The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently posted a statement on their web site denying the existence of mermaids. NOAA enerally deals with environmental matters like tsunamis and hurricanes.
In the post titled, "No Evidence of Aquatic Humanoids Has Ever Been Found," NOAA has a number of observations.
Firstly, the belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species.
Secondly, 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.
Thirdly, 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, Discovery News reported.
Apparently the step was taken in response to the Animal Planet, who last month aired a TV show called Mermaids: The Body Found.
It was a documentary-style show that "paints a wildly convincing picture of the existence of mermaids, what they may look like, and why they've stayed hidden...until now," according to the show's press Web page.
"Mermaids: The Body Found makes a strong case for the existence of the mermaid..." the web page said.
Though the filmmakers acknowledged that the film is science fiction, for many people it was indeed "wildly convincing."
According to New York Times reviewer Neil Genzlinger, the story is "a fictional account built on a few strands of fact and made to look like an actual documentary. If you know those ground rules, it's a rather enjoyable and intriguing piece of work, in the same vein as The Blair Witch Project."
It seems that many people weren't aware of those ground rules, and were fooled into thinking that there was more fact than fancy in the show.