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Artistic License Biology / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

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For all its Furry Reminders, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is still a kid's cartoon about talking ponies. It takes numerous artistic liberties (especially with its horse characters) and often gets biology wrong.

  • While they may play this trope straight to egregious levels for the sake of the plot and settings, it's also obvious that the animators and writers have seriously done their homework on the subject. Everything from the way the ponies walk to little things most people would never notice are actually done by horses in real life.
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  • The most obvious example of this on the show is seeing the ponies in poses that would be physically impossible for actual horses, such as standing upright and crossing their legs. Several times, a pony is shown walking on three legs while holding something on their fourth leg like a hand. Even assuming a horse could hold something with its hooves (and it can't), a horse trying to walk on three legs would send it falling over, face-first.
  • Horses cannot belch, but that doesn't stop Apple Bloom from doing so adorably.
  • Real horses can't throw up, but Pinkie Pie still got a Vomit Discretion Shot in "Applebuck Season" after eating some bad muffins, and Shining Armor got airsick in "Once Upon A Zeppelin".
  • Ponies frequently pick things up and do other fine manipulation tasks despite having blunt hooves. A section of the pen and paper RPG based on the show actually points this out ("No Fingers? No Problem"), and says players should just assume their characters can do things that would normally require fingers. It justifies this by saying reality works a little better in Equestria.
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  • The ponies are sometimes seen feeding domestic ferrets (which are treated as wild animals, adding a bit of Artistic License – Animal Care into the mix too) with vegetables and nuts, even though ferrets are entirely carnivorous. One episode has subverted this when Fluttershy is shown feeding them fish.
  • Contrary to "Winter Wrap-Up", mice, rabbits, porcupines, and tree squirrels do not hibernate.
  • The bald eagle in "May the Best Pet Win!" screams like a red-tailed hawk. This is fixed in "Surf and/or Turf", where a bald eagle lets out a genuine aquiline screech.
  • Rabbits are shown with pads on the bottom of their paws, which they lack in real life. And while most rabbits are correctly portrayed with "V"-shaped noses, others like Angel are drawn with cat noses.
  • Angel once retched when trying a salad for the first time, even though rabbits are physically incapable of vomiting.
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  • Wild beehives are commonly portrayed as resembling hornet nests.
  • The workers of the Flash Bee colony in "A Health of Information" are explicitly referred to as being male and aggressively sting intruders to protect the queen bee. In real life, worker bees are all female, while the males (drones) serve no purpose other than to mate with the queen and don't even have stingers. Additionally, Fluttershy is able to fool the bees with a mask, whereas real-life bees communicate through scent as much as by sight.
  • Parrots, toucans, and woodpeckers are portrayed with generic bird feet with three toes in front and one in back, when they should have two in front and two in back.
  • Beavers are drawn with white incisors. Real beavers have orange incisors. Which might come off as even more cartoonish and unrealistic to anyone who isn't familiar with real beavers.
  • Gummy, Pinkie's alligator, has a forked tongue like a monitor lizard. He can lick his own eyes with it, which real alligators can't. He's also bright green, a color alligators don't come in. And in general, he looks more like a crocodile than an alligator due to having a thinner snout rather a broad U-shaped one.
  • Ahuizotl's tiger and jaguar minions have slitted pupils, despite big cats having round pupils.
  • When a pony opens their mouth especially wide, you can often see their uvula — very few animals outside of humans have uvulas, and horses are not one of them. Of course, the uvula exists primarily to aid in speech, and Equestrian ponies are much more talkative than Earth ones.
  • Pelicans are drawn with oversized bill pouches.
  • "Inspiration Manifestation": Robins make their nests out in the open and not in hollowed out trees and therefore don't use birdhouses. Robins, being chiefly insectivorous, also do not eat birdseed and so would have no interest in the rather copious amount of it Fluttershy provides.
  • Whenever a unicorn is shown wearing a helmet (most often Sweetie Belle), it's structured exactly like the helmets worn by other pony species. Given that the height of the horn is above the depth of the helmet layer, that kind of helmet wouldn't fit them in the first place. Also see "The Cart Before the Ponies", in which Rarity and Snips are wearing similarly constructed helmets.
  • A large example is the ponies' designs in general. Domesticated horses look like that. It took thousands of years of domestication and selective breeding to get the ponies we know today. These characters supposedly live in an universe devoid of humans, yet they have pelt colours and flowing mane characteristic of domestic horses. If they were descended from prehistoric horses that gained sentience, they would have manes similar to zebras, stockier bodies, dursal stripes, and striped legs similar to Przewalski's Horses or Riwoche horses. Of course, this is a pragmatic decision as the characters wouldn't be as recognizable (or likely as cute) if they looked like primitive horses.
  • Similar to the above and possibly for the same reasons, Zecora is proportioned like the ponies despite being a zebra (which are different from horses and cannot be domesticated).
  • Rainbow Dash broke her leg in one episode. For real horses, that's almost always a death sentence because it's difficult for horses to heal their legs. It's decidedly less trouble for Rainbow Dash because she knows how to lie in bed until it heals.
  • Gummy is most likely an adult alligator, however he looks like a hatchling and doesn't even have any teeth.
  • Carrot Cake tries to handwave his unicorn and pegasus children, but his explanation doesn't make any sense due to how genetically distant the twins are to their unicorn and pegasus relatives. First, he explains that his great-great-great-great grandfather was a unicorn, which would imply that the unicorn gene somehow remained unexpressed for not one, not two, but six generations in a row. Second, he also explains that Cup Cake's great aunt's second cousin twice-removed (aka the twins' second cousin fifth-removed) was a pegasus.note . While it's still possible, in the world of genetics most would write that off as coincidence unless the gene is so rare, that it's doubtful it was brought it into the family by a spouse. And given the number of pegasi in Equestria... that's very unlikely to be the case. But assuming what he says is true, then he's essentially won the genetic lottery .
  • In an episode, after turning into a bear, Thorax rears on his hind legs and pounds his chest like a gorilla, something real bears never do. Of course, he isn't really a bear.
  • The show falls into the trap of mistaking scorpion pedipalps or pincers for limbs, thus giving them only six legs instead of eight.
  • The hippopotamus from "Pinkie Pride" has a long, thin tail like an elephant or a rhinoceros, as well as square-shaped canines like a stereotypical cartoon hippo. Not to mention a common hippopotamus would not appreciate being ridden on due to its aggressive temperament. Cheese Sandwich must have found an unusually docile hippo.
  • Coconut trees are found growing inland such as jungles and deserts, despite coconut trees being coastal plants that grow only near seas. They also rely on tides and currents to disperse their nuts and settle new areas, so it's impossible for them to reach dry, inland places.
  • "She Talks to Angel", which deals extensively with Fluttershy running her animal sanctuary, falls into this on a number of occasions:
    • Koalas are depicted with only one thumb. Real koalas have two.
    • Fluttershy proposes that the predator animals will only eat vegetables while at the sanctuary (we see raccoons, a bear, a snake, and a wolf amongst the group). While the bear and raccoons could likely pull it off due to being omnivores, snakes and wolves are carnivores. Wolves can and do eat fruit in the wild, but only in small amounts and as a supplement to a chiefly meat-based diet. Snakes however, are hypercarnivores, and simply can't digest plant matter.
    • Antoine is shown chewing the snake treat Fluttershy offers him. Real life snakes swallow their prey whole since their teeth aren't designed for grinding food. This is somewhat fixed in another scene where Antoine swallows a baby elephant whole; snakes can expand their bodies to accommodate large meals, but even an entire elephant calf is impossible in real life. Additionally, Antoine, a non-venomous python, is depicted with fangs, which only venomous snakes have. He also has round pupils; constrictor snakes have slitted pupils.


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