Merfolk or mer-people, with the males being mermen and the females being mermaids, are humanoid creatures who live in the ocean. They are usually depicted with the head and torso of a human and the trunk and tail of a fish, manatee, or seal.
There is no single original source for merfolk legends, which have arisen independently among nearly every seafaring culture on Earth. The oldest known written descriptions of mermaid-like creatures come from China in the 4th century BC. However, there are ambiguous references to vaguely icthyoid sentient beings in late 2nd or early 1st millennia BC sources - most notably in the ancient Greek myths of Homer and the Israelite accounts of the Philistine god Dagon.
Cultural ideas about the precise biology and behavior of merfolk include an infinite number of variations.
Merfolk were a sentient species of the order Sirenia, related to dugongs and manatees. A noted merfolk population lived in the north Pacific Ocean off the coast of Jefferson, USA. Merfolk vocal chords were unable to reproduce sounds of human (or Sasquatch) speech, but merfolk were capable of literacy in written languages such as English.