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Pony Physiology 101
This post is inspired by Equine Anatomy 101 poster on our art board.
Pony pre-history is that of a grazer. There are vast grasslands in Equestria, but no other large grazing animals. When the Earth Ponies discovered agriculture, the race left the grasslands. Nothing has since evolved to take the ponies place.
Compared to humans, an Equestrian Pony is about 4 feet tall at the head, and weighs about the same. The face of a pony is very human-like: rounded with a small (if any) muzzle. Ponies in Equestria no more resemble earthly ponies, than humans resemble the apes.
Equestrian anatomy allows for far greater range of movement that earthy equines. They do not sport the distended belly an earthy grazer must have. Further, an Equestrian can stand and sit much like a human (even to the point of dancing).
Magic and Telekinesis.
Magic infuses the very land itself. It’s through the use of magic that ponies were able to rise above the beasts and shape the land. There is one universal magic inherent to all ponies: telekinesis.
Earth Ponies utilize TK at its most elemental level. They can pick up objects simply by touching it with a hoof. This is true telekinesis but with no range. For example: An Earth pony picks up a saw. His TK holds the saw in place, but it’s the strength of his forelimb that moves the saw back and forth. This particular brand of TK is limited to his forelimbs only.
Pegasus Ponies also have this simple Telekinesis. But they can express this TK thru two other limbs: Their wings. Flight is simply an expression of telekinesis. Pegasi wings are far too small to effectively lift the pony. TK does the flying, the wings appear to be for control only. In some cases, this telekinetic flight is stronger and faster than others.
Pegasi also have a racial magic. All pegasi have the same abilities, though the degree of power expressed may vary. Walking on clouds, weather manipulation, and shaping clouds into a safe home environments make up this dramatic racial magic. Further, Pegasi can combine their abilities to produce ever more powerful effects.
Unicorns are masters of telekinesis and magic. Telekinesis can be expressed at range by any unicorn. Further it enables fine control. TK strength varies, but in general it’s about the same as human strength. Unicorns with training can express their telekinesis in many ways including large area effects (as seen by Twilight Sparkle in a number of episodes).
Unicorn Magic: As pictured in the poster, the skull of a unicorn protects a second brain like organ. This is where the expressions of magic come from. Every unicorn has some magical ability, powerful or not. Certain unicorns like Twilight can be trained to act like a true earthy wizard. Most however are limited to their own unique brand of magic (like Rarity’s ability to discover deposits of gem stones).
The Fauna of Equestria.
The magic inherent of the land also infused the many enemies of Ponykind.
The manticore for example, is perfectly adapted for predation upon ponies of any type. Anywhere a pony can go, so can the manticore. All manner of magical beasts have evolved to prey upon magical ponies. What is interesting is that humans are familiar with many of these creatures as well, but that is for a later chapter.
Pony’s coped with this monstrous situation with more magic. The monsters are magically confined to protected areas like the Everfree Forest. Occasionally one might escape, but ponies live a life free of predation thanks to powerful magic.
Of course so much magic concentrated in a relatively small area has resulted in a wild proliferation of magical beasts and plants. These reservations of monsters are shunned by all but the most foolish ponies. But one brave zebra, Zecora, does study the intensely magic flora from within the Everfree Forest itself.
Other Intelligent Life.
Equestria is home to many forms of sentient life. Most tend to be racially segregated into their own lands. The Gryphon Kingdoms are the best known, but Zebras and Buffalo also maintain their separate lands.
Diamond Dogs live separated from the rest of Equestria in their tunnels, which are clearly within the realm of Celestia and the ponies. They appear to have enjoyed a secret existence but lost that when they enslaved one of the six Heroines of Harmony. The Dogs appear to be operating illegal gemstone mines (gems which clearly rest on Equestrian national land). It is not clear if Celestia sent her army to clear the buggers out (probably happened off screen).
Other sentient races without their own lands include bovines (who stampeded in one episode), and sheep (who were corralled in another episode). Both spoke in English/Equestrian and appeared perfectly capable of reason. However there was no demonstration of the telekinesis ponies have mastered.
Lastly, there are ambiguous examples of sentience. Many of the lesser mammals appear to have sentience, but do not speak. Fluttershy’s rabbit demonstrates many actions that can only come from sentience. Further the rabbit and a number of other animals are shown with eyebrows.
On both Earth and Equestria, sentients have facial muscles who’s only purpose is convey emotion. Eyebrows are prefect examples of that. Many Equestrian creatures are able to express all the emotions of a human; they just have no speech or telekinesis. Without a language or ability to manipulate the environment, they are treated as animals by the ponies (and likely preyed upon by gryphons).
I've read somewhere an assumption that earth ponies pick things up because their hooves are soft and malleable, except there's still a problem that extremely short range TK doesn't have, and that is that a hoof is actually a fingernail.
Ponies have a total of four fingers, one on each limb. You try picking up a coffee cup with just one finger!
Hoof magnets are the way to go. And while I personally enjoy the depictions of pegasi as having 20' wingspans, I guess the TK-as-flight is easier to explain too. Except for this: what is the fulcrum?
In this earth, in order to apply force, there must be a lever, and a fulcrum. When you pry something open the fulcrum is the point of pressure, IE your hand. But if you try to lift something that's attached to the source of pressure, IE lift yourself by your own bootstraps, you find that you're pushing somewhere else (the other boot) or you're not really pushing.
So the only way TK-flight is feasible, is one of two paths, I believe: either the source of TK pressure is outside this world, thus they can lift their physical bodies by pulling on the astral plane,
Or else they're pushing down ... "levitating" the ground away from them. But this would mean everypony immediately beneath them would feel the pressure of their weight, depending on how widely a pegasus could disperse themselves.
I'm not so sure about the fulcrum. Telekinesis is moving things by force of will. In this, case the Pegasus is affecting his whole body at once, so he is effectively weightless. He's not pushing against anything,as his TK has NO range.
Ponies are not psychic in any way, their TK is magical in nature. And the pegasus use of magic is rather profound. Take the cloud shaping ability. No TK is involved, this is pure magic. We have seen episode where Pianos were being installed in a cloud home. Pure Magic. Further, clouds under pony magic resist wind, and stay in one place.
As long as magic is involved things like logic and fulcrums are moot.
Besides, this is just my best guess.
Does that make sense?