Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mermaids: Pt 2- Reproduction

Last week I talked about mermaids and how they could potentially see under the water—eyes like fish, not like ours. Today’s discussion is how mermaids could possibly reproduce if they were real. This isn’t going to be a sex-ed. I imagine it’d be something similar to dolphins. However, that wasn’t the question a friend asked me. She asked whether mermaids would lay eggs or have live birth.

Would they take after the fishes, considering they’re fish-like from the waist down or would they take on the live birth like mammals? If we go by the fact, for the moment, that they are fish-like completely from the waist down, then we should assume that their reproductive organs are as well. That would mean that they’d lay eggs. But let’s step back a moment. If mermaids did lay eggs and then were fertilized by the males after, there wouldn’t be much diversity of the species as a whole. Also, fish can lay hundreds of eggs. Even if only half of them hatch, that’s a lot of mermaids. You’d expect a lot more sightings.

Therefore, this leads to the explanation that mermaids would have to take after whales and porpoises= live birth. Not just that, but mermaids have been depicted with mammalian traits (i.e. breasts and a navel). If you account for probably only one baby per pregnancy, maybe two, the odds seem more reasonable. Also, if you look at the depictions of their tails, it closely resembles that of a dolphin rather than a fish.

What about their scales? Dolphins and whales don’t have colourful scales like fish do. I would assume that it is just artistic license. If you look at drawings of dolphins, some are drawn with scales as well and we know they don’t.

So what do you think? If mermaids were real, how do you think they would reproduce? On a fiction note, do you like stories of mermaids?

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