River Song is quoted by The Doctor as "Half Time Lord". She is also called daughter of the TARDIS despite the fact that she was actually born from human parents. Probably, it's a Wibbly-Wobbly stuff because the parents mated inside the TARDIS.

River Song can regenerate which shows a property of a Time Lord, but how many hearts does she have? One (number of human hearts) or two (number of Time Lord hearts) or average of both i.e. 1.5 (AFAIK, hearts can only exist in integers but it's Timey-Wimey stuff, so maybe it has partial quantum superposition or something similar)?

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    @user14111 Number of hearts (not Spleen) is active topic in Doctor Who... The Doctor has survived many times because of two hearts, The Doctor checked his daughter, a fake Doctor for number of hearts to see whether she/he is Time Lord or not. When The Doctor rewrote his entire biology to became human, the number of hearts involved again. There are many more examples.
    – user931
    Oct 19, 2014 at 3:47

2 Answers 2


To the best of my knowledge no on-screen statement has been made conclusively either way, and Doctor Who 'canon' only exists inasmuch as sometimes it doesn't actively contradict itself. But we can extrapolate that the most likely scenario is:

River Song should have one heart.

She's a human, not a Gallifreyan, and that makes all the difference. Being a Time Lord shouldn't have any impact on gross biology like the quantity of one's organs, because "Time Lord" is not a race, nor a species. It just means you've been subjected to a suite of (poorly-defined) biotechnological enhancements invented by Gallifreyans--and almost always only used on Gallifreyans, so Time Lords have two hearts because Time Lords are almost exclusively Gallifreyan, not because being a Time Lord does that to you. (See the Doctor's daughter, who seems to probably be a Gallifreyan and not a Time Lord but had two hearts anyway.)

River Song is a human, born of human parents, who has "Time Lord DNA" upgrades/enhancement/modifications from TARDIS/Time Vortex technobabble [waves hand vigorously]. She's displayed Time Lord features like regeneration because of this (but there are many indications she didn't get the full suite of enhancements). There's no reason, however, that she should have two hearts: that seems to be a quirk of Gallifreyan anatomy and River Song is not Gallifreyan.

The idea of human Time Lords, by the way, is not new.

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    Also worth noting that she was never even described as being "half" Time Lord. She was only said to be "human plus Time Lord," and if the other contextual clues were any indication (she was said to have been exposed to the Time Vortex when Amy and Rory conceived her on an in-flight TARDIS, which was compared to the Time Lords becoming what they were through exposure to the Untempered Schism), there wasn't much Time Lord in her anyway, since the Silence still had to genetically modify her for months in order to bring out her abilities, and Vastra described the Vortex conception as "a start."
    – Amy
    Oct 19, 2014 at 6:02
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    [waves hand vigorously] haha Oct 19, 2014 at 16:22
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    "[waves hand vigorously]" you just described Moffat.
    – Tim S.
    Oct 19, 2014 at 20:48
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    Didn't the Meta-Crisis Doctor claimed he couldn't regenerate because he only had one heart? With that logic, River Song should have two, since she can regenerate. Oh, look at me...trying to apply logic to Doctor Who xD
    – tilley31
    Aug 24, 2015 at 17:15

She has two and one. It's all a bit wibbly. Bear with me.

In her first incarnation, baby Melody appears to have one heart. At the start of A Good Man Goes to War she is described as being completely human;

VASTRA: As you were today, old friend. Point taken, I hope. Now, I have a question. A simple one. Is Melody human?

DOCTOR: Sorry, what? Of course she is. Completely human. What are you talking about?

DORIUM: They've been scanning her since she was born, and I think they found what they were looking for.


This is consistent with the fact that Galifreyans are born with one heart (as we see in the Prose novel "The Man in the Velvet Mask") and only develop the twinned heart after their first full regeneration:

The Doctor knew. His heart screamed inside his ribs, pounding furiously until it seemed it was going to burst. His hand formed a claw, squeezing at his chest, almost prepared to tear it open to ease the pain. He shrieked. The pain stopped, his heart with it. He fell. He struck the floor... One heart, he thought blissfully. One heart, soon to meet its twin.

In "Let's Kill Hitler", we briefly see a medical scan of the newly-regerated River Song in the hospital of the Sisters of the Infinite Schism. Although it's a 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' moment, she does indeed appear to have two hearts...

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    You might want to mention that the novel seems to be contradicted by screen evidence in The Doctor's Daughter.
    – BESW
    Oct 19, 2014 at 7:08
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    @BESW - She wasn't a child though. She was a clone of the Doctor (post-regeneration).
    – Valorum
    Oct 19, 2014 at 7:11
  • That's really wibbly: it implies that being a Time Lord isn't something you can clone (Jenny apparently can't regenerate), but the effects of having been a Time Lord can be cloned? I mean, it's Doctor Who so I don't expect scientific rigour, but that's too big a leap for me to take without a plot-based justification. (And if we're going the prose route, then we start talking about looms, which means the Doctor was a clone of regenerated Time Lords before his first regeneration too, so why didn't he have two hearts for the same reason...)
    – BESW
    Oct 19, 2014 at 7:24
  • @BESW - Oh, I'd happily include stuff about looms if I didn't think it would whizz over the heads of 99.999% of the site's users and upset the remainder.
    – Valorum
    Oct 19, 2014 at 7:29
  • She wasn't the clone of The Doctor. As I have recalled, that machine randomly created haploid cells using Doctor's DNA and fused it to create Jenny.
    – user931
    Oct 19, 2014 at 7:49

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