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Planet Ripple- 53- Gods of the sea...?

Remember that little girl who mentioned this at the beginning of the chapter? Yeah, here we are expanding on what she said, like I promised. It's kinda hard to imagine any of the religions of our time would survive 30,000 years without some changes, especially with the world ending somewhere in that time frame. And seeing as God promised never to flood the world a second time, I can only imagine what would happen to the Christian faith if the world turned out like it has in Minnow's era.

Anyway, looks like Noma has an idea. This, too, will be something those earlier pages alluded to. You'll see.

That's it for today.

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lordmep's avatar
She shall bring the gift of dolphins!
luvidicus's avatar
Given the fact that they do appear to have gills; yet breathe through the blowhole on top of their head...I'm not quite sure that the Mer-Folk are natural products of evolution.  Going back through history, we can tell that pretty much all land dwelling animals that returned to the sea still rely on their lungs for survival.  Even turtles; which are some of the oldest of the bunch still need to breathe air in order to survive.  Creatures don't just develop gills on their own..

So I get the feeling that the Mer-folk might actually be the product of genetic engineering by scientist in a last ditch effort to preserve the human race after the flood occurred.  If that was the case; it would explain them beginning to develop gills as well.  The code could have been implanted in their systems to slowly become more active as generation after generation bred.
NickOnPlanetRipple's avatar
Well... that really wasn't what I was going for in the story. The idea is that the dolphin merfolk are simply "late bloomers" and the other merfolk types, some of which have become so fish-like that they barely rely on their lungs any more, are ahead of the curve. The merfolk were around long before the flood started, living out of sight for most of our own evolution. They aren't "new."
luvidicus's avatar
Even if that were the case; it doesn't really make much sense from a biological point of view some sort of outside factor is involved.  Turtles have been around for millions upon millions of years; yet they don't have gills.  Neither did the marine reptiles that existed during the Mesozoic.  Creatures just don't seem to have the capacity to re-evolve something that is just so different from their current system without assistance. 

The only other thing I can think of when it comes to why the merfolk would have developed gills when they're so closely related to humans would be some sort of mutation caused by radiation.  If the world was suddenly flooded and humanity was still using nuclear power...the power plants themselves would likely have melted down long ago; flooding some areas of the ocean with radiation.  Depending on how long ago this happened however, the radiation could very well be gone given that water is actually a great way to dissipate radioactive particles.  That would give time for successive generations of mer-folk to inherit the mutation and actually make it functional by the same logic as I made in my previous post.
NickOnPlanetRipple's avatar
I guess, but that isn't the plot either.

Anyway, I guess this is pretty indefensible. The Merfolk just "magically" grew gills back, and I can't make any major changes without affecting the plot in a detrimental way.
luvidicus's avatar
Well as you've stated they aren't fully functional for the most part; and given all the nasty shit that humanity has put out into the water during the past it would come as no surprise that the merfolk would start evolving some seemingly impossible traits.  Depending on how long they've been around; with all the stuff that humanity has been dumping into the ocean for centuries it could potentially make sense if the merfolk developed gills long before the world had flooded; and they're just becoming more and more prominent as successive generations come into being.

Also; I don't know if you've considered this...but while the gills themselves might not be fully functional; it would make sense if they helped supplement the bloodstream with oxygen; helping the merfolk to hold their breath for even longer before having to resurface.  So air would be their main source of oxygen, with their gills providing enough oxygen to allow them to stay underwater for extended periods of time.  This would also solve the problem of humans having limited lung capacity.
NickOnPlanetRipple's avatar
luvidicus's avatar
How the gills evolved or them using said gills to supplement their air supply? Because you're completely free to use either of them if you so chose.  They're completely up for grabs.
NickOnPlanetRipple's avatar
The extra air supply part. Thanks for the help.
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Gusindor's avatar
Hmm, interesting. I wonder what the "no flood" movement thinks about the islands that are appearing?
NickOnPlanetRipple's avatar
They're probably against people going there.
Gusindor's avatar
That makes sense.
PracticallyGeeky's avatar
Not super knowledgable on marine biology of course, but if the merfolk here are akin to dolphins  in that they can't breath underwater, what do the gill-looking things on there sides do? Is it just for expelling water in there bodies, but not extracting any oxygen from it?

Kinda a lurker here (sorry, I never know what to comment usually, and you add the extra bit in the artist comment when I normally have a question ^^; ) but I'm liking this story so far. Awesome job!
NickOnPlanetRipple's avatar
They do have gills, but they aren't very good ones. They still have a ways to go before those gills are developed enough to be as useful as their lungs. Some other merfolk types do have fully developed gills, and some have even lost their lungs.
CairoCopper007's avatar
So merfolk are definitely mammals with some fish like qualities? Or perhaps amphibious judging from the webbing and frills
NickOnPlanetRipple's avatar
Like whales, they transitioned from land to sea. The dolphin merfolk are the least adapted for sea life, though. They're more humanlike than other kinds, who have gone through more extensive changes over time.
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