What if centaurs existed?

How about their internal organs? For example, where are their lungs? In the human chest or the horse chest? Same question for digestive organs. Are they in the horse part? Is the human part mostly muscle, or just empty? If there are lungs and digestive organs in the human part, then what’s in the horse part?

Donna Barr wrote and drew a nifty comic book, entitled “Stinz,” about the humans and halbpferden – half horses – who live together in peace in the Gieselthal Valley in Germany. Witty and saucy – irrepressible, sometimes wonderfully raunchy – Barr’s stories were models of strained coexistence.

Centaurs would certainly be a charliehorse of another color.

Having six limbs would seems to be a major evolutionary advantage. So it’s surprising that we haven’t all evolved into centaurs. This proves there must be something sub-optimal about God in whose image we were all created.

That’s just because they haven’t evolved opposable thumbs. When that happens, they will rule the world.

Oh wait a minute . . . They already have.

Centaurs likewise. If they existed (in any appreciable numbers), why would they not be the Master Species on this planet?

Stupid? We are talking about mythical beings here. I gave just a few examples. Want more?

In the last century we finally decided that women could vote.

Less than 25 years ago we saw genocide on a massive scale (Rwanda anyone?) As the world stood by and ho-hummed.

Human trafficking is a thing. There was a big sting at The Superbowl. We are talking just a few days ago. Days. Not years.

These are human beings. Real. Not mythical. And mind you, I was asking a question, not saying that we should treat imaginary sentient beings badly.

Classically aren’t centaurs more beastlike in their thinking? So they’re stronger, but kinda dumb and uncivilized. And rapey. So lots of racism.

Does screwing a horse make a centaur pop out? Or is it convergent evolution? Does centaur x human = centaur OR human, or some horrible monstrosity? Or is there no crossbreeding?

Seems to me it would suck being a centaur. Can’t touch yourself, can’t get comfortable lying in a chair or a bed, and if the digestion system is similar to that of a horse you’d be totally disgusting. I suppose it’d be a mix, allowing them to eat meat. What would their teeth be like? Horses need 10k-15k calories per day. That’s a ton of food other humans would want if they can’t graze on grass.

C.S. Lewis posits in, I think, The Silver Chair, that they have both human and equine digestive systems, thus it is a serious matter to invite one over to breakfast.

And IIRC Piers Anthony adds (maybe in Castle Roogna or Centaur Aisle, I haven’t read either one in a number of years) that centaurs do have difficulty getting enough food calories through a human-sized mouth and gullet. However, in Xanth centaurs did arise out of matings between humans and horses (men and mares, in the first instance; it’s not documented whether this ever happened the other way around) so there was presumably already access to high-nutrition foods when the first centaurs existed. A man couldn’t eat enough grass in a day to keep a horse’s metabolism running, but some men can and do consume five-digit calorie diets in our world.

Real animals aren’t psychologically human, but they often have no problem reciprocating interest. Kenneth Pinyan could tell you all about that, if only he had survived his encounter with an amorous horse that boned him to death.

The problem most people seem to have with bestiality is the lack of informed consent, of which animals are deemed incapable.

That said, centaurs would presumably be capable of informed consent, so no problem. Size queens everywhere would rejoice.

I find it likely that they would have been dominant in ancient times, simply by dint of their physical strength. Even a human being on horseback would be at a disadvantage when fighting a centaur, since the centaur isn’t at risk of falling off and has much better coordination between the human and horse parts. Hence, I’d imagine that ancient civilizations would have been dominated by a centaur ruling class, while humans would be their slaves/plebeians/lower caste.

The interesting question is what would have happened as the modern world arrived. It seems likely that the centaur class would have guarded its privilege and opposed the introduction of new technology, new thinking, and new political systems. I can imagine that in some areas, the centaurs would act like southern plantation owners, determined to cling to an archaic social system while the rest of the world moves forward. Other areas would embrace social progress, and the centaurs would find themselves increasingly marginalized.

Having six limbs, centaurs would be more closely related to Green Martians than to humans.

I recall how in Philip Jose Farmer’s World of Tiers the artificially created centaurs had disproportionally broad faces because they needed a bigger nose & mouth just to breath. A horse-sized body needs more oxygen than a human sized one.

Heh, I’m reminded of a funny if explicit picture I came across of a sexually aroused centaur sort of all folded over like a contortionist and just barely managing to touch his penis. He’s thinking to himself "Another few years of yoga, and I’ll actually be able to masturbate!"

John Varley explored the idea of sentient centaurs in his Gaea Trilogy, where the centaurs, called Titanides, are the construct of an intelligent “deity”.

Although the Titanides in the story did not evolve with humans, there is much thought put into the human-Titanide interactions once both co-exist on Gaea, and a fair bit of exposition regarding the capabilities and psychology of the Titanides. (Note the Titanides are not the focus of the story, but are friends and allies with the humans.)

A centaur-like creature wouldn’t necessarily be as large as an actual horse. I’m thinking in particular of the cervitaurs from Warcraft.

The double cardiovascular system would be fucking weird. How would the trachea link to two sets of lungs? Also how would two diaphragms operate in unison.

They’re probably all rapey owning to the fact that they can’t reach their genitals.

I don’t know. Satyrs seem more believable. I’ll take pan flute music over horse rape, thanks.

Why assume doubled lungs/cardio systems/etc? Maybe the lungs occupy the humanoid torso and the heart is down in the horse torso. Maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe the humanoid torso is just bone and muscle and all the vital organs are down in the horse part.

As for being “all rapey owning to the fact that they can’t reach their genitals” why do you assume a human sexuality? Maybe they’re seasonal like the horses they resemble.

Or maybe they have the proper proportions/flexibility to actually reach all their body parts, which may make them look a bit different than “classic” centaurs.

:dubious: Or they just have consensual sex with each other a lot.

It would be interesting to see the geographic spread of the centaurs, since sea travel, for example, would be a much trickier proposition for something with their proportions and weight. Are they just sprinkled across the world, or are they originating from one area? Hawaii might be a “safe haven” and imagine South America’s reaction to centaurs.

Hey, the centaur rape stuff comes straight from mythology, not me.

" The best-known legend with which the Lapiths are connected is their battle with the Centaurs at the wedding feast of Pirithous, the Centauromachy. The Centaurs had been invited, but, unused to wine, their wild nature came to the fore. When the bride was presented to greet the guests, the centaur Eurytion leapt up and attempted to rape her. All the other centaurs were up in a moment, straddling women and boys."

I think the furniture industry would be very different than the one we know. And there would be a lot more farriers. There’d probably be some upscale horse shoes also. And centaurs would probably wear utility belts around their human waists to carry their wallet in. And a Swiss Army knife. And a USB flash drive on their key chain too.

Do female centaurs have breasts like human females have? I’d imagine they would. I guess they’d have to wear bras and bustiers and stuff like that. I mean with all that trotting and galloping they’d be doing, well, bouncing around might become uncomfortable for the more endowed ones.

Humans would probably have all sorts of derogatory names for centaurs they wouldn’t say in polite company. And centaurs would have the same for humans, so that balances out. Would there be mixed or segregated sports teams/leagues? I can see a centaur as a running back, but not as a place kicker. I don’t know if a centaur could center a football, but I’d sure hate to be a human center facing a centaur nose guard. I think ice hockey would remain a human sport.