A mermaid is a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish. Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe, and Asia. The first stories appeared in ancient Assyria, in which the goddess Atargatis transforms herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes depicted as perilous creatures associated with floods, storms, shipwrecks, and drowning. In other folk traditions (or sometimes within the same tradition) they can be benevolent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans.
Mermaids are associated with the Sirens of Greek mythology and with the Sirenia, a biological order which comprises dugongs and manatees. Historical sightings by sailors may have been the result of misunderstood
Who would have known that these last couple of months everyone would be talking about mermaids. We first covered mermaids when the Animal Planet released their special, “Mermaids The Body Found.” We covered the story here at our article title, “Animal Planet Mermaids Show Bodies Found That Create Nightmares [pictures & videos].”
The Animal Planet wasn’t the last of the mermaid bodies being found as a new one has surfaced. A man calling himself Professor Dimitrov has released pictures of a skeleton of a woman that is quite apparently a mermaid. The skeleton is very tall and has a fish tail like appearance starting at the hips and goes all the way down into a bony fin.
Comments from Our Readers
After many natural disasters eg. tsunamis, there are stories of unusual creatures/ skeletons washing up. I think it is possible that these unusual skeletal remains exist and scientists (and pseudo-scientists) like to publish all kinds of theories.
I guess I would have to say that I do not believe mermaids exist as described in folklore but I do believe there could be many unusual skeletal remains hiding on this planet waiting to be 'exposed' by some natural or man-made disaster.
After all, how old is our planet? Many generations of evolution for both animals and humans! And when you add unusual development patterns and birth defects to the mix, one can expect some unusual remains.
***** I do not think such a creature exist in the water. I do think that there are people born with their legs fused together creating a mermaid look.
Nancy Nalle McKenzie
***** The Bulgarian Mermaid Skeleton...The Discovery Channel showed a program 'The Body Found' and since everything on tv is true, mermaids must exist...and then there also was the mermaid that washed up after the tsunami. BTW unicorns also exist because there are skeletons of them too!!!!
***** According to NOAA mermaids do not exist.I do not believe mermaid exist--just Angels, Ghosts, Goblins, Leprechauns and Aliens. Oh, I forgot Bigfoot. I watch WAYYYYY too much TV.
***** A silimar "creature" does exist but in the form of a rare human birth defect. The condition called is called sirenomelia. These children are born with their lower limbs fused, giving a mermaid like appearance.
***** I do not think that mermaids exist. What people will believe!
***** No,I wish they did and still exist if there is a true mermaid, but I beleive it is a fairy tale. Not that I dont beleive because I do believe.
***** There is no proof of such creatures other than from myth and legend, but who knows? After all, the bondegezou (tree kangaroo) was unknown until 2009.
***** No evidence has ever been found that an aquatic humanoid has ever existed.
***** Shucks, I don't even believe in Santa or the tooth fairy, and there's as much real evidence for them as for mermaids.
***** Apparently people are tripping over mermaid skeletons because they're all over the place. BTW, isn't "mermaid" sexist? Shouldn't it be "merperson" As for their existence, everybody knows merpeople aren't real. It's silly. Hopefully, someday we will stop wasting our time on fantasies and get serious about real things, like Big Foot.
Folklorists should be embarrassed enough for saying that sailors supposedly mistook manatees for mermaids. Manatees don't look anything like people.
Like Nessie, (and Sasquatch as well), unless one can canvas the entire watered portions of Earth at one instant in time then it is still mere speculation that such a creature does NOT exist, despite science saying probably not.
I believe in dinosaurs, although not talking ones, and I believe in the DoDo bird, long extinct as well, however, outside of Disney interpretation of folk tales or DC/Marvel's Aquaman, I believe more in the existence of aliens here on Earth than in mermaids. Even if we here now are all descended from an alien pair.
After last week's quiz, thanks for an easy one this week. Last week I couldn't get away from thinking the two figures were mermaids with some extra fins I didn't know about. When I saw this week's picture, I thought maybe you had a theme going. Alas, last week's figures weren't mermaids.
Do mermaids exist? Of course not, but wouldn't it be fun to think so? After all, didn't we all come from the sea originally? I suspect the closest we are going to get to seeing a mermaid is the manatee.
This kind of fakery should be labeled such. It can be enjoyed as an art work or product of an imagination -- a little gruesome for my tastes.
It’s not that I think mermaid are impossible, It’s just not possible that they would look the way we’ve imagined them. Michael Phelps to the contrary, humans are built to walk upright on land; mammals living in the oceans are all streamlined for moving through water.
I did like the Darryl Hannah movie.
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A silimar "creature" does exist but in the form of a rare human birth defect. The condition called is called sirenomelia. These children are born with their lower limbs fused, giving a mermaid like appearance.
2. Why was a similar skeleton in the news last year?
3. Does such a creature exist? What do you think?
Thanks to Milene Rawlinson for submitting the this quiz.
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1. Sozopol Beach on the Black Sea, Bulgaria
2. While The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen was on exhibit in Japan, a mermaid skeleton was substituted for it.
COPENHAGEN — A skeleton briefly sat in for Copenhagen's beloved Little Mermaid, who left her spot in the harbour last week for China, the museum behind the April Fool's prank said Thursday.
"Copenhagen will be deprived of its Little Mermaid for six months, and we thought we should replace it. It's April Fools, after all!" Hanne Strager, the head of exhibitions at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, told AFP.
The replacement -- which even had a skeleton fish tail -- was placed in the same position as the Little Mermaid and sat in her vacant spot for two hours, to the delight of tourists.
"Half of the mermaid was built with a human skeleton, and the other with a swordfish" tail, Strager said.
"Many passers-by thought it was really funny and jumped in front of the mermaid to have their pictures taken," she added.
The real Little Mermaid statue left Copenhagen last week to be the centrepiece of the Danish pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai until October 31.
It was the first time the iconic sculpture left her perch at the entry of the Copenhagen harbour since she was placed there almost a century ago.
Her skeleton replacement was introduced to the media in a prank statement that said the Little Mermaid "had returned".
The statement claimed it was the only remaining complete skeleton of a "Hydronymphus pesci", a species said to be extinct since the end of the 17th century.
It claimed to have acquired the remains at the beginning of the 18th century, and that the only other skeleton of the specimen, in Saint Petersburg's Hermitage museum, was "not as complete as Copenhagen's" because of its missing tail.
After basking in the Copenhagen sun for two hours, the fake skeleton was returned to the museum where it would be displayed during the Easter holidays, Strager said.
The Little Mermaid statue is based on a character in an 1837 fairytale by author Hans Christian Andersen about a half-human half-fish legendary creature in love with a human.
Edvard Eriksen's 1913 sculpture, measuring 125 centimetres (50 inches) and weighing 175 kilos (385 pounds), is considered a national treasure and one of the main tourist attractions in Denmark.
Sirenomelia, alternatively known as Mermaid Syndrome, is a very rare congenital deformity in which the legs are fused together, giving them the appearance of a mermaid's tail.
This condition is found in approximately one out of every 100,000 live births (about as rare as conjoined twins) and is usually fatal within a day or two of birth because of complications associated with abnormal kidney and urinary bladder development and function. More than half the cases of sirenomelia result in stillbirth
and this condition is 100 times more likely to occur in identical twins than in single births or fraternal twins It results from a failure of normal vascular supply from the lower aorta in utero. Maternal diabetes has been associated with caudal regression syndrome and sirenomelia, although a few sources question this association.
Some of the websites we found out about this from had to be translated from Bulgarian so it’s not perfect English. This excerpt is from Society.actualno.com and reads, “Ancient skeleton of a mermaid before the Flood 8 millenniums ago was found near Sozopol Beach by Professor Dimitrov. This “news” blew prostarnstvoto Internet. Zevzecite comment that vampires after Dimitrov’s time to start dealing with mermaids , writes Novinar.”
So where did the picture of this female fish or Bulgarian mermaid start? It is said that a journalist shared the photo on his Facebook wall and it went viral after that. The journalist’s name is Petar Genchev. While the story sounds good, we tried to back up the claims and find the specific journalist and his Facebook wall. To no avail we haven’ t t found the specific post. What we did find was some other information that you’ll see
Looking a little deeper, we found out about a website called Worth 1000. It seems this photo might have been from a Photoshop contest and further altered and then spread with a story. What do you think? Is this the real thing or is this another file for Snopes? It just may be that the Animal Planet has spurred a fascination of fooling the public into believing there really are mermaids.
Human skeleton photoshopped to create mermaid skeleton.
Mermaids — those half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea — are legendary sea creatures chronicled in maritime cultures since time immemorial. The ancient Greek epic poet Homer wrote of them in The Odyssey. In the ancient Far East, mermaids were the wives of powerful sea-dragons, and served as trusted messengers between their spouses and the emperors on land. The aboriginal people of Australia call mermaids yawkyawks – a name that may refer to their mesmerizing songs.
The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. Magical female figures first appear in cave paintings in the late Paleolithic (Stone Age) period some 30,000 years ago, when modern humans gained dominion over the land and, presumably, began to sail the seas. Half-human creatures, called chimeras, also abound in mythology — in addition to mermaids, there were wise centaurs, wild satyrs, and frightful minotaurs, to name but a few.
But are mermaids real? 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.
encounters with these aquatic mammals. Christopher Columbus reported seeing mermaids while exploring the Caribbean, and sightings have been reported in the 20th and 21st centuries in Canada, Israel, and Zimbabwe. The US National Ocean Service stated in 2012 that no evidence of mermaids has ever been found.
Mermaids have been a popular subject of art and literature in recent centuries. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen wrote his popular fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" in 1836. They have subsequently been depicted in opera, paintings, books, films, and comics.
In 1493 while sailing off the coast of Hispaniola, Christopher Columbus reported seeing three "female forms" which "rose high out of the sea, but were not as beautiful as they are represented". The logbook of Blackbeard, an English pirate, records that he instructed his crew on several voyages to steer away from charted waters which he called "enchanted" for fear of merfolk or mermaids, which Blackbeard and members of
A Mermaid John William Waterhouse
his crew reported seeing. These sighting were often recounted and shared by sailors and pirates who believed that mermaids were bad luck and would bewitch them into giving up their gold and dragging them to the bottom of the sea. Two sightings were reported in Canada near Vancouver and Victoria—one from sometime between 1870 and 1890, the other from 1967.
During World War II in 1943, Japanese soldiers witnessed several mermaids on the shores of the Kei Islands. They reported seeing creatures swimming in the water—and one sighting on the beach—which had pink skin and spikes along their head. These creatures reportedly were about 150 centimeters tall and had limbs and faces that were similar to that of a human but a mouth like a carp. The locals called them Orang Ikan, which means "fish man" in Malay. Several of these sightings occurred and were reported to Sergeant Taro Horiba, who asked the locals about it and learned that they sometimes got caught in the nets. The locals promised to send word to the Sergeant next time one was caught. Eventually, one of the creatures was found dead on the shore and the Sergeant was allowed to examine it. Being convinced, he returned to Japan and tried to convince scientists to go study them but he was never believed.
In August 2009, after dozens of people reported seeing a mermaid leaping out of the water and doing aerial tricks, the Israeli coastal town of Kiryat Yam offered a $1 million award for proof of the mermaid. In February 2012, work on two reservoirs near Gokwe and Mutare in Zimbabwe stopped when workers refused to continue, stating that mermaids had hounded them away from the sites. It was reported by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the water resources minister.
On January 9, 2013, during an episode of Mistero broadcast by Italia 1, images were
shown of a purported mermaid's corpse on a Sri Lankan beach.
In the middle of the 17th century, John Tradescant the elder created a wunderkammer (called Tradescant's Ark) in which he displayed, among other things, a "mermaid's hand". In the 19th century, P. T. Barnum displayed a taxidermal hoax
called the Fiji mermaid in his museum. Others have perpetrated similar hoaxes, which are usually papier-mâché fabrications or parts of deceased creatures, usually monkeys and fish, stitched together for the appearance of a grotesque mermaid. In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, pictures of Fiji "mermaids" circulated on the Internet as supposed examples of items that had washed up amid the devastation, though they were no more real than Barnum's exhibit.
National Ocean Service
In July 2012, the National Ocean Service (a branch of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) stated that "no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found". The statement was a response to public inquiries following Mermaids: The Body Found, a pseudo-documentary television film which aired in May 2012 on Animal Planet and which some had mistaken for a completely factual documentary.