In Chinese mythology, there is a famous mermaid and she, ironically, brought men to life. Nu-gua, a goddess with a fish tail, was bored with the earth having only dumb beasts. So, with a lovely clean batch of mud she began to fashion little beings that looked like her--only giving them legs for fun. She was quite pleased with her little people but it took so long to make them and earth was so large and empty. So, to speed things up she took a rope and dipped it into a large batch of mud that was conveniently located (not that nice, and were three different colors of it, black, brown and yellow). This mud-covered rope she spun over her head, the drips and spatters of mud becoming new people. These new people were, of course, not as well-formed and refined as Nu-gua's original batch but there were a lot of them. So Nu-gua had the people made from mud-drips into commoners and peasants while her hand-formed people became the aristocrats. Thus, the Chinese class system was formed! Not very politically-correct, but it is a contrast to the languid, lovelorn mermaids of the west.
Other then curiosity, why does this matter? Well, as authors, our jobs are to write stories with a fresh perspective. In all the stories of the world, they say there are only really two plots (hero goes on a journey or stranger comes to town). All the rest is texture and layers--so why not look at a different cultural fabric for inspiration? For all their differences, the creatures are the same.