shallower by a great margin, then more limbs might have been encouraged, like the 7 paired limbs of the Tethys seas of the early Carboniferous. Of course, the four limb arrangement is also up for grabs as well whne the development continues – the shape of the jknagaroo is not humanoid, but is workable and might lead to a sentient creature somewhere, as would the form of a T-Rex or raptor for that matter.

A sentient creature would need some kind of manipulating limbs close to or within sight of its eyes and brain, locomotor limbs to hold it off the ground and move it around and some way to balance itself standing, sitting or in motion. Fitting those requirements is simple engineering and can be imagined as being fulfilled by many layouts of form; I personally have a design* for a creature that comes from insectile/crustacean stock which has four manipulating limbs ( Arms) and it's major support and locomotor limb is a modified tail/rear limb fusion, giving it a hunnchbacked camel-cricket look. Moving like a kangaroo, it can hop at varied speeds and is capable of spring jumps much greater than a human.


*Yes, that sketch is on its way, 28mm Man…..

28mmMan Inactive Member24 May 2009 6:52 p.m. PST

Humanoid robot, humanoid plant, humanoid bird, etc..

A guy in a rubber suit, in a robot suit, in a bird suit…

…is big bird humanoid?

joedog Inactive Member24 May 2009 7:23 p.m. PST

Big Bird is anthropomorphic, and also humanoid (guy/gal in a feather suit).

Personal logo khurasanminiatures Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2009 8:15 p.m. PST

"Is big bird humanoid?"

That's a question you have to answer for yourself.

wminsing Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2009 8:25 p.m. PST

Would go with 4 limbs, and bilateral symmetry as well. Anything built along these lines is basically humanoid, no matter how it's dressed up or which applique was applied to it's forehead. To get into non-humanoid territory you need to radically change the # of limbs and the body plan.

-Will

Personal logo Eli Arndt Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2009 8:28 p.m. PST

The definition of humanoid as stated in the disctionary is incredibly academic and really unsupported by common usage of the term in both fantasy and sci-fi literature.

As far as I'm concerned, if a creature has an anatomy that is approximate, in some fashion, to human shape, regardless of number of limbs or size, I would consider it humanoid. This can sometimes be tricky and you might run into grey areas.

Orc – humanoid
Elf – humanoid
Klingon – humanoid
Centaur – non-humanoid (the horse body)
Predator – Humanoid
Ogre – really big humanoid
Vrusk – non-humanoid
Dralasite – non-humanoid

Really it all comes down to personal interpretation.

-Eli

28mmMan Inactive Member24 May 2009 9:09 p.m. PST

Vrusk and Dralasite? Old guy alert! Great reference. I bought that game when it first came out…classic space opera at it's best.

link

tnjrp24 May 2009 10:46 p.m. PST

"One head, two arms, two legs, that could be anybody"
~ One the three Shingouz in Valerian: Ambassador of the Shadows

nothereanymore Inactive Member25 May 2009 1:40 a.m. PST

in game terms:
everything you want to behave like a human would.
if it has bodily (or maybe mental) features that make it behave otherwise, its out.

The Last Conformist25 May 2009 3:33 a.m. PST

Would go with 4 limbs, and bilateral symmetry as well. Anything built along these lines is basically humanoid, no matter how it's dressed up or which applique was applied to it's forehead.
You do realize that your definition doesn't require a humanoid to have a forehead? Or a head, for that matter.

Personal logo khurasanminiatures Sponsoring Member of TMP25 May 2009 4:46 a.m. PST

emu, it's interesting that you decline to accept the dictionary definition but then largely endorse it in your own definition! wink

What the dictionary basically says is anything that looks like a human is humanoid. So yes it does fall back on personal interpretation.

As to the idea that bilateral symmetry and four limbs make a humanoid, well, an alligator snapping turtle has four limbs and bilateral symmetry. Not many would claim it's humanoid. grin

Personal logo Stronty Girl Supporting Member of TMP Fezian25 May 2009 6:03 a.m. PST

I think there are two science fiction definitions of humanoid:

1) Human with extra bits added or taken away. For example all the following are humanoid, and all are basically modified people from mythology:
- Kali the goddess picture
- a cyclops picture
- an angel picture
The Star Trek phenomenon of slapping something onto an actor's forehead is just a continuation of this.

2) Something that is not human, but conforms to our basic shape, even if it is scaly, furry, has compound eyes, or whatever.
- some Hani & Kif from C.J.Cherryh picture
- the Gorn from Star Trek (rubber suit obviously) picture
- greys picture
- and even this insect guy is humanoid, though not VERY humanoid picture

Sergeant Crunch25 May 2009 8:11 a.m. PST

I figure that anything that looks like it could imitated by human with make-up/rubber-mask/costume is "humanoid"

28mmMan Inactive Member25 May 2009 8:49 a.m. PST

"I don't know art but I know what I like"

let us take this comment to post topic format:

"I don't know humanoid but I know what I look like"

Do you see human in a given design? Is it enough to be comfortable? Eye to eye contact, can you shake hands, etc.?

Beyond the fact that we as a species have problems with dealing with others of our own that are just a different color, culture, or polar range of attractiveness.

The key elements for me would be the head/face especially the eyes, and the core torso/shoulder/pelvis. Swap the arms for crab claws/tentacles/robot part/etc., give him goat legs and bat wings, etc. and you have a humanoid.

Lose the head/face and the torso then we get into the non-humanoid range.

Take a human torso, add an octopus for a head, cluster of tentacles for arms running from neck to hips, and a bunch of crab legs at the bottom…yikes.

The same freak show with a human torso, human head/face, a single pair of tentacles at the shoulders, and a single pair of crab legs at the hips…weird, mutant, but humanoid.

So the formula played to the extreme would not work…human head sprouting out of a Venus flytrap, etc..

A human with reptile skin, tail, and snake eyes is humanoid…replace his scaly human head with a croc head and the humanoid call is tougher to make.

As was mentioned it is a matter of opinion.

wminsing Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2009 9:43 a.m. PST

You do realize that your definition doesn't require a humanoid to have a forehead? Or a head, for that matter.

I know, it was a jab at Star Trek's innumerable 'alien' designs. Thought it was obvious, but apparently not. ;)

A 'headless' alien meeting the above criteria would still be pretty much humanoid, at least in my opinion.

-Will

Personal logo Eli Arndt Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2009 11:08 a.m. PST

Yeah, I guess I was trying to point out that the dictionary definition seemed a little narrow and too specific. I would say that a bug with torso, legs and four or six arms would still be humanoid.

-Eli

Personal logo Eli Arndt Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2009 11:13 a.m. PST

I should also note that I think that humanoid aliens have been a bit overdone. It'd be nice to see some alien minis with alternative geometry.

BTW, 28mm Man, I'm not THAT old..;) I picked up Star Frontiers when I was 10ish. It is/was a great game and honestly one of the more fun settings for sci-fi games. It comes from an age when a rubber-suit alien was still fun!

-Eli

wminsing Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2009 6:22 p.m. PST

BTW, 28mm Man, I'm not THAT old..;) I picked up Star Frontiers when I was 10ish. It is/was a great game and honestly one of the more fun settings for sci-fi games. It comes from an age when a rubber-suit alien was still fun!

Speaking of which, would people consider the Sathar humanoid?

-Will

Personal logo Eli Arndt Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2009 6:56 p.m. PST

That is a tough call. The Sathar certainly have an upright carriage but they don't have a toroso or anything. They are more like upright worms than humanoids.

We need more aliens like the Sathar.

-Eli

The Last Conformist26 May 2009 3:00 a.m. PST

I know, it was a jab at Star Trek's innumerable 'alien' designs. Thought it was obvious, but apparently not. ;)
I recognize the jab all right, it's just that when one's definition of "humanoid" would include a headless eagle it seems a tad random and superfluous to point out it includes klingons. I therefore wondered if there were additional requirements you forgot to list (say, front limbs used for manipulation, or, indeed, the presence of a recognizable head and face).

Covert Walrus Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2009 4:05 a.m. PST

Emu2020, I would agree; I like the aliens from Ninja Magic in their backgorund sketch secton, particularaly the guys who build the long cylindrical ships . . . Definitly non-huimnoid and very interesting.

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2009 4:57 a.m. PST

Bug-like would be Insectoid. Fish-like would be Piscoid. The definitions tend to be variable in many ways – we say something is humanoid because we think it is humanoid, not because of any specific characteristics. Is a creature with a human body and a pig face a humanoid or a porcoid – if that's the right word for pig-like?

It is humanoid because we look at it and say it is humanoid.

It is not humanoid because we look at it and say it is not humanoid.

wminsing Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2009 6:15 a.m. PST

I therefore wondered if there were additional requirements you forgot to list (say, front limbs used for manipulation, or, indeed, the presence of a recognizable head and face).

Good point on the headless avian- I should have included limbs used only manipulating objects or ground locomotion- not other functions or modes of movement. Not sure on the head/face- I think even a non-humanoid, if they grouped various functions into certain areas of the body would still have what we would call a 'face'.

I almost included upright walking stance, but Chimps and Gorillas don't really move in an upright stance much themselves, and they are definitely humanoid!

-Will

Lentulus26 May 2009 6:47 a.m. PST

21st century movie definition: we saved money on the CGI budget.

Far future starship definition: The new crewman did not require a complete rebuild of the accommodations deck.

Warbeads Inactive Member26 May 2009 7:02 a.m. PST

Where does "hominid" and "hominoid" fit in with Humanoid?

Definition of last: (Random House College Dictionary on my desk with "Property of US Government" in big letters across the front, sheesh,) is, "A superfamily including the great apes and man."

Definition of first: (same source,) is, "The family of man and his ancestors."

GarrisonMiniatures: Porcine – pig-like. I assume tusks required?

Gracias,

Glenn

tnjrp26 May 2009 8:03 a.m. PST

On the subject of Hominidae, hominds and hominini:
link

I must say I can't recall ever hearing the word "humanoid" used to refer to hominids/hominini in a scientific text (even a popularized one), but since it's in some dictionary apparently I won't dispute that it has been done.

28mmMan Inactive Member26 May 2009 8:41 a.m. PST

Speaking of ninja magic designs this one ig great, IMO:
link

The Last Conformist26 May 2009 2:06 p.m. PST

I must say I can't recall ever hearing the word "humanoid" used to refer to hominids/hominini in a scientific text (even a popularized one), but since it's in some dictionary apparently I won't dispute that it has been done.
I can't recall seeing it either, but Wikipedia claims it was originally coined for this purpose.

There is also "hominoid", the next group up in the hierarchical classification.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2009 6:52 p.m. PST

28mmMan,

How's this?

link

CC

28mmMan Inactive Member18 Oct 2009 6:33 p.m. PST

That is one interesting alien…yes indeed!

Wellspring Inactive Member20 Oct 2009 5:35 a.m. PST

A little late, but I'd say that humanoid refers to the body plan: two arms, two legs, head. Then you have "chimeras", non-humanoid creatures like centaurs, angels, mermaids, mind flayers (IE humans with octopus heads), minotaurs, satyrs and body plans that are REALLY close to human, with some animal/insect features tacked on.

Neither are of interest to me from a science fiction point of view. They both tend to remind me of rubber-suited aliens.

Where things get interesting are creatures that are not playing with the human body plan but genuinely something new and on its own terms. You mostly see these in science fiction literature. The "brothers" of Greg Bear's Anvil of Stars come to mind, for example (though other races in his setting are humanoid).

28mmMan Inactive Member20 Oct 2009 7:24 a.m. PST

Wellspring,

The Brothers were a "mind" binding a collection of "worms" right? I think Heavy Metal did a series run along those lines; I should read the book.

Humanoid for me, as I tend to ebb and flow on likes dislikes and how I define my world…because you are all just flecs of light in my mind…..Humanoid is a defining term that compares a given subject to a human with a high percentage of common elements.

We see aliens with a completely alien head, hand, etc. but a basic human body; humanoid. There are many examples throughout fiction but the basic ideal for me is could a man mimic this subject with a few appliances/props?

There are extreme examples where a man could put on a large suit and operate within this "vehicle", but this is not a simple appliance.

It is nice that some companies are taking a shot at the non-humanoid alien in miniature form, hopefully more will follow suit, each offering at least one…then we would have some real choices and could make that galactic community.

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