Federal agency reports: Sorry, no such thing as mermaids

A woman costumed as a mermaid in Venice Beach, California (REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn)
The United States’ most trusted authority on all things sea-people has finally confirmed that, no, there is no such thing as mermaids. Sorry.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federally-run division of the United States Department of Commerce, has published a page on their official website that addresses recent rumors that question the authenticity of the half-man/half-fish hybrid. You know — just in case you had a hunch that maybe amphibious, finned humans are an actual thing.

On a NOAA page included under the “Ocean Facts” section, the administration has published an article addressing the age-old question: are mermaids real?

“No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found,” writes NOAA. “Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers and anthropologists.”

The NOAA-penned explanation comes weeks after television network Animal Planet began airing Mermaids: The Body Found, a special that advertises itself as being able to paint “a wildly convincing picture of the existence of mermaids, what they may look like and why they’ve stayed hidden…until now.” The two-hour special was aired during the network’s Monster Week, May 21-28. On the Animal Planet site, the network notes that the new show “brings viewers into the world where the legend is real.”

“Mermaids: The Body Found makes a strong case for the existence of the mermaid, a creature with a surprisingly human evolutionary history, whose ancestral branch splits off from a shared human root,” reads a press release about the special. The statement’s author adds that, although the film is science fiction, its producers used “science as a springboard into imagination” and did incorporate a couple of real-life events into the special, including covert sonar tests conducted by the US Navy during the 1990s and other findings, including tests actually conducted by the NOAA.

“The film blends real-life events and phenomena with the story of two scientists who testify they found the remains of a never-before-identified sea creature. Spectacular CGI animates a world where mermaids really do swim below the water’s surface, cooperatively hunt with dolphins and may continue to survive in an intricate society where they stay hidden in fear of their Earth-bound relatives.”

Apparently the success of Mermaids: The Body Found was significant enough that it prompted a federally run agency to address the highly debated topic. The news shouldn’t come as a shocker to producer, however, who note on the special’s website that the film “is so compelling with evidence and so credible” that the network was re-broadcasting it throughout Monster Week.

The NOAA's formal rejection of the mermaid myth comes but only one month after the Centers for Disease Control was prompted to tell Americans that, no, there is no zombie apocalypse in the US.