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The Mermaid Problem by XNinjaRed The Mermaid Problem by XNinjaRed
Of course, they're fantasy creatures, so you're not supposed to look at it logically, but just try and you'll see the anatomical problems just by thinking about it!

Ami is a character by :iconapinkishblue: .
Mermaid Ami concept and Cho character by :iconxninjared: aka Me.

Request more mystical creatures for me to criticize if you know some.
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simnyyy Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2015
for me mermaids scaly humanoids with tails fish eyes human teeth and hair
Nutcase9 Featured By Owner May 16, 2015  Student General Artist
pseudonarne Featured By Owner Edited Nov 23, 2014
i just figure the lower half is dolphin which solves most of the problems

I mean sure they're normally depicted as fish but have you seen the way people used to draw dolphins?! (from traveler's tales…   by 5th hand description…

or if you were lucky…
Violetvee Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Student General Artist
Didn't a Season 2 episode of Futurama address the reproduction issue? It was really funny, and the episode in question is "The Deep South." Apparently merpeople reproduce like fish.
unicornomics Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014   General Artist
Answer to #3,breasts are heavy and flop around a lot. So the same reason as humans. Also cultural/ceremonial/fashion reasons...again,just like why human women do.

Answer to 2#, The dead clams aren't using their shells,are they? Some cultures will eat their deceased so they'll always have a little bit of Uncle Donny inside them (only the Uncle Donny part is a joke,the rest is true).Sometimes they'll do it to humiliate the enemy but sometimes it's considered an honor so the person lives on in a sense.

Another perspective,we have the concept of inheritance/alternatives to burials on land,right? Maybe the clams are donating their non-longer occupied bodies to their friends? Humans have all sorts of varying cultures and traditions,why wouldn't merfolk? 
universalqueen Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2014
maybe they do external copulations
QueenMarine Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
I always assumed that mermaids and mermen have genitals, but they're hidden under the fin and they just bring them out when needed
Trekkie-Aspie Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014
Maybe their genitals are retractable?  Like a cat can velvet their claws?
KingGianny123 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Ah one more think,merpeople have no human face but beautiful face alien like and they are naked they don't wear bra!

KingGianny123 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
That's true believe me.

KingGianny123 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Mermaids and mermen are mammals,they are evolved from humans, they have the tail of sea mammals.See the body found of animal planet.
QueenMarine Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
That was a hoax; there's even a disclaimer at the end of the documentary 
lovelyprincess1234 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist Filmographer
Scarecrow113 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Fish sex is insertion free! Females lay eggs and males crop dust them with sperm. I suppose that's how mermaids reproduce.
Kermitthefrog223456 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
Ami: Why did I turn into a mermaid anyway?
Cho: Fanservice?
DolphinSilverwolf Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013
1) it's possible they could lay eggs after mammalian copulation (look at the platypus). I'm still leaning more towards live birth, though. Dolphins have been doing it for longer than humans have been a species.

2) Clam shells persist after clams die.

3) If they're intelligent enough to use tools, the females might have bras in order to prevent massive sagging...and retain a slimmer profile to swim better. (Again, if they have breasts, that's leaning towards a mammalian base.)

4) Uh...they wouldn't.

5) I'm guessing trial and error, myself.

6) Evolution is a combination of two factors...random mutation and selection pressure. (bear with me on this.) Random mutation arises in every population. Not all of these mutations work. Those that do, however, have a better chance to succeed. That said...if merfolk are mammalian, it'd be beneficial against trauma to the chest.

7) They make sense because over time they would have adapted their population to the oceanic environment (not by choice unless they have some seriously advanced bioengineering techniques, but by the fact that traits that work tend to survive in the population). The fish tail, though, would likely be fishy on the outside.

8) I'm leaning towards mammal, based on the arrangement of body parts and the fact that mostly their tails are aligned horizontally...that's a mammalian trait. Also, there are certain birth defects where the babies develop a "tail" rather than legs. However, these defects also occur with other defects which are severely deforming and incompatible with life. If merfolk evolved, the genetic expression would preclude the non-viable traits. (Look up "sirenomelia.")

9) Not sure about the fish thing, but if the are...I'd say convergent evolution. Breasts aren't made to create milk, but rather to attract mates.

10) Certain dermatological conditions occur in humans to produce scaly skin. Mostly these are associated with disease symptoms, but again, they might have a different genetic expression.

11) There are a few locations...behind the ears would be an embryological solution, but the more likely location would probably be at the base of the lungs...the lung exchange surfaces drain both upward for gas and downward for fluid, so "drowning" still passes a fluid over the exchange surface.

12) If they did breathe like dolphins, they probably engineered their cities to have air pockets which refresh themselves via mechanical ventilation or engineered plant life (turn over the CO2 for O2).

13) Pelvic region. Again, look at dolphins.
TwistedArtisan Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I once dreamt of a merman having sex with a human woman, and she was absolutely horrified at his dolphin-like penis XD
DolphinSilverwolf Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
And the fact that he was a MERMAN didn't faze her in the least?
TwistedArtisan Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013  Student Digital Artist
It was a month after they met!
Shinukahn Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012
Funny, and quite true!
TheSsssFactor Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Hmm... my humble opinions...

1. They are often portrayed with bellybuttons, a sure sign of live birthing. Many sharks and certain fish like mollies give live birth.

2. We humans eat pigs and keep dogs as pets. Perhaps merfolk are species-biased too...

3. Cultural dress. We humans also wear ornamentation that is purely for cosmetic value, like piercings. I'd imagine shell bras would serve a similar purpose among merfolk.

4. Most definitely not.

5. Mix 'n match.

6. Rendered null by answer in 4.

7. I can't answer this. They don't make sense at all xD

8. Mammals or fish? Both.

9. Discus fish secrete a milky substance from their flanks for their young to feed on. The glands that facilitate this "milk" could over time be concentrated around the chest area into the likeness of mammalian mammary glands.

10. Pangolins have scales, and they're mammals.

10. Their "hair" is really very long, very fine gill filaments. (Pinched this concept from Tony DiTerlizzi)

11. Rendered null by answer in 10.

12. This is a most interesting concept for me, one that I've pondered for years. I would imagine that merfolk have a cloaca, like fish do - a single opening for waste and reproduction. The cloaca, keeping in with fish anatomy, would be located on the underside of the body - on the "front" of the mer-person's fish half. In mermaids, the cloaca would lead to the uterine organ and ovaries. Mermen would not possess a penis - during copulation, a merman would simply press his cloaca to the female's and release sperm into it. This form of internal fertilization is used by live-bearing fish like mollies. OR, mermen would have a pair of claspers, the way male sharks do.

Hope this makes sense! :D
TheSsssFactor Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
Correction: About the internal fertilization, it appears that male mollies have a heavily modified anal fin which serves as a sperm channel during mating. Potentially, this could make for a further distinguishing feature between mermen and mermaids - the presence of said modified fin on the hunks.
DolphinSilverwolf Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013
Or they would possess a penis...much like dolphins. Notice the tails are usually represented parallel to a coronal plane (horizontal when swimming level).
TheSsssFactor Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013
Definitely plausible. Makes more sense, then, too, because then they'd be full mammal. :)
TheNerdytimes Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012
Ummm.... They're mermaids, right? Mythological beings, right? Think dragons. Do they make sense? No? Then don't complain about mermaids.
Demialc-neeb-sah-em Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
Yes, but dragons make relatively more sense in comparison.

Also, nitpicking is fun.
DolphinSilverwolf Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013
Dragons make sense. Ever read Dragonriders of Pern?
Nettleheart Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It usually depends on how dragons are depicted in the work, and how much science is put into it. I'd have to say they make the most sense in the Dragonology books.
DolphinSilverwolf Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013
Well I beg to differ. In the Pern books they are actual creatures...they are in fact genetically bred off of indigenous species on a colony world. Almost everything about them is described. McCaffrey wanted to write a Sci-Fi story. The science is in there, it works...I even roughed out a working process for converting P2H4 to PH3 (phosphine) in the "fire stomach."

BUT...that is SF. As far as fantasy goes, my scope is limited, and I have seen novelists run the gamut from feasible to "WTF?!".

I'm a big fan of Carl Sagan's ideas on exobiology, where the idea is to figure out "how does it work," rather than simply "does it work at all."
kneestocking96 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2012
Re-faving cause I moved accounts ages ago and I found this again
RelativeEquinox Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Hello from TVTropes :D
gallantmon8 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012
Allow me to answer these questions:
1. They go into human form to give live birth, if possible
2. They don't normally wear shells
3. They don't.
4. Nope.avi
5. AGain, they don't.
6. Question is irrelevant, since they are not born with them.
7. Pretty tough trying to bring evolution into this.....Evolution can be a troll at times, remember.
8. Mammals
9. Remember, they are female, so it makes sense for the human half to have breasts
10. They don't normally have scales.
11. They don't have gills........And yet they are able to breathe both underwater and on the surface....I call magic.
12. There isn't always an underwater empire xP
13. The tail can recede to reveal their ass and vag
Nolastname Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
Alternate answer regarding gills and sleeping underwater. Ever see Waterworld? Mermaids just spend more time underwater than the main character there does.
gallantmon8 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
Kermitthefrog223456 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012
fragglepony Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012   General Artist
The logic of mermaids is now on my list of things not to think about too long.
waldosan Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012
i always figured that the fish part started a little lower than is normally depicted...
AnEnemySpy Featured By Owner May 14, 2012
Clams aren't fish. Why would being friends with fish have anything to do with clam bras?
ATWH Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Personally, I believe that merfolk genitals are concealed by a layer of retractable scales but that's just me and my weirdness
LOLfairycat23 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My best guess is they have fishy gonads!
AndytheB-Artist Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012  Hobbyist
I'm sure they have reproductive organs, they're just incompatible with ours. [link]
hanzo66 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012
I think that the answer is probably something that once you learn you probably wish you never knew.
GeraldPhoebe4EVA Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2011
Phoebe: Their navals are their reproductive organs. LOL

Gerald: Have you been reading "Boobs Ahoy" again?

Phoebe: No....Yes...Maybe?
RoboKitty Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
In order...
*It's up to the writers
*The same reason humans wear fur
*Depends on the writer
*They've been around for a while, so they probably have their own units
*It doesn't; it's a censorship thing
*...I got nothing
*Bitch, it's magic. They aint gotta explain SHIT!
*Mammals, on account of their mammaries
*Again, magic creatures don't particularly care
*Why do platypi have bills?
*They don't have gills; they have water lungs
*There are a thousand ways an architect could figure that out (but I'm not an architect)
*Well that's the million dollar question, isn't it?

Also, dhampyrs. How the fuck can you be half human, half UNDEAD CORPSE?!?!
SCARYWIZARD Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Another good question would be how they dispose of waste matter. I guess they have cloacae or something like that?
RaishaGS Featured By Owner May 21, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I guess it boils down to the type of mermaid you have encountered. I for one have seen particularly scary ones. Dont ask me how they fit in the criteria though. XD
Orbotron Featured By Owner May 9, 2011
Here, I wrote a paper on this.
It doesn't cover all of it, but it covers about half of it.
If you have any more question, please, PLEASE! Ask me. I love Mermaids.

Tasogares-Target Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011
I see your paper and I raise you mine =P
Orbotron Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012
I reject your paper. It tramples all over Mermaid folklore. Mermaids are mammalian with chordate qualities.
Dvandemon Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I they reproduce like fish then it goes like this:
Guy:So, are you ready?
Mermaid:Sure! (releases a cloud of eggs)*SPLURT!*
Mermaid:They're eggs silly. Fertilize them. Then GET THE HELL OUT!!.
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