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Art Major Biology

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"Osamu Tezuka was educated as a doctor, so the stories are rich in medical knowledge and experience. Except, of course, when Tezuka decides that it would be more fun to just make crazy shit up. Which is pretty much constantly."

Acceptable Breaks from Real Life biology.

The work contains things that are biologically impossible — often skirting the Critical Research Failure level from the era the work was created in—except the biologically impossible things are needed for the premise of the work, and the work is better for having them.


Badass Normal characters would not be half as fun if they didn't sometimes do things that no truly normal person would be able to do. We are willing to handwave the existence or seriousness of flesh wounds and concussions if it means our favorite protagonist will still be able to do his stuff next week.

We can't have Fantastic Voyage Plots or attacks of the fifty-foot whatevers without breaking the Square-Cube Law, and those types of stories can be fun. We can't have vampires or zombies without breaking a few rules of biology (there's no such thing as unbiology).

If a show which normally has a naturalistic bent wants to deal with phenomena that are normally considered supernatural — say, telekinesis or mind-reading — and treat the phenomena as real, they have to do this with a few dashes of technobabble if they don't want to invoke Skepticism Failure. If the hero is by nature a skeptic, then you do not want to invoke Skepticism Failure without a good reason.


We don't normally want radiation to simply do what it does in real life, unless you want a Downer Ending before the work has had the chance to begin. We want genetic engineering to do things it isn't known to do in real life, and we don't always want to wait a generation to see the effects. We sometimes want the fast action of a subtle Lamarck Was Right.

We like the ease of identification Identical Grandsons permit when Time Travel or flashbacks are needed.

Early on, such things get worked in by Rule of Cool or Rule of Funny if they aren't inherent in the premise. At their height, it can become Reality Is Unrealistic: even if the writers do know biology, they work things that would Fail Biology Forever in because the bulk of the demographic want the inaccuracy.

A Sub-Trope of Rule of Cool.

A Super-Trope to Funny Animal Anatomy.


A Sister Trope to Art Major Physics.

Contrast: Hollywood Science, Artistic License – Biology, Dan Browned.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Osamu Tezuka, the author of Black Jack, was a qualified doctor but freely admitted to ignoring medical accuracy in the interest of telling a good story. For example, the title character was able to get an artificial daughter by grafting a highly differentiated teratoma to a synthetic frame. Also, in Phoenix: Sun, the protagonist is tortured by having the skin of his head replaced with the skin of a wolf and then left to die. Against all biological possibility, the graft takes hold, and he becomes a Wolf Man who can talk to animals and spirits. Even more impossibly, by the end of the story, the wolf skin finally rots and falls off to reveal that his old human face has grown back under it.
  • Franken Fran does this. The roots of the stories are usually based in reality, but then it gets tweaked until it will ruin your dreams for the next month. Given that the main character is a Cute Monster Girl and her sidekick is a cat with a human head, you have to give somewhere.
  • In Detective Conan, one of the critical plot elements involves Apotoxin, which stated the Million-to-One Chance Fountain of Youth (and for the other 999,999, poison) acted by initiating an uncontrollable cascade of apoptosis. The apoptosis thing is true, when explained. Then there is the cure. Where does the 200% increase in mass come from?
  • BioMeat: Yuki Fujisawa's whole plot is solely made possible thanks to the basic design of the Extreme Omnivore mouths on legs, which defy any understanding of any digestive system, not to mention their creators' common sense. The American version uses slightly more common sense, but still circumvents all current biology courses.
  • The bloodline powers in Naruto being part of people's DNA is just a justification for people having powerful abilities that no one else can copy. When a dude pulls out his own spine to use a Whip Sword we have officially thrown all laws of biology out the window. For that matter, any of the result of Orochimaru's experiments and surgeries: you should not be able to move your arms if you have high-powered air tubes running through them, surgery cannot let a human sweat silk that turns rock-hard, and an enzyme should not let you turn body parts into weapons and a jetpack, but Zaku, Kidomaru, and Jugo wouldn't be anywhere near as interesting if they couldn't.
  • In Monster, at one point, a prostitute who has been shot in the gut (one of the most lethal ways to take a bullet) walks to a dingy clinic, where Dr. Tenma, trained as a neurosurgeon and without a full complement of medical implements, with only an untrained "nurse" to assist him, operates on her injured spleen. And she survives. And that's just one of the more implausible ones. Urasawa told a good story, but he definitely took some Artistic License with his medicine.
  • The entire premise of Sex Pistols manga. It makes no sense, it's not meant to make sense, and if you think about it too much you find yourself wanting to dose yourself on large amounts of LCD + Laudanum, but it makes every plot point absolutely frigging hilarious. It's strange 'cause it's a BL manga, but it has that sweet mixture of 'awww' and 'really funny' that makes it work. To make things worse, men can get men pregnant, women can get women pregnant, and selling your DNA is a perfectly reasonable practice. You can pretty much imagine some really really fucked up family trees
  • Toriko thrives on this trope. A gigantic mammoth that the heroes go spelunking inside, searching for the most delicious piece of meat. An overabundance of large predators eating each other. Flowers that detect how badass you are. A guy with a skeleton consisting of 4000 bones. Then there are all the absurd food ingredients. The anime is even worse than the manga, having animals that are biologically impossible as well as environments that don't make one lick of sense.
    • The manga of Toriko at least tries to explain why the animals are the way they are and how they can grow. The anime on the other hand? Its due to the fan submissions which are adapted every week for the new episode, and since the fans in Japan are children its a bit forgivable on how they are biologically impossible: children don't know that.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has the bio-mechanical Evangelion, which in real life would not be able to stand up thanks to their legs being too slender. There are a lot of weird biological phenomena occurring in Evangelion (like an Angel's egg being incubated inside a volcano) that are "explained" via incomprehensible pseudo-science.
  • Junji Ito likes this, and it can be found in nearly all of his stories. A Doll's Hellish Burial is particularly notable for being rife with it, despite being less than ten pages long.
  • In Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, there is an episode generally referred to among fans as 'The Puppy Episode' (#20). In it, G-2 receives a hit that leaves a bit of shrapnel in his head, while attempting to rescue the titular puppy, in an inoperable location. The good Doctor who is the Xavier for the team (and who is repeatedly shown not to be a medical doctor, but a scientist) decides that the only way to get the shrapnel out is to stick G-2 in a giant centrifuge normally used for G-forces training. G-2 later escapes and joins his team on the Godphoenix. The final explosion and death throes of the giant mole mecha (yes, really) send the ship into a massive series of spins — which removes the shrapnel. Somehow.
  • Attack on Titan's, uh, Titans should be far too heavy to support their own weight, much like the Evangelions above. This actually gets lampshaded by Hange, who has also discovered that severed chunks of Titans are impossibly lightweight—they appear to have plenty of mass while they're stomping around munching on people. The explanation for all this is still unknown. Then there is them wanting to eat people, yet not for food (their energy source is implied to be the sun). They just like to.

  • Works from the Northern Renaissance (Flanders, in particular) tended to play this trope. Figures would appear slightly larger than they would in real life or a table would be tilted at an impossible angle so we can see everything on it. It's simply the whole of the forms themselves that are messed with, the details are still impeccable and true to life, as was typical of the detailed realism of this time period. It should be noted that Northern Europe Renaissance artists at the time did not know about perspective system which initiated from Italy.
  • A well-known example is the Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres which features a naked female slave seen from behind. Critics observed that the figures must have had five vertebrae too many to look this way.
  • Psh, if you want to talk about stretching biology in art, go look at Mannerism. The proportions on figures are distorted and stretched all over the place. The church actually cracked down on this style of art because it was considered too weird at the time, and promoted the Baroque style instead.
  • In another example of distorted figures, the Plaza Oriente is lined with statues with crude features and odd proportions. They were commissioned for placement on the upper level of the Royal Palace, and were thus designed to be viewed from below and from a distance.
  • The Cubist and Surrealist movements both made heavy use of this trope, with Picasso and Dali being two of the most well-known examples.
  • Sort-of case: Two artists (one of them being John Howe, medieval armor enthusiast) working on The Lord of the Rings would constantly tease and nitpick each other on their respective shortcomings in biology and armor design: "Your creature shouldn't be able to move, let alone fly!" "Well, anyone wearing that armor wouldn't be able to move either!"
  • Michelangelo is normally strict about adhering to the norms of normal human anatomy, but he deliberately made the hands and head of the David overly large, most likely so that people viewing it from far away in a chapel could distinguish these important elements easily.
  • In Sandro Botticelli' The Birth of Venus, Venus' neck bends in an unnatural angle.
  • Charles Darwin once famously pointed out that the way Laocoön's eyebrows bulge in Laocoön and His Sons is physiologically impossible.

    Comic Books 
  • The X-Men are all "mutants" because of one gene being wonky, resulting in powers ranging from time travel to control over the electromagnetic spectrum to worldwide weather patterns modification. Initially the cause was just unspecified "mutation". The "it's one x-gene" explanation is actually an attempt to clean up the art-major nature of the biology since random mutations being that outright beneficial that many times is statistically impossible. Current issues have been attempting to clean it up further as popular understanding of evolution has increased; usually the explanation nowadays is that it's a gene that evolved the normal way (with some alien help) that is just switched off in most people, with the "mutation" being the flipping of the switch. By implication mutants all have the same altered genetics, it's just that the general "alter reality" ability manifests differently based on factors such as childhood trauma.
  • Booga from Tank Girl. In the movie, he's a kangaroo-man ultimate fighting machine bioengineered thing... made from a dog? The comic doesn't even bother justifying why he exists. At least it makes more sense that Tank Girl having a Half-Human Hybrid baby with her tank.
    • Not made from a dog, he was reincarnated as a kangaroo-man ultimate fighting machine bioengineered thing after having been a dog in a past life. So he's as much Art Major Metaphysics as this trope.
  • The new origin that Alan Moore devised for Swamp Thing after taking over fulfilled three purposes. It allowed Moore to account for the character still being alive after being filled with ammunition. It put a new spin on the character — it was now a plant given human form rather than a human turned into plant. And it was freaky cool. It was also based on a theory that had been disproven shortly after the claim was first made, but Moore wasn't working for research grants.
  • The story "La Nuova Razza" from the fumetti Terror Blu is about sperm that are super-intelligent, can TAKE OVER YOUR MIND by slipping into your brain(?!), are the size of tadpoles, have eyes and mouths (with teeth!), devour human flesh, and — wait for it — SEXUALLY REPRODUCE. Someone should have used a condom.
  • The Kingpin. 2% body fat, 350 pounds of muscle. Can beat superheroes in hand-to-hand combat. AND IS COMPLETELY "NORMAL". He's not a mutant, there is no Applied Phlebotinum, there's no magic...just another Charles Atlas Superpower. He can CRUSH a man's SKULL with his entirely "normal" HAND. But damn if it isn't a cool version of Stout Strength.
  • If Giant Man were to actually grow to his full size, he'd be unable to move and all his bones would be crushed to powder. By an elementary equation.
  • The Amazing Spider-man "No Turning Back" story featuring The Lizard has liquid blood converted to gaseous blood by being thrown through an air conditioner propeller fan.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have essentially had the bodyform and biological processes of a peak human written into their DNA. For instance, they sweat, have a humanlike heat signature, walk upright, can metabolize human food, have thumbs...

    Film — Animated 
  • There has never, ever been an actual self-colored red cat, as a few of the characters in The Aristocats are. This is genetically impossible due to red fur being linked to tabby stripes. There are two red coat patterns that could be mistaken for self reds: a diluted red, or cream, can have tabby stripes that are very faint and easy to look over, especially from a distance. A long haired red tabby might also be mistaken for a self red because the fur length can confuse the pattern. Neither of these shows up, as Thomas O' Malley and the orange kitten Toulouse are a vivid red and, as far as one can tell, do not have very long fur. This might be because in hand-drawn animation it is very difficult to animate the tabby stripes.
  • From Bee Movie:
    • Let's start with a massive case of Insect Gender-Bender — male worker bees. Also, bloodsucking male mosquitoes appear. Lots of them.
    • Then the whole process of honeymaking (which in Real Life involves bees vomiting nectar back and forth into each others' stomachs) is depicted as a fantasy Willy Wonka-esque process. Bad, but not critical.
    • Then one bee stings a man.. and survives by putting a plastic toy knife where its stinger used to be. Real bees that lose their stingers when they sting lose their internal organs at the same time — that's why it's fatal.
    • They revive dead plants through pollination, which is akin to bringing someone back to life by having sex with the corpse.
  • Lampshaded in Rio:
    Blu: I'm sweating. I didn't even think that was biologically possible, but look!
    Lifts a wing to reveal dark 'armpits'
    Jewel: Ew.
  • Zootopia: The backstory about how the animals all evolved to have the same high intelligence, bipedal locomotion, and vocal mechanism all at the same time, despite originally being very different species and continuing to differ in many other ways. It's highly implausible for anyone who knows anything about biology, but it's necessary for the basic premise to work, so you just have to ignore it.
  • Played for Laughs in Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. On his first day as a science teacher, Professor Poopypants lists the names for the parts of a human child's brain as follows: the "Thinking-About-Candy-opolis", the "Fear-of-What's-Under-the-Bed" lobe, "The-Only-Thing-I'll-Eat-is-Pizza-Chicken-Nuggets-or-Bottled-Noodles" lobe, the "As-Soon-As-Someone-Else-Has-a-Toy-I-Want-That-Toy" interior lobe, and the "Haha-Guffaw-Chucklomatus".

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Alien: The creatures are so cool, it's easy to overlook the impossibility of the fast growth cycles (even before being sped up in the Alien vs. Predator movies) no matter how much it ate in that time, the fact that a creature outside of Earth is compatible with species from Earth even as a parasite, that silicon based lifeforms aren't actually likely due to how silicon bonds, and how blood like that can work. Basically these things are powered by Rule of Cool and Rule of Scary.
  • The Thing (1982): This and Rule of Scary.
  • Although there is no official explanation given as to the how the Rage virus in 28 Days Later works after infecting a victim, the virus apparently infects its host after a single heartbeat. Also, the infected don't eat, they don't drink, it's debatable whether or not they sleep, and they're constantly vomiting copious amounts of their own blood. How could they possibly live for a total of 28 days before falling over dead from dehydration and/or hypovolemic shock?
  • In Crank, the main character is given a drug that stops his adrenaline from flowing. This could work. Two problems: in Real Life, he would have died within seconds (this would have left the movie about the length of a film trailer). Also, fear is the most effective way to produce adrenaline.
  • Face/Off features Sean Archer becoming Castor Troy and vice-versa through face transplant. Apparently we are supposed to forget that John Travolta (Archer) is 2" (5cm) taller than Nicholas Cage (Castor), or that their hairstyles do not match (for Archer, Travolta's buzz cut is modified by use of a haircut to match Cage's, but we never know about the reverse, other than potential use of styling gel). Don't ask how muscles, nerves, and blood vessels are connected so well that facial expressions are never compromised on either Archer or Castor afterwards. Or how the surgery leaves zero scarring. Or how the surgery is reversed for Archer in the ending after Castor's death.
    • It should be noted that face transplants are a thing in real life, though they weren't yet when this movie was made. Even today the results of such transplants aren't exactly flawless and certainly don't leave the recipient looking like a carbon copy of the donor.
  • Godzilla is a prime example of this trope. It's best not to think too hard about how a giant radioactive dinosaur, giant butterfly, or half-plant half-Godzilla hybrid is able to exist. Just invoke the Rule of Cool, a bit of Techno Babble, and perhaps the Anthropic Principle (you can't have Godzilla films without Godzilla) and be done with it. This page attempts to scientifically explain how Kaiju could possibly exist. To summarize, they're basically reanimated corpses whose cells have been transformed into microscopic fission reactors.
  • The 'farm humans for energy' backstory from The Matrix makes less than no sense. One much better solution for the machines would be to simply burn the humans and whatever they were feeding humans with. Humans were originally supposed to be organic computer hardware for the machines, which is at least somewhat plausible. However, the Wachowski Siblings were told to change that since the execs were worried people wouldn't understand it.
  • A black & white horror movie called Monster on the Campus has the protagonist inject himself with a Coelacanth's blood in order to become a caveman. It's the "evolution" take on Jekyll & Hyde.
  • The Species movies, especially the second one. A film about the difficulties Natasha Henstridge has getting laid... The fate of The Virus-infected astronaut's human victims in Species II: his Evil Spawn go from conception to full term in minutes and then tear their way out of their hosts like chest bursters. This is ridiculous because, whatever alien biology the fetus has, it needs nutrients from its human mother to survive; the human uterus could never supply enough to allow such growth rates. These things need to assimilate as much as nine pounds of material in minutes; even Alien chest bursters usually had the decency to take a couple of hours. Then there's the part where the infected astronaut blew off his own head with a shotgun and not only survived but also retained his memories, which is like smashing your hard drive, getting a new one, and expecting your old files to still be there when you plug it in.
  • In The Happening, the scene with the man feeding himself to the lions was a great moment of unintentional comedy. In the scene, a lion bites the victim's hand and lightly, almost playfully, tugs the man's arm, ripping it easily out of the socket. The victim remains standing. In real life, the force required to wrench an arm out of a socket would have pulled the man to the ground. Even then, the joint would only be dislocated, the force required to tear muscle, skin and ligament is even more incredible. Apparently, this unfortunate man was made from papier mache. Of course, this is not getting into plants develop the ability to secrete a neurotoxin that makes people kill themselves. All at once. Without anyone realizing. And it's stopped by The Power of Love. This is all risible; unfortunately, it's also all plot-critical. Of course, one wonders why a highly effective predator decides to slowly dismember a large, live, moving prey - the most effective tactic would be to, well, kill it by suffocation first. After all, a lion could not know that a man wants to get killed by it.
  • Another film with risible but plot-critical errors: Jaws: The Revenge. Most glaring is how the shark decides to kill a family out of revenge, even though the very concept of revenge is well beyond the mental capacity of a shark. (Or is it?..... Other fish do seem to have this concept) Also, this shark died in the original Jaws but apparently got better. How would it recognize relatives of Martin Brody, anyway? It also is able to travel from Martha's Vinyard to the Bahamas in three days. And it roars. And leaps into the air. And it roars.
  • Junior: To demonstrate that a newly improved fertility drug works, it is decided to test it on Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hey, if it works for a man, then it should definitely work for a woman! Though we never see this one used on a female. Since males don't have wombs, Arnie's character has to carry the child somewhere in his stomach cavity... and man, that is one effective fertility drug...
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes depicts apes both speaking human languages and throwing makeshift spears with accuracy and distance, something apes are physically incapable of doing due to different structures of vocal cords and skeletons respectively. Of course, this is Hand Waved by the ALZ-113 miracle drug changing the apes physically as well as mentally.
    • The effects of ALZ-113 on the apes are instantaneous. Neurogenesis is inherently a very slow-going process, as more rapid neurogenesis almost inevitably results in death. This does however explain why ALZ-113 turns out to be fatal to humans.

  • Stephen King's Firestarter has pyrokinesis, telekinesis, mind controlling, and other things. All caused by a drug that was administered to several volunteers in their college years. King himself admitted the inaccuracy of this and says this is the reason he tends to avoid going into scientific explanations behind the plot devices of his later books. Of course one of his latest books use the damn ten percent thing.
  • Hothouse by Brian Aldiss. It has giant insects, man-eating plants, people growing wings after being mutated by space radiation, the entire planet being covered by a single banyan tree, and giant plant-spider hybrids that use their webs to connect the Earth to the Moon. The publisher even admitted that he knew it was ridiculously unrealistic, but still published it because it was awesome. Which turned out to be good move, because it ended up winning a Hugo award.
  • The Shel Silverstein poem "I'm Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor" which has also been adapted as a song. It confuses boas with pythons (boas are too small to eat anything bigger than a rabbit). And the song has the protagonist eaten feet first. Granted, if they'd been eaten head first — the way boas normally swallow their prey — the poem would have been much shorter.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide actually revels in this trope, describing the physiological changes undergone by a human who's infected with Solanum. If you disregard the fact that it's talking about freakin' zombies, and the occasional error about living biology (e.g. the 90% of Your Brain trope), it's not too different from many real pamphlets on medical conditions.
  • Vurt is big on fives. So it has Five Races, five two-way mixes, five three-way mixes, and five four-way mixes, plus one purely theoretical combination of all five races. This means that some two-way mixes can breed with partners that one of their parents couldn't breed with, which is genetically improbable—but since one of the viable pairings is human and dog.
  • Colin O'Boyle's The Chronicles of Professor Jack Baling has a type of insect that lives in paralyzing gel, a St. Bernard-sized mantis shrimp that walks on land and serves as the living machine for a hyperintelligent cuttlefish named “Gwendolyn,” and that’s just from the first two episodes.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the laws of genetics are expressly (by Word of God) not identical to Earthly genetics. In general, a kid will take after the looks and genetic traits of one parent or the other, but a key plot point is that the Baratheon seed is strong and will always overwhelm the other party's bloodline. Neither of Robert Baratheon's sons resemble him at all.
  • The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series has a rather... odd explanation for werewolf transformation. Once you're bitten, the transformation into a full-blown wolf is triggered by cold temperatures. (Living in a hot climate to stop this has no effect, since even a sudden blast of air conditioning can kick off the transformation.) But it's not this. In one of the books, one of the characters has not taken well to being bitten, and it is then discovered that perhaps bacterial meningitis could stop the transformation, seeing as breaking out into a fever pre-transformation almost cured one of the characters. So yeah... injecting somebody with bacterial meningitis somehow helps rather than hinders.
  • The robustness of zombies is portrayed inconsistently in World War Z. In some parts of the story zombies' limbs detach quite easily. In others zombies walk along the ocean floor at crush depth with impunity. High explosives which should liquify corpses are ineffective because "they don't cause headshots," yet if zombies have the hardiness portrayed elsewhere it's surprising a bullet can get through the skull to the brain at all. Also, there's more to using a body than just having a working brain. A shredded muscle will not function - forget pain tolerance, it just won't respond. Characters either lampshade this by pointing out how none of this makes sense, or handwave it by saying zombies don't follow the laws of nature, and Brooks has said he purposefully took artistic license with these tropes.
  • Three of the bratty kids' fates in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory invoke this trope:
    • Augustus Gloop's journey through a tight pipe leaves the Fat Bastard squeezed skinny.
    • Violet Beauregarde is transformed into a giant blueberry via three-course-meal gum and has to have the juice squeezed out of her to be returned to Not Quite Back to Normal, in that her skin and hair remains blue. In the 2005 film adaptation being squeezed also leaves her absurdly flexible. In the 2013 musical, she explodes as a result of the transformation but apparently can be put back together — provided she hasn't started to ferment — and, again, be at least Not Quite Back to Normal! (This version also claims her transformation is the result of the gum creating "excess fructose in the fluid sacs".)
    • Mike Teavee, shrunk to an inch or so tall, is stretched out to restore his original height and prescribed Supervitamin Candy to quickly fatten him up so he won't be a paper person. He gets overstretched and becomes ten feet tall!

    Live-Action TV 
  • In a Battlestar Galactica episode (season 2, episode 13), Dr. Baltar heals president Roslin's cancer by injecting her with some cylon/human hybrid blood that is more resistant to diseases because it has no antigens (particles that are recognized as hostile by the immune system) and therefore "no blood type". Therefore, it is somehow capable of destroying a cancer in a very late stage. If Type O negative blood (the real type closest to having "no antigens") could do that, there would be a lot less cancer in the world...
  • Between the various undead, the injuries people live through and Giles' lack of brain damage from all the times he gets knocked out, Buffy the Vampire Slayer loves this trope. And that's not mentioning Giant Dawn in S8.
  • In the Community episode "Epidemiology" the physician agreeing with Annie's plan to lower the temperature in order to "break the fever and kill the virus". Breaking a fever is all well and good for preventing brain damage, but the fever is the body's defensive response against the virus which was spread among people with presumably normal 98.6 degree temperatures. Bringing them back down to those temperatures they had when the virus was spread in the first place would do nothing against the virus itself, whatever brain damage lowering the temperatures was preventing notwithstanding. The thermostat needs to go at least below 50 F to affect the environment of the virus, by causing hypothermia in its host (it could possibly show up in Pierce and Lenard a bit earlier). And these low temperatures would just be expected to (very slightly) slow the spreading of the virus in the body, not "kill" it (it's pretty hard to kill something that isn't especially alive in the first place). The average virus would still be active, much less capable of reactivation, long, long after the human has died of hypothermia. There is a reason fevers and sterilization techniques use high temperatures, not low ones.
  • Doctor Who
    • The Weeping Angels, reveling in this and Rule of Scary, literally turn to stone when you look at them. Biology does not work that way, and neither does quantum physics, but you'll be too busy crapping yourself to notice.
    • The Ood carry their brains in their hands. No, there is nothing to protect their "hand-brains" in case the Ood accidentally drop them or slip on the frozen surface of their home world. This species design is possible, but the designer of the Ood seems to have forgotten that evolution is not so kind to people born with their brains unprotected.
  • Farscape is a prime example of this. The most blatant example would probably be a digestive system that somehow manufactures helium. Since most of it is happening to aliens, though, it's a little easier to accept.
  • The entire premise behind Out of Jimmy's Head is a brain transplant. But they managed to save the "Personality Gland" to handwave why Jimmy is not acting like Milt, since everything that makes a person is in the brain.
  • The short-lived series Threshold has 'hyperdimensional radiation' that was capable of changing human DNA to a triple helix as part of a "xenoforming" plan. The show was never too bothered about scientific accuracy but it did have Data and a sex-crazed midget.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marines, just (acid spitting, one-ribbed, three-lunged, two-hearted, two-stomached, electric skinned, super strength, reinforced skeleton, fast healing, power armored) Space Marines.Elaboration  The Horus Heresy novels offer a slight justification — it is theorized that a trace of the Emperor's own reality warping psyker powers is passed on in the gene-seed and are necessary to ensure that the process has any chance of success. This is why nulls — humans who have a mutation that causes them to negate psyker power — cannot be made into Astartes. Essentially, Reality Ensues whenever the procedure is attempted on nulls.
    • A couple of editions back, there was a line about Orks having an "algae base" twined around the double helix of their normal DNA. This is, um, exactly nothing like how DNA works in the real world. This line has since been retconned out and replaced with "animal and plant symbiosis" to explain why Orks are green and really hard to kill, which is a bit more plausible and doesn't require a tertiary strand that somehow knows it's algae.
    • Other genetic weirdness: Eldar apparently have triple helix DNA. No-one's entirely sure how this would work; it does exist, but it's not all that stable, making it less than ideal for information carrying. Eldar are explicitly a product of genetic engineering by a Sufficiently Advanced Alien race.
  • Deadlands includes a little line in the monster books that tells the Marshal to flat out ignore real world science when making monsters, biology being the one ignored the most. It's justified in that all the monsters are born of people's nightmares-so long as it's scary, make it.
    • Mad Scientists can also invoke this trope with their creations-so long as it sounds plausible, it's a go. The book states that since most players are not expert scientists, this trope (and several other ones) are not just allowed, but required.
    • Meanwhile, some high-level Librarians in the Post Apocalyptic Hell on Earth setting can weaponize this trope: by loudly decreeing the physical impossibility of the Abominations around them, they can force them to take serious damage and possibly cease existing. (This can be one of the game's most efficient ways to deal with hordes of very large monsters.)

    Video Games 
  • BioShock. The hero can instantaneously rewrite his genetic structure using plasmids extracted from sea-slug stem cells to give himself elemental superpowers. As if this doesn't break biology enough as it is, he can also freely exchange his old plasmids with new ones or even remove them and store them in a "gene bank" for later use. Even worse, the protagonist is actually five years old or so, even he being fenotypically an adult due to rapid aging.
  • All the gigantified radioactive animals in Fallout. Word of God states that the Fallout universe intentionally runs on Hollywood Science.
  • Eternal Darkness lampshades this trope, as the enemies you run into have no rhyme or reason for their existence. One of the characters is a biologist who gives the beasts autopsies. He points out that most of them have no organs, no blood, no ability to exist- and yet they existed. This might be what drives him insane.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: Any game ever which has you inside a main character for a game long "Fantastic Voyage" Plot is going to play into this somewhat, and with the puzzles being solved by Bowser's actions on the top screen affecting the parts of his body being explored by Mario and Luigi on the touch screen... yeah. Making Bowser drink water constantly to flood his stomach and makes bones float out of the way? Making him stand in front of an X Ray machine to make various things vanish and appear? Shooting adrenaline at... something to make him a fifty foot monster who can fight buildings and trains? Heck, making his airway freeze solid to solve puzzles? All there, and the game would be a lot less interesting without it.
  • Pokémon. Just look at some Pokémon species and just try to imagine a skeletal, muscular, or organ structure for them. You'll still want most of them as a pet/bodyguard/friend though, regardless of how much it would hurt to imagine how they function.
  • The whole business in Metal Gear Solid where the Les Enfants Terribles twins were created as double-dominant and double-recessive for no reason but to give Liquid Snake something to obsess over. Note that, while often commented on, his speech prior to this on recessive genes being "flawed" is entirely correct in the context of the story, since they're being spoken of regarding cloning a man with supposedly superior DNA, not normal reproduction. Kojima even went on record to say that Liquid did not have a firm grasp on genetics, and that the inaccuracies were the result of the character being wrong. The after-credits sequence of the first game reveals that Liquid was actually the superior one all along.
    • Especially when one considers that, if Liquid were completely recessive, he would be albino. And female.
  • In Spore, evolution takes place between generations, but your progeny can only evolve body parts that you have previously collected from an existing creature! But it must be noted that Spore can be called an "evolution simulator" only as much as Harvest Moon can be called a "farm simulator" — that is, in a very rough way — and many aspects are simplified or tampered with to appeal to Rule of Fun. In Spore Creatures, you don't even need to mate to create an egg; and the offspring can be incredibly different from the parent creature. A full list of errors can be found here.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy, the level "Kingfin's Fearsome Waters" consists entirely of an Underwater Boss Battle against Kingfin, a giant shark skeleton. Only problem is that sharks don't have bones. Sharks are cartilaginous fishes, meaning their skeletons are made up of cartilage (flexible and dense flesh, like the stuff that makes up your nose and ears). A shark does not leave a skeleton behind after it dies — its cartilage skeleton decomposes with the rest of its flesh.
  • Gaia Online does this for the Rule of Funny or the Rule of Cool. There used to be a lampshade of it in the Fishing minigame:
    "You might be wondering why you just caught a trout in the ocean. Gaian trout are marine fishes, you idiot."
    • The character Mirai, who supposedly just graduated with a degree in marine biology and sells pet fish for the Aquariums, frequently fails at even knowing what the newest specimens for sale are. This is played for laughs.
    • Evolving items.
    • Megapuberty.
    • And the preceding subplots, in which Timmy was exposed to toxic waste and then mutated into a monster, fused with the Doc, got separated via surgery, grew an evil alter ego, and was separated from THAT with a giant centrifuge.
  • Whoever designed Fish Tycoon arranged it so that aquarium fish are not only all the same genetically-compatible species, but also all hermaphrodites. And not hermaphrodites in the "start as one sex, switch to the other" sense that a few fishes do exhibit; no, any two adult fish can knock each other up at the same time.
  • At one point in Cave Story, you have to collect "jellyfish juice", which one would assume is made from the organs of jellyfish. Sure enough, you do obtain it by killing a specific jelly—but it comes pre-packaged in jars, found inside the a treasure chest that the jelly drops when you kill it.
  • Any Final Fantasy game that has a sci-fi backstory may as well be saying "magic!"
    • IV was the first offender. Why are the Lunarians so similar to humans? They come from a different planet!
    • Then along came VII, the biggest offender to date. A viral alien that travels from planet to planet mind-reading the populace? That can mutate them into monsters, instantly re-write its cellular structure to resemble anything, absorb traits of other animals, transfer them between animals, control anything with some of its cells and an insufficient willpower, and do who knows what else? Seriously, a bucketful of these things literally revived a man from the dead and completely regenerated his body, clothing, and weapon. Then there are the SOLDIERs. I don't care how hopped up on mako they are, the human body simply CAN'T jump dozens of feet in the air, the structures like joints and muscles simply aren't built for it.
    • Technically the world of VII is Science Fantasy, where people take a scientific approach to stuff that is still magic, not science fiction. Crisis Core actually lampshades the issue with the SOLDIERs and makes it an important plot point surrounding Genesis's degeneration from all the crazy stuff done to make him. You can also get a mako boost from Hojo but he points out that even with mako suffusing your system, your body's reaching the point where trying to coax more mako-enhanced performance out of it will lead to a slow death from the damage of your exertions now so vastly overtaking even your mako-enhanced recovery. Part of the point of the Jenova projects was to create people whose bodies could better endure the punishment of mako-infused high performance.
  • Dead Space:
    • The Necromorphs wouldn't be nearly as compelling if they were "realistic" zombies. Some of their biology clearly violates what's been established as possible, but instead of seeming silly it heads straight into Body Horror territory.
    • One particularly glaring example stands out with the Puker. It twists both of it's former human legs into one single limb for use as a leg, then makes a new leg from it's intestines. One wonders what's the point of all that, especially since there's no hinting that there was anything wrong with it's previous legs. This bit of Fridge Logic doesn't make the creature any less horrifying.
  • Resident Evil. Not only is there a virus capable of infecting all forms of life, from plants to insects to reptiles to mammals (save rats, for some reason, which serve exclusively as carriers), but all creatures are affected differently by it, without rhyme or reason:
    • Plants will gain the ability to move and will develop new senses.
    • Arthropods will massively grow in size, though without a specific criteria regarding their original size. For instance, bees/wasps will grow roughly to the size of a man's fist, while some spiders will be as big as a man and some twice or three times as big. Moths will grow as big as a car while worms will become as big as a TRAIN.
    • Reptiles and fish will have the same effect, growing in size but without a scale taking their original size into account.
    • Crows will not change at all, though they will acquire the one characteristic common to all infected creatures: aggressiveness.
    • Mammals will become "undead" (save for rats, as previously stated). That is, they'll lose their mind and their bodies will rot. Otherwise, no changes in size or shape will be appreciated.
    • Note that the previous list only includes those forms of life which had been accidentally exposed to the virus in its pure form. Mixing the virus with blood or flesh will have different effects, the same will occur if an already infected creature gets dosed with the virus yet again, and let's not even mention the creatures which are selectively created on purpose using the virus. Body Horror Up to Eleven!
    • There are at least four different strains of virus (T, G, Progenitor, Ancient), quite a lot of variants (T+G, T-Veronica, T-Abyss, Uroboros, Cameron's)... but they all generally have their own personal moments of this trope. Let alone the crazy parasite Plagas.
    • Guys. A B.O.W. with a fully organic chainsaw for an arm. Sit back and drink in the awesome.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Titan, and its predecessor TN-1. Both cause people to grow to massive sizes with just tiny doses, but the former causes flesh to tear open and forms bone protrusions. The original version of these drugs, Venom, is treated a bit more realistically: characters don't grow in size, and it takes a constant flow to maintain the enhanced state.
    • Killer Croc suffers from a skin condition he may have deliberately accelerated.

  • In Homestuck, the trolls get this a lot. For starters, the hemospectrum. Different trolls have different blood colors, affecting their social standing. Those lower on the hemospectrum (reds, oranges, and yellows) are more likely to have psychic powers, while those higher up (blues and purples) are more resistant, and this higher up live longer by centuries. Also their horns are completely different shapes, generally somewhat impossible without body modification (think Eridan), and in at least one instance (Vriska) it's shown the horns aren't even guaranteed to be symmetrical. For the kids, their eye colors. Dave has blood red, Rose and Roxy have pink, and Dirk has orange.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The mutated Plague Zombie monsters tend to not hold up to real life biology very well, be it in terms of anatomy or the fact that many of those encountered by the protagonists can be safely assumed to have existed for ninety years. The fact however helps a lot in maintaining the ambiguity of whether the The Plague is partly magical or not.

    Web Original 
  • The Whateley Universe. In spades, for the same reason as X-men above. Impossible superhero/supervillain powers? Got 'em. Zombies? The Necromancer's certainly got 'em. Werewolves? At least four different kinds. The only thing they don't have is a giant humanoid robot. Okay, they do have it, but the devisers can't get it to walk because of the Square-Cube Law and such.
  • At one point in the fanfic Shinji And Warhammer 40 K, Shinji is required to go through a temple of trials. He invokes this trope during a rant about the trials, complaining that the giant scorpions he encountered shouldn't be able to support their own weight.
  • Darwin's Soldiers has some of this. X-Men like powers and Hollywood Healing are the most common offenders. Granted, the X-Men styled powers are treated a little more realistically (i.e. it is not one gene but multiple genes that determine the power, organisms have to be created with the powers, etc.).
  • The Global Guardians PBEM Universe featured this. It advertised itself as an "open source superpowered roleplaying universe", which meant that pretty much any explanation for superpowers was useable. Bizarre alien biology as the source of superpowers, not to mention the "mutant" thing, all saw a lot of use.
  • Anything and everything about vore. Don't look for it unless you want to be scarred. Typical sites actually separate the realistic vore as "Hard vore". Usually it's decided by whether or not there is stomach acid present and whether or not the prey dies. Excretion is not taken into account. If the prey is unharmed, alive, and undigested when they come out, it still counts as soft.
  • The Jenkinsverse: The HEAT operators as described blow away all peak human possibilities, especially when you consider that they pack on several hundred pounds of muscle - so much that they need scales made for trucks - while increasing their overall flexibility. Not to mention they're probably pushing up against physical limitations imposed by the square-cube law. Somewhat lampshaded by the fact that even characters who interact with HEAT operators on a daily basis don't really believe how strong they are.
    • Jenkinsverse aliens in general. How is intelligence supposed to have evolved in species that don't have any evolutionary pressure to outsmart anything more intelligent than grass?

    Western Animation 
  • Lampshaded in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Baby Cakes," where the Cakes, both earth ponies, have twins who are a pegasus and a unicorn. Mr. Cake explains that he and his wife have very distant relatives of those species, one of which would have required the genes to move back a generation, and across a marriage, twice, and nervously says "That makes sense, right?"


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