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A submission for the Anatomically Correct Series.

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The Vodník (or Vodyanoy) are very interesting water spirits from Slavic mythology.They're described to have long green hair, and a face like a frog. Their body is inevitably covered in algae and mud, since living in a swamp doesn’t afford the most hygienic of lifestyles, and he’s typically covered in black fish scales. He has large webbed paws instead of hands, a fish’s tail, and eyes that are said to burn like scorching hot coals.

In Czech, Slovenian, and Slovak accounts however, they essentially just look like regular men, with the exception of the gills, webbed hands, and algae-colored skin. But for the sake of this question, we're going to use both descriptions.

Let's say that they evolved closer from humans due to the three alternate accounts, and also have amphibian attributes due to the frog head and webbed paws. How can we realistically get as close as possible to a depiction of a Vodník? I'm willing to flex and go with the artistic depiction if that helps.

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    $\begingroup$ The only thing that causes any real issues is the ‘eyes burning like coal’ aspect. This question might be of help there. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 19 '18 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ Its actually already a creature that's plausible, there many many examples of creatures that have gills, and many with legs and arms, all it takes it is time and environment, probably if this area of the swamp flooded regularly but also dried out a bit as well then the need for arms would expand for moving around through the marshes flora, and the fact they live in water would mean the gills are important, basically this is one of the more plausible creatures already, you'd just have to make sure they are not preyed upon too much but enough to make evolution force a change $\endgroup$ – Blade Wraith Jun 19 '18 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ @BladeWraith I understand that, yes. I'm asking how it could evolve from the human evolution line? $\endgroup$ – TGCF Jun 19 '18 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ it would probably have to have branched off long before the human line, more logically it would never have left the water as the human line did long ago, otherwise it would have been unlikely to give up water breathing and then reattained it, i think the slavic depiction is probably more likely for that reason. evolution has developed many weird and wonderful things so its plausible in that way, it would more depend on why it would have arms with webbed fingers instead of long flippers $\endgroup$ – Blade Wraith Jun 19 '18 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ Evolution from frogs covers it. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Jun 19 '18 at 14:14
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Humans already are the aquatic apes.

As we are, our primate cousins could legitimately tease us about being froglike. We hardly have body hair. We have flat faces. We can hold our breaths crazy long. We sweat wasteful rivers that would quickly dehydrate anything without ready access to drinking water. It is fun stuff to read about because it seems plausible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis

http://aquatic-human-ancestor.org/index.html

Your Vodyanoy just never left the water. Their fingers are more webbed than ours. They have even less body hair. They can hold their breaths longer. The algae covered skin is an adaptation to reduce sunburn in the context of minimal pigment. They are a Homo species, like sapiens or neanderthalensis. They might be close enough to still interbreed with humans.

The eyes that burn like scorching coals are tough. Maybe a fondness of marijuana?

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    $\begingroup$ Reflective eyes, like a cat, would be helpful for the burning part. Especially if seen in the torchlight. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jun 19 '18 at 15:10

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