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 Post subject: Mermaids are mammals?
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 2:07 pm 
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Needs a Guide

Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 11:35 pm
Posts: 83
Huh, never thought about it before, but they definitely have external structures that look like mammaries. Except that, thanks to the well-documented phenomenon of "mermaid hair", it remains unknown whether they have the nipples that would imply the internal structures to match. Of course, they have "hair", but there are non-mammalian creatures that have structures which look like hair but are not.

Do mermaids give birth to live young? Certainly mermaids transformed into humans can, as several variants of the selkie-story attest, but that does not prove them mammals any more than the gills of a transformed wizard prove him a fish.

They're tetrapods, that much is sure, so "fish-girls" is a misnomer. But I'd place them as "tentatively mammals" at best. There simply isn't enough data for a clear decision.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 4:03 pm 
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Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
I'd count them as a supernatural relative of whales, I think.

[edit: at least for this setting. I'll put this in my thoughts on the monster manual thread when I get to mermaids.]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 8:04 pm 
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Missing Some Marbles

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 6:21 pm
Posts: 210
I'd always thought of them as being a branch of the hominid clade, and therefore mammals, although if that was the case I'd probably just declare mammals to be paraphyletic and invent some kind of new group for mermaids. The acquisition of icthyoid characteristics by a mammal just seems much likelier to me than the acquisition of mammalian characteristics by a fish.

And I feel like linking to this discussion of the Starbucks logo, just because.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:19 pm 
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Lunatic

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 3:28 pm
Posts: 265
There are three varieties of sharks that have warm blood. Not to mention that dolphins are mammals. It's not too unlikely for merfolk to be mammals. It's what I'd assume them to be.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:55 pm 
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Sane. VERY Sane.

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:32 pm
Posts: 598
Wyvern wrote:
I'd count them as a supernatural relative of whales, I think.


Not of dolphins?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:56 pm 
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Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
For porpoises of this discussion, cetaceans are cetaceans, whether they be whales, dolphins, or giant space-going leviathans. (Note: no relation to metroid prime 3 leviathans. Really. We swear.)

However, merfolk in this setting at least claim to be descended from regular humanoids who made a deal with some ancient (and probably long dead) sea god.

Except for the ones who claim that land-bound humanoids are clearly descended from merfolk...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:43 pm 
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Mostly Sane

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:11 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Rochester
I'm new so I will keep my comments light at first.

There are several descriptions of mermaids as having mammaries. Now whether this is based on descriptions put forward by sailors who had been at sea to long or honest accounts, drawings and tales suggest the do. Also remeber that the scientific explanation for mermaids is the Manatee, which in fact is a mammal.Well I understand that the mermaid hair paradox....I love that by the way....dsiguises, I would have to agree and say that mermaids are mammals.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:19 am 
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Missing Some Marbles

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:08 pm
Posts: 215
if you're going by myth, Mermaids are transformed humans which would make them mammals


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:01 pm 
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Missing Some Marbles

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 6:21 pm
Posts: 210
I'm going to have to do a phlyogenetic analysis, aren't I? I'm not sure which characters to pick...


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