Wish mermaids could be part of our world?
On Sunday, the Discovery Channel re-aired Mermaids: The Body Found, an intriguing special which speculated about the real-life existence of the mythical half-man, half-fish creatures in ancient times. (The two-hour special first aired on Animal Planet in May.)
Using CGI technology and a faux-documentary approach, Mermaids depicted two fictional oceanographers with so-called evidence about the discovery of an actual mermaid skeleton. The program managed to confuse enough viewers to prompt a clarification from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration after the first airing of the special.
"The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species," the NOAA statement reads. "But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists. "
In one staged scene in the special, an actor is show "discovering" the body of a supposed mermaid on the beach in Washington State.
But from the get-go, the network was up-front that the special was speculative.
"What if there's a kernel of truth behind the legend of this mythic creature?" a program description reads. "Is the idea of mermaids really so far-fetched? Maybe so, maybe not. The show itself, though science fiction, is based on some real events and scientific theory."