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I have a species of creatures that live in packs off the coast of my fictional world's one super continent. Humans have lived there for millions of years. At one point these humans had achieved the level of technological domination that we have over Earth. They mercilessly exploited resources and mixed species that should never have even met on a regular basis.

They generally screwed many ecosystems up. At some point the planet was unable to support them any longer. With no more resources left to exploit, human society collapsed. Rather than banding together to exploit the stars, humanity fought itself, with powerful individuals scrambling to ensure their place when the chaos ended. Over time, with no oil, or coal left, electricity became a rare commodity reserved for the powerful. The population plummeted from 10 to 1 1/2 billion. Because of these events technological progress stagnated. Literacy dropped. The world was stuck at mostly pre-industrial levels of technology.

Over millions of years species began to evolve to take advantage of the weaknesses the humans presented. Evolution caught up with humanity. Predators hunted humans for prey in many regions.

I want a creature in the oceans to evolve to eat voyaging humans. What characteristics and features does this creature need to survive and thrive? It will be very large, but not as large as a Spanish galleon. It will be a lone-hunter. I guess it would also have to be able to go for an extended time without food. It cannot go on land. Humans have to be its primary food source.

If this is too unrealistic, please tell me and tell me how I can improve my world. I have also tagged in this event.

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  • $\begingroup$ Would humans have to be numerous in the ocean for them to be the primary food source of an ocean-bound predator? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 3 '15 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I was thinking that the animal would be delling near the coasts and attack ships, poking a hole in them to cause their sinking, somehow getting the humans out after they have all drowned, or going after the manageable life boats. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Dec 3 '15 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I also wasn't suggesting that the species in question was numbering anywhere near that of the human population. I was thinking that at any point there might be 1-10 thousand, depending on conditions. $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Dec 3 '15 at 17:45
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If it had to eat only humans it would rapidly go extinct. Either humans would hunt into the brink of extinction or it would hunt coastal humans to the brink of extinction.

If it hunts only humans it would have to be able to travel up fresh water rivers and lakes and be able to travel on land at least short distances.

If it can not go on land or up fresh water rivers it needs other optional food sources. Why would a carnivore not eat other smaller prey animals when it came across them? (Unless there are no others left)

Other adaptations? Intelligence always helps. The strength to break open sailing vessels. Strong limbs or a sharp beak/claw. Otherwise humans just retreat into the ship to save themselves.

Either that or it needs to be small enough to get on the ship and into any place humans hide within it.

A poison attack? Poisoned quills that it can shoot would be ideal. Or perhaps a large blob of a mucusy ink that would release noxious vapors or incapacitate people it touched.

Tool use? If it is smart enough to use tools it can adapt to human defenses.

In many ways a more aggressive squid or giant squid would be the ideal base for this creature since it has many of the basics. Especially if it gained a higher intelligence and a fondness for the delicacy of human flesh.

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Well I have a few issues and possible ways to fix them.

After millions of years humans will not likely be recognized as such. That is a long time for evolution.

So instead of evolution creating monsters that like 'long-pork' let them be genetic mutants from humanities genetic experiments, some of the more 'successful' ones.

I think it would be difficult to make humans the 'primary' food source for your monster, because people would quit sailing and/or the monsters would starve to death. So you can make people their preferred meal over any other, but they need to eat some "fava beans and a nice chianti" between the courses of human liver.

But any kind adaptation could work. Maybe there are 'mermaid' growths on it's back that mimic humans, maybe it has long appendages to grip it's prey. Or a reinforced skull to smash into things?

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    $\begingroup$ Have to agree with the comments regarding timeline - it's just too unlikely that any kind of human society could exist relatively unchanged for the millions of years required for creatures to naturally evolve into the kind of predators you're describing. You need some kind of accelerating factor, like the genetic experiments described - or perhaps there is some kind of environmental pollution that causes accelerated evolution, or perhaps this planet has a much higher level of background radiation (causing mutation and therefore evolution) that humans are somehow immune to. $\endgroup$ – Nathan Griffiths Dec 3 '15 at 19:50

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