(ORDO NEWS) — Mermaids are very popular characters from fairy tales and legends. The most famous of them was the Disney Little Mermaid. But can a sea dweller look just like her? It’s time to ask real scientists how such creatures should look like in reality. And be careful: the appearance of mermaids in terms of science may surprise you.
Mermaids, like other mythical creatures, have long interested people. Of course, these sea creatures are just a legend, but if you look at this question from the point of view of science, what would the appearance of mermaids be if they existed in reality?
An expert on the evolution of marine life, Joseph Shaw from the University of Indiana, tried to answer this question. The most famous Disney cartoon mermaid lives in the shallow Atlantic region, she has fair skin, red hair, and her neighbors are similar creatures. But everything will be completely different if the mermaid lives, for example, at a depth of five kilometers.
What do mermaids look like in terms of science?
Assuming that the appearance of these creatures is subject to the laws of biology, what will deep-sea mermaids look like? Science says that their appearance will be very different from the cute look we are used to. Most likely, in this case, mermaids will be pale, flattened creatures, similar to witches from horror films.
Therefore, in order to remain beautiful, these creatures probably need to live closer to the surface of the water – so there is a chance that the huge pressure in the lower layers of the ocean will not change their appearance beyond recognition.
Joseph Shaw tried to imagine what the appearance of mermaids would be in terms of science. You can look at the fantasies of the author in the gallery below.
The inhabitants of the coral reef boast the brightest colors of all parts of their bodies among marine inhabitants. The little mermaid would be no exception: since the habitat will be shallow water with crystal clear water, colored patterns on the scales or skin can serve as both a disguise and a means of communication with relatives. In addition to color, coral mermaids will also differ in their modest size in order to effectively hide from the threat in the local flora.
Mermaids living in the open ocean will always move in a group, their bodies should be as smooth as possible, and their muscles should be strong. Also, their backs will become dark, and the parts of the body facing the bottom will become light, to make it harder for predators to detect. Ariel’s oceanic relatives will be the most sociable, because life in a close team is the only guarantee of their survival. In addition, they will also be the fastest.
In this picture, not albinos, but little mermaids from the Arctic. Their bodies have a lot of subcutaneous fat, and their blood contains natural antifreeze. The coloring is as close as possible to the color of snow and ice, so that approaching the surface, fabulous creatures do not become easily noticeable prey for a bear, whale or birds. Moreover, polar mermaids will be the slowest of all – the metabolism, “tuned” to maximize energy savings in icy waters, will affect.
The deep-sea mermaid seemed to come from a terrible nightmare. There is some truth in this thought – she lives almost without food, and also without light at all and in very cold water. These distant relatives of the cartoon heroine will have atrophied eyes, special sensitive processes, long teeth and some kind of bioluminescent bait for various fish.
Naturally, this is just an attempt by Joseph to show his daughter and other children with concrete examples what adaptive mechanisms are found in nature. The scientist did not focus on many fabulous assumptions, primarily regarding the way mermaids breathe – judging by all the signs, she is not a mammal, but she does not have gills either. However, we will never know what mermaids look like – unless we can create such creatures ourselves in the future.
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