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The Atlanteans are a genetic offshoot of mainstream Homo sapiens called Homo mermanus, who by as yet unknown means acquired various bodily attributes enabling them to live indefinitely beneath the sea. The name "Atlantean" is derived from the ancient civilization of Atlantis that sank beneath the sea in prehistory, and whose ruins were settled by the Homo mermani.

Atlanteans possess twin gills located on their necks near the clavicle bone, which enable them to extract oxygen from the water. They possess physiologies far stronger and more durable than their surface counterparts, which enable them to withstand the vast water pressure at the ocean's bottom as well as the pressure changes encountered traveling from one depth to another. Compared to the average air-breather, the average Atlantean is about ten times stronger. The average Atlantean can swim at a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. Atlanteans are warm-blooded, and their blood circulation is superior to that of land-dwellers, enabling them to withstand the near-freezing temperatures of the ocean depths with minimal discomfort. Atlanteans have specially-adapted eyes possessing vision more sensitive to the green portion of the spectrum. This enables them to see more acutely in the dimly lit ocean depths. Atlanteans need water in order to breath, and will suffocate in open air in about five minutes. Atlantean skin tends to be light blue in color, although certain individuals are darker. Atlanteans possess residual body hair primarily on their heads, a holdover from their surface-dwelling ancestry.

Despite their various marine characteristics, Atlanteans are mammals: they bear their young live and care for them during infancy. Although rare, it is possible for an Atlantean and an air breather to mate. The physical characteristics such an offspring will inherit are subject to generic chance. In the two known cases of such matings, the offspring acquired the capacity to breath in air and underwater. The life expectancy of an Atlantean is about 150 years.

It is not known precisely how many Atlanteans there are in the world today. The number is believed to be fewer than ten thousand, an extremely small figure when compared to the surface human population of approximately four billion. About two thousand live in the capital city of Atlantis and its immediate vicinity. Others live in small enclaves from pole to pole. Millennia ago, the Atlantean population divided and there was a sizable emigration to the Pacific Ocean by way of the southern tip of South America. These Homo mermani are popularly called Lemurians (after the sunken surface civilization of Lemuria), and possess the same physical characteristics, as Atlanteans except their skin tends to be more greenish and scaled. It is not known how the population of the Lemurians compares in size with that of the Atlanteans.

Most Atlanteans live in caves on the ocean floor or the submerged portions of coral reefs. The inhabitants of the capital city of Atlantis live in the ruins of the ancient city of surface Atlantis. Because there can be no fire under water, the Atlanteans have lacked the capacity to forge steel or burn fossil fuel for energy. Because of the aquatic medium in which they live, they were also unable to isolate or mix chemicals. Consequently, the Atlanteans never developed a native technology beyond that of flint tool making. Swords and armaments used in warfare were largely salvaged from the ruins of surface Atlantis or sunken ships of human construction. It is only in the past century, through interaction with scientists of the non-human Deviant race, that any form of advanced technology was developed. Astronomy, chemistry, biology, and physics remain virtually unknown sciences. Medicine has remained primitive, with drugs unheard of and surgery impossible under water` No system of mass communication has ever been developed, nor any means of mass transit. With Deviant technology, Atlanteans built their first warships at the outbreak of World War II. Atlanteans communicate by means of a limited range of high-pitched vocal sounds and elaborate "signing" gestures. A more varied spoken language is not possible due to the inherent limitations of sound transmission through water.

Atlantean government has traditionally been tribal, although the 'citizens of the capital city of Atlantis have adopted the stylings of a monarchistic republic from their long-dead surface predecessors. Besides an ancestral monarch, Atlantis has a Council of Elders, who serves as the judiciary and legislative branch of government. Atlantis has a standing militia who perform police functions in times of peace. Although the monarchy of Atlantis claims alt Homo merrmani dwelling in the Atlantic Ocean as its subjects, in actuality the monarchy neither provides services or protection nor demands tribute or recognition from those who live beyond one day's swim from the capital city. Most Homo mermani continue to live tribally. The largest grouping of Atlanteans in the Atlantic Ocean outside the capital city are ruled by the barbarian warlord Attuma.

Atlanteans subsist on raw fish and seaweed. They are largely a hunter / gatherer society, who have made successful attempts to farm seaweed. In most of the Atlanteans tribes, male hunt for fish and females gather seaweed. In the monarchy of the Atlantean capital, society is stratified so that there is a special guild of hunters and gatherers who provide food for the entire population. This frees the rest of the society for other pursuits, such as the advancement of culture. The culture of the tribal Atlanteans remains primitive, with ritualistic dance and storytelling at its core. The culture of monarchistic Atlantis is slightly more sophisticated, with its class or guild of entertainers. The religion of most tribal Atlanteans is pantheistic nature-worship. The state religion of monarchistic Atlantis reverse the Greek god of the sea Neptune, who once lived among the Atlanteans two millennia ago. The Atlantean Empire in many ways resemble the ancient Roman Empire at its zenith.


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