Disney’s movie The Little Mermaid, it turns out, was NOT based on a true story. Mermaids are a thing of fantasy, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA
The Roswell-style conspiracy theory kicked off after Animal Planet aired a two-hour show MERMAIDS: THE BODY FOUND back in May. Described as “science fiction based on some real events and scientific theory”, the programme blurb promises a melange of “real-life events and phenomena with the story of two scientists who testify they found the remains of a never-before-identified sea creature”.
Apparently, the National Ocean Service received a couple of calls and emails asking staff if mermaids exist.
NOAA saw a good opportunity to bring awareness to their programs and a good PR stunt.
Who needs fantasy and mystery anyway!
Here is the official statement from NOAA
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.