Mermaids: 'New Evidence' on Animal Planet Turns Viewers Into Believers

Image: Mermaids: 'New Evidence' on Animal Planet Turns Viewers Into Believers The Little Mermaid Statue by Edvard Eriksen, 1913, on a rock in Copenhagen’s harbor.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 09:52 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Mermaids, fictitious, mythical creatures, continue to drive interest for Animal Planet viewers, after the network’s new Monster Week special “Mermaids: The New Evidence” made some question whether the half-human, half-fish beings exist.

Last year, a renewed fascination in the humanoids sparked from Animal Planet's first feature, "Mermaids: The Body Found," forced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to release an official statement.

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“Are mermaids real?” NOAA said, “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.”

The new program, which will likely be similar to "Mermaids: The Body Found," opens with alleged new evidence of the creatures' existence. American tourists in Israel claim to have caught footage of a mermaid and tell viewers there is a $1 million reward for anyone who can provide more footage of the aquatic humanoid.

Next, the "mockumentary" presents evidence of mermaids in the United Kingdom. A figure that looks like a mermaid jumps out of the water and glares at the camera as two men struggle to capture it. One scientist claims the creature is just a seal, Animal Planet’s lead scientist argues it's a mermaid.

The show also contends a mermaid was spotted on the coast of Greenland, showing underwater footage to corroborate the sighting.

According to the program, P.T. Barnum, the famous partner in the Barnum and Bailey circus team, had a real mermaid he was about to reveal at one of his expositions in 1865 before the venue burnt down.

Speculation of mermaids' existence surrounding first program forced the urban legend website Snopes.com to debunk the myth.

While concrete evidence of mermaids remains elusive, Animal Planet's ratings skyrocketed; as many as 32 million people tuned into “Mermaids: The Body Found.”

Twitter users appeared open to the idea of mermaids after watching the first feature.

“Think about it there are so many things on the earth that we don’t know about #mermaids may be one of them,” user Edith Molina wrote.

Meanwhile, others were dismissive.

“Mermaids: The New Evidence . . . I’ve waited almost a year for this, give me a minute while I nerd on the floor #mermaid,” Kaylyn Nicols wrote.

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