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By Rodrigo-Vega
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A small selection of what I consider to be feasible mermaids. Coming up with theoretically possible interpretations for otherwise chimerical and unlikely mythical creatures has become kind of a staple of my work... so here is another popular one.
From top to bottom and left to right,
-Amphibian: Huge fresh-water anurans evolved to humanoid features, including long external gills that look like flowing red hair. They are identified with lake and river nymphs and hags that would drag and drown people into dangerous bodies of water to eat them.
-Belugoid: Belugoids would be smaller, more intelligent relatives of beluga whales. Ceteceans are already quite intelligent and they would make good contenders to develop actual sapience. They could be responsable of luring sailors toward rocks and icebergs with their songs.... but... I don't see them doing it maliciously. Just a side-effect of sailors often being curious, horny and dumb.
-Fresh Water Monkey: The amazon forest already has a healthy population of large river species people will claim to be beautiful water-women that clearly aren't, so maybe we could do with an another one. The idea is that as the amazon basin floods, animals have developed different adaptations to semi-aquatic life... but monkeys being able to move up the tallest branches never quite did the water-thing. Maybe one of the heaviest species, on a low-canopy area, unable to climb into the thinnest higher branches did exactly that. This species would have favored a functional form of congenital sirenomelia. I went with rather primitive monkeys for this sketch, but this logic could well be applied to all kind of primates up from this point, including higher hominids for nearly-human merfolk populations.
Chondrichthyan: cartilaginous fishes with human-like appearance in their upper body, including grasping spines in their pectoral fins and eyes located in the bottom of their head allowing them to scann for prey and tools in the seabed. One of the most intriguing characteristics of cartilaginous fishes is that we have a lousy record of them in fossils not having actual bones, usually just leaving behind a bunch of teeth if we are lucky. Can we tell for sure there WEREN'T any fish people through all of Earth's history?... I wouldn't bet on it! but... still.
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© 2017 - 2021 Rodrigo-Vega
anonymous's avatar
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Jonathan-Ghost's avatar

I like amphibian fantasyraces more than just simple mermaids... So this is for me a great inspiration and a wonderfull "bunch" of interesting interpretations! And I need to repeat what was said before: The Guillermo del Toro vibes are here! :)

TimelordFandango's avatar
I get strong Hellboy/Guillermo del Toro vibes from these designs.
Rodrigo-Vega's avatar

That's a huge compliment!

TimelordFandango's avatar
purple100112's avatar
DecoyDouble's avatar
I'd put a little money on that bet. Not enough to go bankrupt if I was wrong, but enough that I could go home with a good sum. 
I hold on to that bit of belief simply because of two reasons. One: the legend of mermaids spans a lot of cultures, each with a bit of differences, but enough similarities. 
Two: evolution, I could honestly see an ancient type of human that lived long enough in water that they develop gills and fins over the years and generations.
Draxer9's avatar
Ningen is that You?
DilophosaurusFan666's avatar
In the Animal Planet docufiction, the mermaids did not have long, flowing hair, and I think they did this because visible hair is not present in modern marine mammals. I notice you added this feature of traditional mermaids onto your aquamonkey mermaid, though.

Did you do this because they are not an advanced aquatic species with abilities such as echolocation that are possessed by the mermaids in the docufiction? There's no evidence that the first fully-aquatic whales such as Basilosaurus, which still lacked echolocation, didn't also lack the modern trait of being completely without visible hair, so I think this explanation might make sense. 

It should be noted that the proto-mermaids in the docufiction that were in a similar place to Basilosaurus evolutionarily already lacked hair, so the docufiction might not necessarily have been playing it this way. 
isaacjralderman's avatar
The freshwater monkey looks most like what people describe seeing it even resembles the brief video footage they show on the discovery channel
gusolsan's avatar
Un0rth0d0cz's avatar
FINALLY!!! REALISTIC MERMAIDS!!!!!!!!!! Very well done!
Saint-Walker's avatar
Really love the designs

Sloths are actually quite at home in the water, this piece makes me wonder what would've happened if the aquatic sloths of the Pliocene had survived or if some species in the amazon had gone full aquatic like this monkey did

Considering the aquatic monkey was descended from a heavier primate, it may possibly be a relation of the Uakari
zeSmollestBirb's avatar
These are some really creative ideas! The anuran mermaid reminds me of one of my own ideas for mermaid-like beings, which was a giant sapient sirenid. 
JK-17's avatar
Oh wow. This is very creative and unique! Very awesome job :)
P-Graner's avatar
Holy shit m8, this is some book level drawing & story.
sandcastler's avatar
I LOVE how you drew the webbed hands and feet!!
Imperiused's avatar
The Fresh Water Monkey is horrifying and I love it.

Great designs all around.
Dev20W's avatar
Very cool I love there looks Love 
KreepingSpawn's avatar
Gnarly! The Belugoid is my fav.  :nod:
Fireplume's avatar
Belugoid is super super cool, since many of the earliest accounts of mermaids spoke of more cetacean-like aspects, rather than human/fish.
GabriM3's avatar
herofan135's avatar
The designs here are really cool, awesome work!
anonymous's avatar
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