Our lovely Ariel has always been a sight in the deep waters of Atlantica, the society of the merfolks somewhere in Atlantic. Truly she is a great piece of imagination but if you try broaden your imagination you can always ask yourself;
What would Ariel look like if she evolved at some time and decided to try living in some other waters other than of Atlantica?
While we can fill in all the exquisite details about this adventure with our most imaginative minds let’s take a view of an aquatic evolutionary expert Joseph Shaw who is currently an associative professor at Indiana University and that of her mermaid expert daughter Emma.
Let’s look what our imagination can do with a bit of science in it 🙂
#1. An adorably tiny coral reef Ariel
Pouring in some science Shaw says, “In coral reefs, one would expect perhaps the most attractive phenotypes that would include beautiful color patterns in their tails, many examples of mimicry, and amazing eyesight to take advantage of the crystal clear, bright sunny waters.”
So we can expect frills, colors and pizzaz for the coral reef mermaids. They would be tiny and yet so lovely creatures who could hide in the corals whenever there is an evil predator lurking around.
#2 Sleek and wonderful in open ocean!
According to Shaw, “Merpeople living in the open ocean would be expected to be fast, because they have a lot of ground to cover. They are also likely to be social (e.g., travel in pods) and therefore, have evolved advanced communication skills and we all know that Ariel’s voice is coveted for its beauty. These adaptations would provide a means for them to stay connected despite the vastness of the open ocean.”
Ariel will have some different body colors, a darker back (dorsal) and a light colored belly (ventral), making her difficult to spot by the predators. The open ocean being a more dangerous place Ariel would have no frills and an extremely sleek body for a much needed faster speed to escape a predator.
#3 Blubbery and pale, like a Beluga whale!
Shaw explains, “In the Arctic, one would expect to find fatter merpeople that are protected from freezing by the presence of antifreeze genes. They would also be expected to be some of the slowest, because metabolism would be very slow in these arctic creatures.”
The pale feature will help Ariel to blend in with the Icebergs floating around her thus an excellent camouflage for hiding from a predator. The special antifreeze genes and an extra layer of blubber will help her survive in the freezing waters.
#4 Deep Sea Nightmare!
The deep sea ocean evolution will not be a pleasant sight. Shaw says, “In the deep ocean, one might expect merpeople to have evolved long appendages to provide an enhanced sense of touch to help orient them, because the complete lack of light would eliminate sight. For this reason, some might even acquire bioluminescence to attract potential mates or lure unsuspecting meals.”
Since food is so scarce in the deep sea, Ariel would have gnarly chompers in order to ensnare prey.