– – Even in the rarified world of cryptozoology, consideration of mermaids has fallen into the realm of the really far out there stuff, to be greeted perhaps with rolling of the eyes and snide remarks. Most likely this is because treatment of the very topic of mermaids/mermen has been tainted by embodiment in fairy tales and the Disney treatment in popular culture; we are inclined to think of mermaids as merchandised items, as plastic toys carried about and loved by small girls. If we think of mermaids and mermen as being less like My Little Pony collectables, we’re finally at a stage where we can give the topic more serious consideration.
Specials on the Animal Planet network have sparked new treatments of the mermaid topic, complete with the ambiguous videos and reported missing body parts, allegations that we’ve come to associate with Bigfoot investigations. There’s even a linkage of sorts in that mermaids and mermen are speculated to be a kind of “water ape” that has evolved back to an aquatic existence from a previous incarnation on dry land.
First there was Mermaids: The Body Found airing in May 2012, a docu-fiction including the tantalizing tale of inexplicable body parts brought forth from the stomach of a Great White shark on the South African shore that matched no other known species, body parts that represented perhaps 30% of a complete individual possessing mermaid characteristics, including morphological adaptations such as hands rather than fins, and an upright hip bone posture. While little of the skull of the specimen remained, reconstruction from what was present suggested the capacity for echolocation as is seen in aquatic mammals such as dolphins. Researchers working with the remains had them as well as their research confiscated as they were about to return to the United States, or so alleges a reputed former NOAA scientist.
Remaining, however, are recordings of mysterious underwater noises coming from an unknown source which resembles a 1997 sound recording called the “bloop.” This transmission contains known whale and dolphin sounds together with more sophisticated sounds of an unknown creature speculated to be communicating with the cetaceans. There are also a number of disputed videos, including one reportedly taken by a boy on a cell phone camera following a mass whale beaching in 2007. The images show in addition to whale carcasses and debris a still living humanoid-like creature that the boy maintains to have been a mermaid or merman…
For the record, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a statement denying the existence of mermaids or other aquatic humanoids. Animal Planet has stated that the mermaid shows are not factual, and should be considered entertainment only; the shows are essentially science fiction, with some real events and speculative scientific theory incorporated. While mermaids may be all wet, the ratings amassed by Mermaids: The New Evidence are quite real, with 3.6 million viewers drawn, making the show the most viewed telecast on Animal Planet ever…
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