Thursday, June 6, 2013

Do Mermaids Truly Exist?


Oh I have seen this video before. As a matter of fact i have even watched a full-length documentary examining whether mermaids are really in existence, and examining the body of evidence produced to show that mermaid might possibly exist. People who watch Animal Planet channel regularly might have also seen one of these documentaries.

Now, the obvious question is "Do Mermaids truly exist?". To answer this question satisfactorily, there has to be some sort of consensus (agreement) on what a mermaid really is. The reason I say this is because, unless there is this agreement, it is possible for two people to look at the same body of evidence and come to contrasting conclusions. There are vastly more life in the world's oceans and seas than we have on land; and a great many species that currently do exist have never been seen or discovered by man. This should at least be obvious to everybody--the oceans and seas form 70% of the earth's surface--and man has not successfully explored every part of the remaining 30% land--how much less map out the vast 70%. Secondly, even with the best gadgets to help us, man can only go so deep in the water --after a certain depth the pressure reaches a catastrophic and fatal limit which must not be exceeded by further deeper exploration. Thirdly, there are creatures called 'extremophiles' which live in extreme conditions like near geo-thermal vents, in the saltiest environments, under anaerobic conditions, in the deepest, darkest recesses of ocean floors. I said all this just to impress on you the immensity of the world's ocean and the teeming life it contains which are not yet known to us.

Having said all this then, is it possible that among the life unknown to us which have nevertheless dwelt in the dark deep, there might be something which can be called a mermaid? One marine biologist answers yes. He went ahead (in case you find time to watch his documentary) to show what he thought he found which seemed to be the remains of some sort of proto-human-- some form of intelligent-looking humanoid life-form with a fish-like tail modified for swimming, webbed hands, a pronounced crested ape-like skull etc. His work was heavily criticized and discredited by other scientists, but this marine biologist is sticking to his story. Some form of video evidence was later produced by some submarine-inhabiting, deep-sea explorers. 

But before I get too far ahead of myself, what exactly is a mermaid? What do the various cultures of the world who have stories involving mermaids conceptualize? What sort of pictures have been imaginatively drawn by artists over the years to represent mermaids? It seems that a great majority of the world's people believe that a mermaid is a creature that is HALF human (female) and HALF (fish). This is some creature believed to live in water which has a female human head, regular human arms, chest and stomach, regular female human breasts, and even a navel. Everything else from the hips downwards is that of a giant fish complete with a fish's tail. Take a moment and conjure up this image in your mind. Now, I'll say that if this is the image that comes up in your mind when you talk or think of mermaids, then my answer is that these certainly do not exist. They are fabled creatures of legend very much like centaurs, minotaurs, onocentaurs, fauns, shedus, wemics, zhuyins, driders, ichthyocentaurs, alkonosts etc.

Nonetheless, when the average African--who has doubtlessly heard a lot of strange, horror stories about the supernatural--thinks of the term Mermaid, his mind goes to something called Mammywater/Mamiwota/Maamewater/Yemoja etc. He is thinking of a demonic or spiritual entity which purportedly has a mansion or kingdom inside the sea/river (sometimes called "Queen of the Coast"). He is thinking of some powerful demonic or spiritual entity who appears in the form of a beautiful woman, but who rarely or almost never ever shows herself as some half-human, half-fish hybrid! Over the years over-imaginative people aided by cross-cultural folkloric similarities blended the imagery together and thus the creatures of legend known as mermaids (which are not necessarily evil or malevolent) somehow got entangled with stories/imagery of marine spiritual or demonic entities which reputedly appeared in the form of ravishingly beautiful women.

This is a long way to say "No, mermaids do not exist" especially the kind of mermaids that have passed down to us from folklore. There is no half-human, half-fish hybrid living anywhere in the world's oceans and seas. If the person claiming such begins to talk of spiritual entities, then he is clearly not talking of mermaids as they are popularly known. Just think of it: how will the human half of a mermaid breathe in water with no gills? It is impossible for humans to breathe/respire in water and so if the top half of a mermaid was truly human as the folktales would have us believe, then mermaids just wouldn't be able to survive for longer than 30 minutes completely submerged in water. You might say "Oh well, it might have a gill attached somewhere on its upper body which might be hidden from view" but that answer immediately goes to show that anything which respires without lungs but instead with gills cannot be described as "human" in the first place.  From looking at that very unclear video above, it is plain that what the camera captured was definitely not a mermaid but some fuzzy marine creature like a seal etc. If a mermaid had been stirring about on those rocks in Israel, she would have been vastly larger in size than what was captured on film, and there would be no mistaking the demarcation between human half and fish half.

Conclusively, it is however possible that there might be creatures in the sea which superficially look like they might be hybrids of some sort--perhaps descendants of a possible evolutionary "aquatic ape" in possessing webbed hands, a definite CRESTED skull, front- or forward-facing eyes, and seemingly higher intelligence than other aquatic creatures. It would seem therefore that more and more of these hybrids are now being accidentally discovered, written about, drawn, photographed or perhaps even videotaped--nevertheless all of these fortuitous encounters fall far short of what Mermaids are really supposed to be. I suspect that there would have to be more radical and undeniable evidence discovered and trotted out before rightly skeptical minds begin to budge on this issue.

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