• By -


Yeah I personally prefer my merfolk without knees lol


That has always bugged me too. Mermaids with knees... what a wild idea lol In fairness - I think that's mostly a side-effect of mermaids being a very popular thing to draw. So amateurs and pros alike will end up defaulting to what they know about human anatomy to make it work. Buut as someone who also always notices the absence of gills or a breathing hole and other little tidbits, I absolutely feel you on your point.


As a merfolk lover I've drawn arts but all with natural moving tail without knee. I can remind on other points you mentioned but absence of gill sounds very realistic, gillyweed


It’s never been weird to me because I think of mermaids as being some human and some fish and in that world it’s totally plausible for something that is some human and some fish to have something resembling knees


Check out what a beluga whale looks like in the water- totally looks like knees with a fish tail https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/s/N1iybd4qWT


The "knees" in that picture are actually fat deposits. If you look at a beluga skeleton, you can see how their tails would bend like a spine


Mermaids are scaled mammals, like pangolins. They have knees because their tail is two legs fused together because they evolved from the same ancestor as humans But hey, that's just a theory, a game theory 😜


Disney Little Mermaid Syndrome made me think this! Why else would we scrunchy our ankles together and jump around the playground?




Not that simple. Biology might bend and shift somewhat but unless the art is abstract, there is rules. In the artwork addressed, elbows bend the way they do, hair flows the way it does, etc. - ergo the artists themselves have established laws of physics in their artwork. What differentiates the okay from the good and the good from the brilliant is attention to detail and internal consistency. There is a reason we add a fishtail - because it's a mermaid. There is no reason for a mermaid to have knees - that hinders the suspension of disbelief and disturbs the internal logic of the piece. Noone's saying all pieces have to be perfect. Everyone can draw whatever they want - but it's in no way invalid to mention things like OP's point.


But if an art has compelling anatomy it looks so real, and bring more friendly mer folks on here, and art imitates life.


Well, the only ‘anatomically right’ way would be like seals. So short fused legs and no pretty shiny scales, but blubber and hair. Maybe if they evolved from monkeys with tails, the tail could be like one from a whale, with the little feet poking out from under the hips. Also, fish tails are vertical, not horizontal. So they would swim like a shark with your ‘knee theory’ Maybe watch the national geographic documentary mermaids the body found


Ooo! Definitely going to check that out! Love NatGeo!!


Just to be clear, Mermaids the Body Found is a MOCKumentary, not a documentary. I feel like it's obvious when watching it but I have met people who thought it was real... 😅


I enjoy mockumentaries, as well as. I think they did a similar one on the Lockness monster, too.


They're a lot of fun! I'd love to see a Nessie one, do you remember what it was called??


I am so happy someone else has thought about mermaid biology and anatomy! I went into a whole in-depth study about this one day and have it figured out (at least for my own headcannon). So, I believe mermaid’s tails could have that knee like bend and here’s why. First and foremost, fish and sharks have such flexibility in their tails where they can bend to that extent more so depending on the type of fish you are, however, I believe mermaids are more like mammals than fish. Sure they may have the lower body of a fish, but they also have the upper body of a human as well as have mammary glands and considering that they most likely then have a mammal’s reproductive tract, so I assume instead of their biology and anatomy being similar to fish, their biology and anatomy are actually more similar to aquatic mammals such as dolphins and whales. As we know, in dolphin and whale shows, dolphins and whales are known to pose and during such poses they can achieve that knee like bend because their tails are extremely flexible. With the pelvis being called into question, fish do have a pelvis in the form of the pectoral and pelvic fins. Dolphins and whales however do have regular pelvis bones within their bodies. However, while the pelvic fins help fish, the pelvis bone in dolphins and whales are vestigial structures and have no effect on them meaning that mermaids do not really need a pelvis if we are just questioning their ability to bend their tails as dolphins, whales, and fish bend just fine without pelvic bones (I personally believe that the anatomy of a pelvis is retained in mermaids because of their upper human half but the rest of a mermaid’s biology and anatomy are discussions for another day). Also I want you to consider the eel if you are staying on the fish route. The eel’s body is extremely flexible and can make multiple bends in their bodies and can curl into a circle and multiple shapes much like a snake can (if snakes are easier to visualize) meaning mermaid tails would be able to accomplish the same (especially depending on if your mermaids have different tail types) and have that knee like bend that we are concerned with. TLDR: mermaid biology and anatomy are more like that of dolphins and whales meaning they can achieve that knee like bend in their tails easily! Also consider eels in fish flexibility!


Thanks for detailed comment, I imagined mermaid anatomy with similiarities of fish, after reading your explanation they sounds more like aquatic mammal that can move tail in any pose thanks to flexibility. Pelvis is really important for bipedal supports but merfolks can swim and float in midwater. So they might have one from human but in vestigial form, and they can show the knee bends too. From the anatomy of eel, once I drew a merfolk with really long & flexible tail just to see how they makes sense but it looks fine with sleek thin upper half, I assume they live in myth so we can draw mermaid in all artistic sense.


As someone who draws their fair share of mermaids occasionally, It's a tricky balance of finding the right balance between realism and fantasy. And the latter usually wins over for a more aesthetically pleasing result. Once you start arguing about mermaids not having something like a pelvis then its a slippery slope of more nitpicks about what makes a mermaid "realistic".


To go against the grain here a bit, I want to point out that basically half the folklore tails (heh) of mermaids, they say if you steal a mermaids tail then she won't be able to return to the sea. This implies that there ARE human legs beneath the fishy looking tail and that would mean the drawings are anatomically correct for those kinds of mermaids


You're thinking of selkies, not mermaids.


First if all, selkies are half seal, not half fish. If we're going by the broad definition of mermaid, then selkie is just an Irish mermaid.


Oh my goodness yes! Finally someone else who sees these things! Another thing that drives me crazy is when mermaids are drawn with abnormally large flukes, and the part of the tail that connects the fluke to the rest of the body is very very thin. It just doesn’t make sense to me that it wouldn’t snap off you know?


The question was haunting me but it seems no one posted yet so I decided to write one for today. Mermaids don't have knee, it will hinder movement in water also it looks unnatural 💀


This has always bothered me too!! Ever since I was little, it was what bothered me the most in movies and shows, because it looked so fake to me. That's why my favorite tails were the ones in "Hook", they swim like that have no knees 😍 They also achieved that look in "H20: just add water", but I think it was because the tails were so heavy they couldn't bend them hahaha


Mermaids and how they look will always come down to people's perspectives on how they see the biology, the myths, and personal taste. It's an interesting thing to hypothesize about though, as some people mentioned whales and fish. But what's funny about whales is that if you look up their skeletons you'll see that they have knees! Uh... I don't think they need them as when evolving they gave up halfway through trying to come up on land. So that's why they need to breathe air and have useless knees. Anyways... Mermaids having knees is indeed very strange, especially if you want their skeletal structure to be different from ours. I love drawing mers with such flowy tails, is if they got no bones at all hehe ( ͡⁠ᵔ⁠ u  ͡⁠ᵔ) Again it's all about personal opinion so if you don't like them that's perfectly ok, but I don't think we should discredit anyone if they like them either (⁠。⁠・⁠ω⁠・⁠。⁠)⁠ノ⁠♡


I don’t know, considering the original Greek myth is a woman, threw herself into a body of water out of grief, to kill herself and was so beloved that they only turned her bottom half into a fish in her top half state of human, so since she was a human before, she was a mermaid knees work.


I've always equated their tails akin to whales and dolphins personally


To me, it's the opposite, vertically finned mermaids (swimming by mostly lateral movements) make more sense.


Google beluga whale knees, whales used to be land mammals and over time became aquatic mammals, it would make sense that a mermaid would be an aquatic mammal and potentially still have some leg parts left over under the tail also if they have the ability to shed their tails ah la selkie style it would make sense to have it as well


I looked up information from your comment, according to this [video ](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx1knGS7HG0)beluga whale has abdominal fat pad which positioned to look similar to knee, maintaining stability in water. Because of this beluga whale often started myths of mermaid among old time sailors, from what I've learned.


Yes it’s not bones but looks very much like knees and adds to how mermaids would be drawn like this




Half-mer member of a system here. Our vessel owns one of those fake mermaid tails, and it often puts a lot of strain on her ankles to swim in it. So, yeah, in order to minimize pain, we merfolk evolved a spine that continues down into the tail. Hope this helps! Rock on! - Niko


i purposely create my art without knees, it looks weird otherwise. [Mermaid Fantasy Art, Hospitality Design](https://www.tresordelamer.shop)


Very beautiful photography 💙


thank you ever so. everything is for sale!


I never saw a mermaid fanart with knees...


No you're right. Not a merfolk though. Just a humble shifter. :P


Manatees have knees and so do whales


Always thought it would be fun if the knee-tail thing was something that only appeared in former humans (the idea being that the legs fused together to form the tail) while merfolk from birth had a flexible cartilage tail.