Cristobal Colon (better known as Christopher Columbus) recorded the following in the log of his famous voyage: "[A crewman] saw three mermaids, who rose very high from the sea, but they are not so beautiful as they are painted, though to some extent they have a human appearance about the face."

Some families in Scotland and Ireland still claim descent from mermaids. The Orkneys have slightly webbed hands because an ancestress of theirs comforted herself from an unhappy marriage by dallying with a selkie, a type of merman who is part seal. The MacCodrums were descended from a selkie woman whose sealskin had been stolen by a mortal man as she danced on the beach. Without her skin she could not return to the sea, so she married the man. On the other side of the Atlantic, the American Indian tribe called Penobscot also claimed descent from a mermaid.

Historical sightings of mermaids and mermans
On November 3, 1523, Ambrose Pare, the French Surgeon General and an illustrious physician reported a sighting of a merman the size of a five year-old human. The merman was "like to a man even to the navell, except the ears; in the other parts it resembled a fish."

Hendrik [Henry] Hudson's men saw a mermaid on June 15, 1608. "From the Navill upward, her backe and breasts were like a woman's... her skin very white; and long haire hanging down behinde, of colour blacke; in her going downe they saw her tayle, which was like the tayle of a Porposse, and speckled like a Macrell," Hudson recorded.

In 1620, Captain Richard Whitbourne saw a mermaid while standing by the water at St. John's Harbor in Newfoundland. She had a beautiful face, but blue streaks on her skin instead of hair. Her tail was proportioned "like a broad hooked Arrow."

In 1614, Captain John Smith, sailing in the West Indies, saw a mermaid "swimming with all possible grace near the shore." Echoing Dr. Pare, he observed that her ears were rather too long, but that she was otherwise beautiful. Her hair was green and she was a fish from the waist down.

In 1717 near the island of Borne, a mermaid was caught. "It was 59 inches long and in proportion as an eel... it uttered little cries like those of a mouse." Nearby, in 1652 more than fifty people saw a merman and mermaid, both greenish grey with tapering bodies, swimming side by side.

In 1739, some fishermen near the city of Exeter saw a merman with both webbed feet and a salmon-like tail. Its nose was "somewhat depress'd" and it was about four feet long.


In Campbelltown, Scotland, in 1811, a farmer was walking on the seashore when he spied something white on a black rock some distance from shore. He climbed along the rocks until he could see it. It was a white-skinned merman with a reddish-grey tail. He had long hair and was between four and five feet tall. A few days later, a young girl of the town saw a merman diving off a rock into the sea. He had long dark hair, white skin, and a tapering, dark brown tail.

At Port Gordon in Scotland, some fishermen saw a merman with remarkably long arms, a large mouth, and short grey-green curls. He dove out of sight and then returned with a mermaid to look at the fishermen.

In 1931 on the Scottish island of Benbecula, a dead mermaid was found and buried near the shore by the sheriff. "The upper part of the creature was about the size of a wellfed child of three or four years of age, with an abnormally developed breast." She had long dark hair and white skin. "The lower part of the body was like a salmon, but without scales."

In 1938, a Dr. Donnelly was fishing near the Virgin Islands when he spotted a mermaid. Every day for a week she would follow his boat, tugging on his fishing line and then, when he hauled up the empty hook, would surface and laugh. Her hair was short and fuzzy. Her skin was fishbelly white. She was not beautiful, but the doctor reported that she seemed to have human intelligence.

some mermaid pics

Aquatic Ape theory in support of memaid existance
The "aquatic ape" theory was devised by Sir Alister Hardy in 1960, and was used extensively by Elaine Morgan in her excellent book The Descent Of Woman. It begins in the Pliocene era, which lasted from 10 to 1 million years ago. It was an era of drought, unfriendly to the tree-dwelling, primarily herbivorous Proconsul apes whose descendants include Homo sapiens. Proconsuls could not survive this era unless they lived near some body of water. Judging from the fossils before and the fossils after this era -- there are almost none from during it -- this period had a profound effect on our evolution. The changes that took place are due to the exposure to water.

Proconsuls were accustomed to climbing trees to escape predators such as big cats. With most of the trees dried up and dead, they instead ran into the water, walking upright to get as far away from the threatening animal as they could while keeping their heads above water. Tree-dwelling primates can walk upright even if, like Proconsul, their usual mode is quadrupedal. They were safe there, because cats hate water. Furthermore, they were nice and cool there, out of the hot sun.

The sea had other advantages. The lack of trees in that drought had eliminated Pronconsul's customary food source -- fruit -- but there were new foods on the beach: crabs, shrimp, the eggs of sea birds, and a little later, when these apes became smart enough to use tools to open them, clams and oysters and lobsters. The shift to a meat diet did not present serious problems for these apes, because even in the trees they had been accustomed to eat insects and bird eggs at times.


In the first place, mermaids are probably smaller than we are. This makes sense, because the Proconsul apes were shorter than we are. The Benbecula mermaid was "about the size of a well-fed child of three or four years of age, with an abnormally developed breast." This suggests that she was full grown at a small size. Most of the other mermaids are described as being between four and five feet long.

The Benbecula report also tells us that mermaids have humanlike breasts. This is not implausible, since manatees and dugongs have breasts much like ours. Most of the reports give their mermaids long hair, and this too accords with the aquatic ape theory.

Judging from the sightings, they probably have flat noses, something like a Negroid or Mongoloid nose. Since it is generally believed that one of these two races was the first human race, that makes sense. Their ears are also reported to be too long, so perhaps millenia in the water has reshaped them.

A mermaid's body is tapering, and her tail is like a dolphin's, or perhaps like a seal's. In any case, her tail is not scaled.

Mermaid coloring seems to be varied. Most sightings have their skin very white -- fishbelly white --although it is also reported as greenish grey or with blue streaks. Their tails are said to be reddish-grey, dark brown, or even speckled. And their hair is black, grey-green, or blue -almost never the fabled golden.
Sightings suggest that they are at least smart, if not our equals.
Mermaids can predict the weather and sometimes warn humans of storms. Most animals who are closer to nature than humans can do this.
Mermaids are also characterized as being wanton, vain, and beautiful. The Babylonian mermaid goddess Atargatis was represented thus, as where the Apsaras, and the Jalpari or water-fairy of the Punjab district.


In Different Views
Scientists do not think it’s possible for a creature to exist that is half mammal and half fish, the two species are simply too far apart in terms of vertebrate’s evolution. The The fish was caught in a shark gill net by Captain Goosen and his crew, who had no idea of the significance of their find. They thought the fish was bizarre enough to alert the local museum in the small South African town of East London.popular scientific theory is that manatees or sea cows are what some sailors have seen and, due to long voyages at sea and malnutrition, have mistaken them for human-like creatures. The manatees are found in coastal regions and have a fish-like tail, but they could never be described as having a comely face. Even though we know very little about our oceans, with such a tiny portion of it explored; scientists still believe it unlikely mermaids are creatures yet to be discovered. They agree that there are many animals that we don’t know about yet and sometimes creatures are discovered; like the Coelacanth, ("see-la-kanth"), that 400 million year old "living fossil" fish, pre-dating the dinosaurs by millions of years and once thought to have gone extinct with them, 65 million years ago, the Coelacanth with its "missing link" "proto legs" was "discovered" alive and well in 1938 at the mouth of the Chalumna River on the east coast of South Africa. But the truth is, say the scientists, that the deep-sea areas have only become inhabited fairly recently in geological terms; so the likelihood of anything popping up from mythology is pretty low.

So does this mean that the mermaids of myth and legend have never existed? Some argue that there is a link between the Sirens of Homer’s Odyssey and mythological mermaids; the only problem with this is that the Mediterranean Sea, where the Odyssey is set, completely dried up around 10 million years ago and only started to refill recently during the times of mankind. In early Homer references the sea was as dry as a desert. This means that ancient Western stories from the Mediterranean cannot have creatures of this kind in them brought over from ancient times. But the interesting thing about mermaids is that stories about them come from all over the world, from different countries and cultures; as if they are part of the human collective memory. In West Africa, Mami Wata is a Vodou goddess of the sea who appears in mermaid shape; she is kind to women and often blesses them with children, Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a manbut has special sympathies for barren women. The Babylonian God Oannes is said to be the first recorded creature part man, part fish; Lord of the Waters.

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