The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued an official statement that there is no evidence that mermaids exist.
The statement, by the agency’s National Ocean Service, came after two letters asking for information about the mythical creatures. It appears the letters came from viewers of an Animal Planet broadcast in May entitled “Mermaids: The Body Found” (pictured below.)
The show used CGI effects to show what mermaids might look like and included testimony from two scientists who found the remains of a creature that matched the description given by alleged witnesses of live mermaids.
What the viewers didn’t appear to grasp was that the show was clearly labeled as science fiction and didn’t claim that mermaids were real. The two scientists were merely actors used as a literary device to explore some of the ways in which humans have characteristics in common with marine mammals that aren’t shared with other primates, such as webbing between fingers and breath control.
The NOS statement explains some of the background to stories about mermaids, including a mention in Homer’s The Odyssey, but concludes “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists.”
[Picture Source: gtrwndr87 (CC)]