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Questions tagged [merfolk]

For questions about aquatic creatures traditionally resembling humans but with a fish tail instead of legs, or any sort of water-dwelling humanoid.

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60
votes
14answers
12k views

How would merfolk society dispose of their dead? And would disposing of the bodies in the ocean have any negative effect on marine life?

I have a tribal merfolk society, living on and near a volcanic island, that is also inhabited by humans. The problem that I can't seem to figure out is: how would they dispose of their dead? Wouldn'...
60
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14answers
7k views

What would a medieval war against an aquatic race look like?

The setting; there’s a large population of merfolk living in the ocean, and a developing seafaring human nation on the neighbouring coastline. These merfolk are entirely aquatic. They have gills and ...
56
votes
21answers
12k views

Why would merfolk have hair?

A classic image of mermaids are their long flowing hair that swishes in the water. But in the scientifically realistic sense this makes none. The hair would be nothing more than a nuisance to the ...
53
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17answers
9k views

What would an out-of-water submarine (for water-breathing mer-people) look like?

My mermen & women (fish from waist down and human from waist up, but breathe only in water) are at WWII era warfare and interested in their version of 'underwater,' meaning they want out-of-sea ...
50
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9answers
6k views

What would the fortifications of an underwater city look like?

Merpeople, along with other similar underwater humanoids, are often depicted as living in great cities beneath the waves. These cities have many positive things going for them: plenty of real-estate, ...
35
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10answers
7k views

Is it more likely that merfolk would evolve with horizontal or vertical tails?

Another mermaid questions I'm afraid! Fish have tail fins which are vertical, whales have fins which are horizontal. My race of merfolk are: Very active (more likely to be warm blooded) Have gills ...
34
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15answers
6k views

What could an aquatic civilization use to write on/with?

As the topic asks, what could an aquatic civilization use to write on/with? By aquatic, I mean they live in the oceans, breathe water, etc. -- like mermaids and such. And they are trying to create a ...
28
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16answers
5k views

Cooking underwater

How would an omnivorous civilization of merpeople prepare food? Their diet would be like humans', but naturally seafood-centered. They would have typical medieval technology. How would they "fry" or "...
27
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5answers
2k views

What adaptations would be made to a town to make it more merfolk friendly?

In my world I have a town seaside where merfolk and humans work side by side. I'm very keen to see actual interaction, not just humans on the land and fish in the sea. I want the merfolk to feel at ...
26
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7answers
6k views

How to Breathe Both on Land and Under the SEA

The popular image of a mermaid is a half-fish, half-human creature breathing fine above and below the surface. The only real-life analogy to this are the amphibians - frogs, toads and salamanders. ...
24
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13answers
4k views

Fantasy Macro Economics: What would Merfolk trade for?

In the world I'm making, humans trade with a variety of species, one of which is a society of merpeople. Humans typically acquire goods and services in the form of fish, pearls, under sea flora for ...
23
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16answers
5k views

Weapons for Mer-people

Thanks to this question on undersea fortifications, I have begun to wonder about the kinds of weapons mer-people would use when fighting one another. Normally, mermen are assumed to use tridents, but ...
19
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10answers
5k views

What kind of weapons would still be effective under water? [duplicate]

I have a mer civilization that does have magic, with a technological advancement to about flintlock musket level, so nothing overly complicated. I need the soldiers to have effective weaponry, ...
18
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3answers
5k views

How do mermaids perform major surgical procedure underwater?

Suppose the mermaids share similar intelligent and technology with us, they also practise performing surgical operation like we do in hospital. Negate the issue of negligent during the operation the ...
18
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4answers
2k views

Would merfolk's spaceship need artificial gravity?

Imagine a spaceship constructed for merfolk and it is completely filled with oxygenated water instead of air. Since they can swim around effortlessly in the water, do they even need artificial ...
17
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5answers
6k views

Where Would a Mermaid's Blowhole Go?

Whenever people discuss mammalian-type merfolk, I usually see them be modeled after cetaceans like dolphins and whales. This is perfectly serviceable, but there is one piece of anatomy that I cannot ...
16
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7answers
20k views

Do mermaids lay eggs underwater or give birth to live young?

Let's pretend these magnificent and beautiful creatures are able to reproduce asexually so we can forget about their mating habits or their partners. I have yet to witness any hard shell eggs laid ...
15
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19answers
3k views

Why might it be desirable to engineer aquatic humans?

Consider a space opera sort of universe in which there exist communities of water-dwelling humanoids. These ocean people are derived from rootstock humans, descendants of genetically engineered human-...
14
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4answers
1k views

Towers in the ocean; How deep can they be built?

Many questions on this site mention how difficult it is for merfolk to develop technologically, as there's almost nothing but rocks and kelp to work with. My solution to this is that they use these ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

What are some major architectural designs in spaceships for aquatic beings

Like this question I'm wondering about design considerations for an intelligent aquatic species that wants to travel into space. Would they have to try and create special body suits to keep moisture ...
14
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2answers
679 views

What would out-of-water warfare look like for underwater people?

In my short story, there are underwater people who are now up to WWII technology-ish (major differences, but that level and population of society). These mermen can hold their breath for as long as ...
13
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8answers
3k views

Anatomically reasonable respiratory system for human-derived merfolk

This question considers the respiratory apparatus of an aquatic (or amphibious) species descended from engineered humans. The history of the species provides a relevant constraint. While the science ...
13
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6answers
2k views

Mermaid architecture

In most representations of mermaid cities, they either live in implausible magical palaces, or in some more or less elaborate cave systems. Assuming the only difference with our world is the presence ...
13
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3answers
599 views

Trade between humans and underwater fish people

In my high fantasy medieval world, the ocean is populated by underwater fish people and land dominated by your good old human. Different type of fish people (shark, whale, turtle, shellfish, etc.) ...
12
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9answers
4k views

Would evolution select for mermaids without breasts?

So ignoring all the other hydrodynamic inefficiencies associated with sticking a human torso on a fish body, let's just worry about those most distinct of human female features, breasts. The problem ...
12
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4answers
1k views

How do merfolk develop agriculture

Let's say that a race of aquatic merfolk have managed to achieve sapience, they are basic hunter gatherers, living in relatively shallow waters of up to 100 meters deep. As I have begun designing ...
12
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11answers
406 views

How might a highly intelligent aquatic species (mermaids) communicate underwater?

I'm trying to create basically realistic mermaids, and working on developing body language and vocalizations. I have most of the vocalizations I can think of (suggestions are still appreciated), but ...
12
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4answers
468 views

Would an average seawater mermaid be any larger than its freshwater counterparts?

Let's use the sea turtle and the terrapin as an example, need I say more? I used terrapin because like the mermaid which is half fish and half girl so a terrapin would serve as an excellent example. ...
12
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2answers
915 views

Mermaid Buoyancy: Oily Livers, Swim Bladders and Lungs

There was a good question and answer here: Does mermaid evolution come with buoyancy control? But I would like to expand the question. I got off talking with a friend, it got me thinking about ...
11
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4answers
405 views

How might my sea dwelling civilization defend against land-dwellers?

I've searched through a lot of merpeople related questions on this site and didn't see anything that related particularly to me as most questions have to do with underwater combat or dwellings on the ...
11
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3answers
1k views

Underwater Sneak Attack

I have a society of merpeople that have developed sonar in order to hunt, gather resources, and in some instances communicate. They use organically created weaponry (sharpened coral, animal incisor ...
11
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4answers
1k views

Mermaid Land (and Sea?) Combat

I might have a bit too much saltwater in my brain. I'd like to discuss (can you do that in this format?) the ideas of combative mermaids on land. If you say my other questions, you say my bring up ...
10
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6answers
2k views

How would a merfolks spaceship take off?

If on a water covered planet, an aquatic species such as the merfolk evolved sapience and now wishes to go into space, how would their spaceship take into account the lack of land? How would a space ...
10
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5answers
2k views

What would merfolk economies look like?

This is a world with underwater merfolks and other humanoids. They have opposable thumbs, so they can use tools humans can use. Lets assume there's different subspecies and races of these merfolks, so ...
10
votes
4answers
458 views

What would a vegetarian mermaid eat?

For some reason, my mermaids have gone vegetarian - ethics, the decline in fish species, or they’re just no longer in the mood for meat. The main issue: will they survive? They live in coastal ...
10
votes
4answers
301 views

Membrane impermeable to $N_2$ but permeable to $CO_2$ and $O_2$?

I'm looking for a way to bypass the bidirectional diffusive gas exchange that happens in human alveoli, to allow aquanauts to breathe a standard Nitrogen-Oxygen air mix at very high pressures (up to ...
10
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3answers
3k views

How could mermaids talk with gills?

Recently I was pondering mermaids and was wondering how their respiratory systems work. Most importantly, how could their vocal chords continue to function? Secondly, how would they draw the water ...
9
votes
4answers
787 views

How to set phaser to kill the mermaids?

Suppose that humans blame the occurrence of mega-tsunamis and flash floods that taking nearly a million lives annually on the terrifying mermaids living in the Mariana Trench. The Secretary-General of ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Floor Material: What would mer-society like to use for comfortable floors?

The mer-folk are typical top-half human, bottom-half fish. They can breath with either lungs or gills. Their homes are mostly below water, but some do also extend above. This allows them to do ...
9
votes
4answers
377 views

Urban Aquatic Sanitation

In a fantasy world (a D&D setting, basically), how would an open underwater town populated by an assortment of mer-people deal with waste disposal? A few details: the town in question is a part of ...
9
votes
3answers
610 views

How would merfolk store and preserve their food?

I've been reading this question about agriculture for merfolk and more specifically the accepted answer. They mention the problem of food preservation only minutely. Now I'd like to pour that thought ...
8
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5answers
921 views

Would all the Merfolk die out in a short time?

I have Merfolk with tails that are just 2 legs they hold together in the water. What I want to know is that by giving them legs(and making them able to walk on land) did I make them more susceptible ...
8
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4answers
4k views

How to explain a mermaid's tail morphing into legs and vice versa?

I know a tadpole can do this transformation, given enough time, so what about mermaids?
8
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3answers
618 views

How should I create my Merfolks to make them landbased?

I want a mermaid protagonist. If I am to make this story realistic, how should the Merfolk's body structures be made to make them adaptable for both water (swimming) and land (walking, running)? Is ...
8
votes
6answers
288 views

How can merfolks stream video in a way much similar to our WiFi but underwater?

Right now merfolks are totally envious of us watching a live stream video of cat(fight) via WiFi or satellite internet, ok ok I get it's not the speed but its latency... Urrrr. Nevermind that I ...
8
votes
3answers
513 views

How could water breathing animals have a warm-blooded level of metabolism?

In the popular merfolk topic, I always use the model of marine mammals, not water-breathing fish-like animals. They breathe air, that turbo-charged 20% oxygen fluid that enables the scale of ...
8
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2answers
972 views

The Mer--Let's Get Real, Shall We?

The traditional description of the mermaid is half-girl and half-fish. That, both biologically and dramatically, is just ridiculous. If the mermaid were half-fish, then why does she move her tail up ...
7
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6answers
307 views

How would an aquatic, air-breathing species organise its spaceship interior?

It's easy to imagine how would a water-breathing aquatic race outfit its spaceship - take a normal spaceship, insulate it, fill it with oxygenated water, possibly add some enhanced turbines to pump ...
7
votes
3answers
241 views

How might a deepwater mermaid react to sunlight and heat?

One of my mermaids is on land in the daytime, and I'm just wondering what the sudden existence of sunlight and Florida heat might feel like for her, since she's from the mesopelagic zone and is ...
7
votes
3answers
237 views

Are pharyngeal and cutaneous breathing possible for an aquatic mammal?

I'm working on a setting with merfolk that I'd prefer to be fully mammalian. However, they have underwater cities and I find that hard to believe for a species that needs to surface every few hours ...