The United States' National Ocean Service has publicly declared that there is no evidence of mermaids, dashing the hopes of many who have claimed to see the mystical creatures. The statement came after the premiere of a new series on the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet, "Mermaids: The Body Found."
"No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found," the agency posted online in response to inquiries from viewers of Animal Planet's series about mermaids. Many viewers thought the show was an actual documentary and began doing research and seeking the truth about the mythical creatures.
Mermaids have long been a legend and, with the Animal Planet's special, have begun a resurgence of popularity. However, some have begun poking fun at the public's reaction to the fake documentary and criticized the fact that many actually believe in the creatures.
"How bizarre that on the same day Europe discovers Higgs, the US has to deny the existence of mermaids & zombies," tweeted Bruce Hood.
It's true that the United States government has had to issue a statement denying the actuality of zombies, in response to several cannibalistic attacks. At least one person has asked whether the popularity of shows such as "The Walking Dead" might be a factor in people's questioning whether zombies are real.
"Such a good program," noted Coffey on the Unexplained Mysteries website. "I think it might be making the zombie thing more popular. Especially as they mentioned the CDC. The whole thing is a mess because of the media."
But do questions about zombies and mermaids show a lower understanding of fact and fiction, or does it point to a need to believe in the supernatural? Even the National Ocean Service has asked why so many choose to believe in mermaids and other mythical creatures.
"Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That's a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists."