Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Siona » Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:24 am

I recently watched a documentary on apes and monkeys, and part of it was on how monkeys used their tails. I was reminded of Kurt and the question struk me:

Could Kurt, with his mutated feet and his tail, actually stand up straight.

Few, if not no, animals can stand or walk as humans do. Our spines differ from those of say, gibbons, and allow us to stand straight. Gibbons and other monkeys can't stand straight because of the difference in their spine and because their tails change their center of balance.

It's also known that our big toes actually help us to keep our balance; were we to lose them, we'd have greater trouble walking or even standing up properly.

To get to the point, Kurt has neither supporting big toes, and his center of gravity is differed by the extension of his very human spine into a tail. And, yet, Kurt is shown all the time standing up and he can obviously walk and run very well.

But is that possible, biologically and realistically?
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Singe » Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:18 am

I think you've got to take into consideration center of gravity in relation to weight. It's one thing when you're looking at a long tail on a monkey that weighs five or six pounds, but on a 160-180 pound guy, a 1-10 pound tail (depending on who's drawing it, of course) isn't going to make that much difference. His center of balance might be slightly off, but I think most of the things he's shown doing are perfectly well within the range of plausiblity... you know, for a guy with a tail. :D

And I'd also say that two unnaturally large and particularly flexible toes are good enough to keep him balanced.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Bamfette » Sat Jul 17, 2004 8:12 am

I don't think it has to be a big toe EXACTLY like ours. birds get around just fine. parrots only have two front toes, as do ostriches. as did many of the bipedal dinosaurs, the raptors (the big claw toe was not used to support their weight, only as a weapon, which meant they walked on 2 or 3 toes) when you walk, your big toe is clearly helping you balance, if you pay attention, it does so by intermittently nudging against the ground. but think of Kurts feet as like ours, but with the four smaller toes fused into one. the inside toe would still be entirely capable of pushing against the ground to maintain balance.

animals with tails not being able to walk upright does not have anything to do with the tail itself, but how their pelvises are constructed, and since we all evolved form 4 legged animals, humans are one of the few mammals (Kangaroos jump to mind) that have taken the evolutionary leap to a bipedal gait, the only with a gait that is both bibedal and with our head and rib cage lined up in a straight line. and our pelvises changed to accomidate that. now, adding a tail will change the shape of the pelvis, to be sure. but humans already have vestigal tails, and babies are sometimes born with tails. so long as the tail was built off of the coccyx as it is formed in most people, i would see no problem with it, in theory.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Shadow_Dancer » Sat Jul 17, 2004 2:24 pm

As a biologist, I must say that the arguments in the previous comments are very sound. I have always viewed Kurts feet as very bird-like, and birds have no problem walking upright.

The angle of Kurts legs and pelvis are situated much like any other human’s, and his tail is not heavy enough to draw him off of a normal center of gravity. It would, however, give him a superb ability to balance, being an excellent and adjustable counter-balance. Nightcrawler is considered, by many of us in the science field, to be one of the most well designed characters for what he does. Nice job Dave! ;)

As for running, have you noticed most of the time artists that know the character well draw him as running on all fours almost like a cat. Even the movie imitated that position. Kurt does not generally run like a normal human. He has a longer spine with more vertebrae, which makes him more flexible than normal. He is often portrayed as loping on all fours, sometimes while clinging to the sides of a room or even the ceiling. I hope to see him doing that more often in the future. Some of the more recent writers seem to have forgotten that ability.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Bamfette » Sat Jul 17, 2004 8:41 pm

yeah. i just don't see the problem. the main thing with the toe can easily be put to rest just by looking at Ostrich feet:
http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/ ... h_toes.jpg
http://www.ostrichmeats.com/images/ostrich6.jpg

there is also a genetic conditon in, Syndactility, or Ectrodactily, which reuslts in fused toes and /or fingers. I uesd to know someone who had this, except they had 3 toes on each foot, not just two. but two with this condition is not unheard of, and, if the toes are not deformed, which, they often are, but if they are not, it poses no problem with walking. the person i knew, i never even realized till we went swimming once.
http://www.scielo.org.ve/img/fbpe/aov/v ... 13img4.jpg
http://www.worldortho.com/database/exam-orth/eo243.html

and, finally, tails in humans are not as uncommon as you may guess... http://www.aetheronline.com/mario/Eye-O ... humans.htm

the tails are short, obviously so the weight issue isn't present, but, it's presence does not seem to affect the posture of the (guessing) teen-aged person there....
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Born Blue » Sat Jul 17, 2004 9:13 pm

>>>Could Kurt, with his mutated feet and his tail, actually stand up straight.

I assume yes since he's done it before.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Tonks Kittygoth » Wed Nov 17, 2004 7:17 am

Also, perhaps he has learned it from his extensive training. In the original issues he was most often shown croching next to everyone else or siitting on a ledge of something in a perching postiition. I don't remember seeing him shown standing in the - military/ acrobat straight as nails- pose he has now adopted until the beginings of Excalibur.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Gaz » Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:05 am

I imagine that it is not that he cannot sit or stand a certain way, but for him, what is more comfortable and what requires less energy. Holding up and supporting an extra appendage of that size takes energy, so I'm sure that whatever is the most energy-efficient and comfortable position is the prefered posture.

Oh, and Jill, that link was fascinating! :tail
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby Blue_Demon94 » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:54 pm

Those tails made me want to vomit:LOL Thank god for evolution!!
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby DoomInABox » Sat Nov 20, 2004 12:27 am

Yeah, those tails don't even look like they're connected to the spine, the way Nighty's does. Another example of how comic book art perfects the imperfect, though I never thought I'd attribute that to tails on people :P

I don't see any problem with him being able to stand upright ... his body is much more human than monkey to make it difficult.

But if you think about it, what he wouldn't be able to do is slouch back in a chair, even if it had an open back. He'd have to lean forward or he'd either be sitting ON his tail, or bending it back too far at the base.
The only exception is if he's sitting on a stool.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby john117 » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:12 pm

so i guess the answer is he can stand up strait have you guys notaced that that tail tends to be wraped around him not tightly just kinda there but this would change his center of gravity so that he could stand up strait
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Postby Angelique » Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:12 am

Well, it only seems wrapped around him tightly if he's using the image inducer (and therefore needs to hide the tail) or if the artist happened to forget drawing it.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby LadyErin » Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:59 am

Originally posted by Bamfette
and, finally, tails in humans are not as uncommon as you may guess... http://www.aetheronline.com/mario/Eye-O ... humans.htm


Um...I get a 404 error...
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby HoodedMan » Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:14 am

That's because that page on the site no longer exists. You can view it how it used to be as of 15 March 2005 (sans some pictures) via http://web.archive.org/web/200503151448 ... humans.htm. And may I just say, those are some ugly pictures.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby chicory » Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:25 am

I don't see any reason why 616 Kurt couldn't stand upright if he wanted to. Evo kurt on the other hand...

Now I'm all curious about those human tails. I know they're just vestigial - but do they have extra vertebrate in them or muscle? I doubt their owners can move them, but I wonder if they're painful at all. I'd guess most people born with them get them removed. :?
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby HoodedMan » Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:30 am

According to Wikipedia, when a child's born with a tail, it's called a "soft tail" because it contains no vertebrae, only blood vessels, muscles, and nerves. I highly doubt that their owners can move them, voluntarily or involuntarily.

And indeed, most children born with tails have them removed; it's a quick and easy procedure with modern medicine.
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Postby LadyErin » Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:43 am

Thank you very much, Northstar!
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Postby chicory » Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:45 am

So, the tail's just a part of the embryo that wasn't reabsorbed? Not that I know anything about it, but doesn't that mean that it's not a tail at all - just kind of a growth? And I guess that would mean that it doesn't connect people to primates at all, but to something much, much earlier - since just about all animal fetuses go through the tail phase (at least I think so) at some point.

I'm not surprised that most people would get them removed soon after birth. But, I guess that Indian baby in the above link will be keeping his :\ (Actually, that might not turn out so bad for him)
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Postby Crocodile Hunter » Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:39 am

Its not a tail, if it hasnt got a bone inside it.
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Postby HoodedMan » Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:08 pm

That's your opinion, but these tails can indeed be called tails because the opinion of Merriam-Webster is that a tail is the rear end of an animal or the prolongation of the rear end of the body of an animal. No bone required.
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Postby Saint Kurt » Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:05 pm

This is exactly why I try to never mix science with XMen. It never turns out well for me.

For instance, if you start thinking about whether or not genetic mutations of that scale would even be possible, they wouldn't have even gotten past the first stage of mitosis because during DNA replication the mechanism that checks to make sure that everything is going okay would have freaked out and terminated the cell before it could even become a sperm or an egg. (That's apoptosis for all you budding cell biologists!)

So that doesn't make for very good comic books.

Or the other day while answering a question about bird wing anatomy for Angelique I realized that Warren would have to have two sets of shoulder blades, two sets of collar bones, and then in order for both his arms and his wings to function he'd have to have two of all the accompanying muscles which means two sets of pectorals, two sets of latissimus dorsi muscles, two trapizus, cleidobrachialises... I mean how is that supposed to work?

Kurt's tail means he has all these extra muscles in his back and hips - extrinsic and intrinsic muscles that have this kind of recipricol relationship with his hip and shoulder muscles. What does that mean?

I'll tell you what it means. It means that the artist draws wings on Warren and he can fly because it's cooler that way. And it means that Kurt has a cool prehensile tail and it works too because wouldn't it suck if it didn't? And then you just read the story and don't worry about any of it. At least, that's what I do.

:)

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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby fourpawsonthefloor » Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:02 pm

Originally posted by chicory
And I guess that would mean that it doesn't connect people to primates at all, but to something much, much earlier - since just about all animal fetuses go through the tail phase (at least I think so) at some point.


We all have gills at a point in fetal development too.

I'm with the whole don't look too indepth at the realities of the biology or other situations - frankly there is just too much happening to make real sense, weather it be comic, movie or book. Besides that my husband goes nuts everytime I point out that the poor sucker on the TV who just got his guts ripped out had very unrealistic looking abdominal anatomy.

Edited to add: and by gills I don't mean fully fuctional gills like a fish would have - but the vestigal remains - gill slits on the fetal "neck" area (at that point they don't really have a neck).

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[Edited on 2/2/06 by fourpawsonthefloor]
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Postby Angelique » Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:32 pm

Also, technically speaking, that point is actually before embryologists and perinatologists refer to the unborn human organism as a fetus. (That starts at 8 weeks gestation.) The embryo almost always possesses his or her tail and vestigial gills for only a couple weeks at most.
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Would Kurt be able to stand up straight?

Postby fourpawsonthefloor » Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:15 am

Originally posted by Angelique
Also, technically speaking, that point is actually before embryologists and perinatologists refer to the unborn human organism as a fetus. (That starts at 8 weeks gestation.) The embryo almost always possesses his or her tail and vestigial gills for only a couple weeks at most.


True enough - but still pretty funky, eh? I've always found embryonic and fetal development to resemble evolution on fast forward.

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Postby chicory » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:50 am

I'll agree with never mixing science and the fantasy of comics :) I never thought about Angel having to have a second set of shoulders before, but that makes sense since he does have six limbs.

Nightcrawler having a working tail implies that he's not human (or at least half 'alien' since not even monkeys have tails quite like his). But, it is only a comic book - and the writers can make whatever they want happen.

That's an idea that I like - that embryos and fetuses tell the story of evolution. Just one of the amazing and beautiful things about nature :)
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