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Mermaids 
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Post Mermaids
My friend sent this out in a mass email and has given me permission to post it here. I thought it was really thought provoking:

Recently on Animal Planet they re-aired their mockumentary Mermaids:The Body Found followed by a new special Mermaids:The New Evidence. Having watched the first special last year I eagerly awaited the new special. It was just as interesting as I was hoping it would be. For those of you who haven't watched this it is a mockumentary (fake documentary) about a group of scientist who find proof of an "aquatic primate" aka a mermaid. They then show "footage" as evidence of the mermaids existence. Much of this footage looked real. Actually, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that when I first watched it last year I was one of the many people who missed the disclaimer in the beginning and thought that it was real, only to find out the truth later. Still, it has caused a lot of conversation and raised a lot of questions: is it possible mermaids are real? what else could be out there? I say it's entirely possible, especially when it comes to species in the water. The oceans are huge and we haven't really explored them as well as we could. Just in the past decade they've discovered two previously undiscovered species of whales. What else could be out there? So I'm going to choose to believe in the mermaids. Why you may ask? Simple. Reason one:I personally believe it's a little arrogant of humans not to be open to the possibility that there might be another species on the planet with higher reasoning skills. Reason two: Believing in things like mermaids, loch ness, big foot ect opens people to a whole new world of possibilities. If you look at the world as a place full of new and exciting things to discover I think it heightens your chances of making a great impact on the world. And last but not least Reason three: The world is a much better place with magic in it and mermaids are certainly magical. I recently had a baby girl and she has opened my eyes in ways I never thought possible. I want her to live in a magical world where mermaids swim in the ocean and fairies visit you in your dreams. Who doesn't want their children to feel that way? Maybe if we encourage kids to look at the world like this instead of the logical way that seems to be taking over our world, we'll have some more Einsteins, Jaques Cousteaus, or Steve Jobs running around. Just a thought.



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Wed May 29, 2013 12:09 pm
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Post Re: Mermaids
Thanks for posting this. I saw this on Facebook this morning along with a photo of what looked like an archaelogical excavation of a human skeleton with a fish tail. I don't know what this says about me, but I immediately knew it was either an outright hoax or just the TV channel creating a television mockumentary (a different kind of hoax), probably concealing the disclaimer so as to maximize the show's appeal to the suggestible. I'm naturally skeptical and I also remember the alien autopsy show from a few years back. TV producers will obviously resort to such dishonest tactics to increase their viewership.

Is it possible there are such things as mermaids? I have to think it's right up there with alien visitations, bigfoot and lochness. It's not impossible, just not very likely. If the mermaid has a skeleton, as shown in the photo, there seems a very good chance we would have actual found lots of evidence of it by now. Then again, it's possible that our myths about mermaids were informed by actual sightings and maybe there's a plausible reason why mermaid skeletons have never washed up on shore.

But thinking about the evolutionary family tree, I have no idea where a mermaid would fit in the grand scheme of things. Does it have gills? Is it a mammal? You start asking questions like this, it becomes an increasingly fantastic story. Not impossible. But it's actually much more likely that this is a hoax than that real mermaids once existed or still exist.

I agree that it's fun to believe of such possibilities. Alas I'm probably too old and cranky and skeptical at this point in my life to give it much more than a "yeah, right." But I'm glad we live in a world of all types of people, some a little more willing to suspend disbelief than others.

Ghosts are much more interesting to me than mermaids. For my thesis a few years back I submitted part of a ghost story novel, and this is what I said in the introduction:

"We want to live in a comfortably structured world, but in an ironic sense, we are also relieved when something unknown and strange confronts us, for it verifies there are still things out there that are mysterious and unknowable. A safe world, free from demonic possessions and ghosts, is boring and sterile. A sense of danger is something that still excites and enthralls us. We want to believe there are still monsters lurking about at the edge of the sea, just waiting for a chance to devour any ship that ventures too far."


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Last edited by geo on Wed May 29, 2013 1:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Wed May 29, 2013 1:27 pm
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Post Re: Mermaids
Here's the photo I saw on Facebook this morning.

Image

Some of the comments are pretty funny. Love the diversion into "bacterial vaginosis."

"Why are people so quick to yell FAKE ?..... you don't know what's out there. Did you make the world and everything on it ?? Hell no !!! So shut up"

"Photoshop"

"Omg people seriously? The show on discovery, "the body found", ISN'T REAL...Says right at the end of the show in the credits that its SCIENCE FICTION BASED ON NO EVIDENCE, JUST THEORY...Everyone on the show were ACTORS lol.."

"You all should watch the documentary "Mermaids: The Body Found" which aired on the Discovery channel and is now on You Tube. A team of scientists found the body of a mermaid. No joke. They actually do exist."

"Finally an answer to why some women smell like fish... Ancient DNA... I know bad boy ...bad boy bad.... lol"

"if they smell like fish they probably have bacterial vaginosis, a very common occurance when a woman's natural flora is unbalanced due to illness, certain medications such as antibiotics or even certain foods can all cause this balance to shift causing the odor."

"I don`t believe it is real, but I do think it is important to remember that the city of Troy was a myth untill Heinrich Schlieman discovered it in the 1800s."

"One cannot believe everything posted on the internet"- Abraham Lincoln"

And so on . . .


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Wed May 29, 2013 1:43 pm
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Post Re: Mermaids
Lol! Thanks for posting that geo. That is the first time I'm seeing that photo. They made it look a little more realistic on the mockumentary. Actually they did a really good job with the program. They based all their claims on a scientific theory "aquatic ape theory". They took all the work these scientist have done and based what their mermaids looked like, the start of their evolutionary process, ect on them. The evolution theory is that millions of years ago our ancestors were faced with some natural disaster that had them choosing either water or land. Some fled more inland and some fled into the water where they learned to adapt and eventually evolved into mermaids. They're reshowing it on and off all week so if you get the chance you should check it out.



Wed May 29, 2013 1:46 pm
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Post Re: Mermaids
Mermaids? no.

Not as depicted in fantasy.

I'm sure you all know it's a fake already, but how to tell the photo is fake.

The man is shot laterally, squatting, with the photographer on the same level. He's been superimposed on an image that was shot from above looking into a hole.

anatomically, the artist who faked this image left in a prominent hip structure, but no indication of vestigial leg bones.

[img]
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... eleton.png[/img]

these are still prominent even in whales who's evolutionary heritage and divergence from their land-stuck brethren took place millions, not thousands of years ago. Human anatomy as shown in the top portion of the fake was not in that state until, at the earliest a million years or so ago, with solid numbers putting us closer to 200,000 years.

It's hard to imagine the bottom half of the anatomy in a sister lineage would change so radically, with almost no alteration to the upper half.

In addition, it seems they have adapted the feet bones to act as the fin at the end, but as i noted there are no leg bones apparent, and instead they attach these to a spine which has far many more vertebrae than we, or our proven relatives do.

I'm not aware of any examples in a break in bone structure which is rejoined at a different point like shown in that image.

classical depictions of mermaids also face the problem of having fish scales and fins and a primate's upper body. all of these structures are rooted in the lineage of the creatures they belong to. A fish fin is different from an aquatic mammal's flipper, or a whale's fluke. The internal structures are completely different, owing to the fact that they are variations of existing structures, rather than whole-sale inventions as appears to be the case with the extra vertebrae and lateral spines in the image.

Lots and lots wrong with that image, even if you start with the idea that mermaids are real, you can tell that that isn't one.

The same way you can tell an archeopteryx skeleton from a chicken. The archeopteryx was real, but building a shape out of chicken bones won't hold up to much scrutiny.


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Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Wed May 29, 2013 2:05 pm
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Post Re: Mermaids
Here are a couple of images of the show's version of mermaids. They aren't great. I couldn't find a good one. lol.


Attachments:
mermaid2.jpg
mermaid2.jpg [ 6.47 KiB | Viewed 4660 times ]
meraids.jpg
meraids.jpg [ 6.57 KiB | Viewed 4660 times ]

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Post Re: Mermaids
Do mermaids exist? Good question. If you look at the biology of a mermaid, you either have an impossible merger of the Class Pisces with the Class Mammalia, or the tail is not covered with scales. Gills and breasts are also mutually exclusive. So a genuine mermaid (with functioning breasts) would have to be an aquatic, air-breathing mammal with flukes. Does such a creature exist? Of course it does. It's called the manatee, and lives mostly in Florida. These gentle giants have (the females) breasts between their upper appendages, and it is believed that Spanish sailors viewing the creatures holding their young out of the water to suckle gave rise to the legend of the mermaid. Personally, after looking at pictures of manatees, I think the sailors had been away from home (and their wives and sweethearts) far too long. :wink:

To view manatees, go to Google images and enter manatee in the seach box. :)

A personal note to Olivia22; thanks for posting these quirky and mischevious posts. They help me with a needed smile when a day has not gone well. :)


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Wed May 29, 2013 6:49 pm
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Post Re: Mermaids
My pleasure Cattleman. Always happy to bring a smile to someone's face. I love quirky things myself and I always love to share them. :D

I personally think the legend of mermaids started with the manatees as well but I say if kids start thinking mermaids are a possibility and the way to find them is through science then that is a good thing.



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Post Re: Mermaids
"I want to believe." --The X Files

I don't know if they exist or not, but I like the idea of having a little magic in my world. There are mermaid stories all over the world, from Africa to Australia. Maybe we just haven't found them yet, or maybe they don't want to be found. Maybe sailors were really plastered and lusted over manatees. (Never been that drunk myself, but hey, whatever floats your boat.) Nevertheless, there's something magical about the ocean, a powerful pull to uncover its mysteries...



Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:29 pm
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Post Re: Mermaids
I think the manatee hypothesis is just an urban myth. One can see the roots of the mermaid stories in the Greek epics. Case in point. The siren. A beautiful woman who reposes on a rock who has an enchanting voice to lure sailors to their doom. Sounds an awful lot like mermaid tales.

Furthermore since I actually live in Florida and am very familiar with manatees, I just can't see it. Usually only the nostrils of the manatee will appear above the water. Colombus probably made the story up. I mean he did have an interest in making money from the region. He probably tried to make it seem more exotic and fantastical.



Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:03 pm
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Post Re: Mermaids
I agree. Probably a marketing campaign for tourists. :)



Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:12 pm
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