Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Class: Mermaidia

All right, something doesn't add up here.

Given that mermaids have a fish tail, I would assume that they have fish-like reproductive organs. But if so, why the mammary glands? Are they merely decorative, or do they serve some functional purpose? (And if so, what?)

Why does one never hear of swarms of tens of thousands of tiny mer-people in the earliest stages of development? I suppose that given that they lack souls, and turn into sea-foam on death, we don't have to deal with questions of at what stage of development they are ensouled. Do mer-people themselves have any rules as to at what stage of development killing or eating mer-children becomes a serious crime?

Inquiring minds...

14 comments:

Rebekka said...

Yeah, but the top of the body is human - with a human mouth, dentition, and one presumes a human digestive tract. (At least part of the way through?) That sort of implies human eating (drinking) habits. Also in infancy, I guess, even though it may be a little tadpole-ish.

I'm more interested in the breathing thing. If they don't have gills, they must need to surface for air, yet this is rarely shown in, for example, Disney animations. Do the mermothers have to drag their offspring all the way up to the surface? If they are helpless enough to require breastfeeding, I suspect they are pretty labor-intensive offspring. One wonders if they need to surface more frequently in infancy?

Can't help you with the ensoulment though. I think we'd need to determine if merpeople have are people or animals first.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

The whole top half is like a lanternfish's light.

Tom Simon said...

Actually, most of the pictures of mermaids I’ve seen depict them with flukes, not fins. That would make them mammals from head to, er, toe. Problem solved!

TS said...

I'd say they have mammary glands for the same reason men have nipples. Or because male artists like painting the female breast.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Mermaids have mammary glands for the sole purpose of luring sailing ships onto the rocks. I thought everyone knew that.

Darwin said...

But what evolutionary advantage do they get from luring ships onto rocks?

Are they carnivorous?

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

And I meant to add that similar questions might be asked about the Martians in Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels. According to John Carter, Dejah Thoris is "similar in every detail to the earthly women of my past life" (except, of course for being naked), but she lays eggs. So do baby Martians need to be nursed or can they run about after hatching able to eat on their own?

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Carnivorous would be cool. Though I suspect that they are merely heartless and lure sailors to their deaths because they find it amusing.

Dorian Speed said...

Have you read the Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson series about the continuing adventures of Peter Pan? I think there are carnivorous mermaids in those books. Or, at least, menacing mermaids.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

The anime "little petshop of horrors" has a man-eating mermaid fish. (which takes on the appearance of a wife lost at sea, no less)

Baron Korf said...

It could be a vestigial thing from when they jump brom being mammals to being fish.

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

I don't know quite how to put this, but, uh, mermaids are mythical creatures. They aren't real. So it's not much use speculating as to their evolutionary origins, as they don't have any.

Darwin said...

It's hardened skeptics and mermaid-deniers like you who hold back progress on important issues. Next you're going to tell me that the Walk To Cure Zombies campaign is a waste of resources because there are no zombies...

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

Not a bit of it. If zombies were real, then a Walk To Cure Zombies would be a waste, as there is no cure for zombosis, and the only proper perambulation associated with zombies is not walking but running. As they do not exist, however, the walk sounds like a grand idea.