Recently Animal Planet released a hoax series called Mermaids: The New Evidence. A hoax to drive ratings, a scheme that got them those ratings, as over 3.6 million people tuned in to see what it was all about. Are mermaids real? Well, my sister was one of the many who succumbed to the trick and doesn’t believe the elaborate set up to be a fake. But I don’t believe in mermaids.
I believe in a lot of things. I certainly believe in life on other planets. I believe in ghosts, spirits, demons, gods, selkies, magic, etc. But I don’t believe in mermaids. So why? What is so different about mermaids that I can’t extend my belief to them?
Well, it’s because we haven’t found them yet. If you look at the classic mermaid archetype you have shallow water living creatures. Creatures with not a lot of skin protection who still need the sunlight sinking down to the shallower depths.
If these mermaids exist — the mermaids of most imaginations, which fish bottoms and human tops, with no scales or protective skin, who can get away with wearing seashells for modesty — they would have been discovered by now. According to most mermaid images, they sit on rocks by shores. Their homes are hidden below the water, near shipwrecks. They must eat the sea creatures that surround them. So they must be shallow enough that fishing boats, oil riggers, or deep sea explorers would have found them. I mean, have you seen some of the creepy things deep sea explorers have found?
Just for example… I think if we can find creepy ass viper fish, we can find a mermaid. Now true, 95% of the ocean hasn’t been explored. There’s a lot of fucking water and a lot of it is DEEP. Too pressurized to take a submarine down in deep. Too pressurized for a fish girl in a bikini to go swimming in deep. And there’s no light. And not a lot of food. No warmth. So if mermaids do exist, living hidden in the unexplored depths, they’re bound to look something like this:
Not the pretty image of your childhood.
But Alex, you say, Mermaids are magic. My sister said, “They are fantastic and camouflage.” And apparently a little risky, climbing up onto all of those rocks, saving humans from shipwrecks, trading their souls to the sea witch for legs… I diverge…
MAYBE, maybe magic and camouflage and rare mermaid invisibility makes it so that explorers can’t see the mermaids. But what about caught? What about dead? Caught first: Fisherman and whalers and those evil people who kill dolphins. You really think that in all the years that we’ve conquered the seas, no one has ever caught a mermaid? (Government coverup, you say? Pleeeeease.) Mermaids, the nice, flowing haired, busty bikini donning mermaids, would have been caught. Many of them. They would have gotten caught in a net, on some pollution, in a wreck, whatever. It would have happened.
But let’s go back to pollution. Even if mermaids did exist, and I’m in no way conceding that they did, there’s no chance they’d still be alive, not in any strength of number anyway. Look at whales. Population decline. Many species close to extinction, not all going through a comeback. The Blue Whales are currently at less than 1% of their original abundance. Less than 1%. That would be like if some catastrophe happened and only 71 million people survived. To put it in perspective, the only people left in the world would be the people living in California, Texas, and Colorado. That would be approximately 71 million people. And everyone else is dead, gone, vanished. That’s what has happened to the Blue Whale population.
So who’s to say this wouldn’t have happened to mermaids? Between exploration, pollution, fishing (taking away a food source), and oil spills… would there be any mermaids left? I think no. I think that they’re ancient clean water magics couldn’t be supported in human created filth of the 21st century and that we would have killed them all dead. And their bodies have sunk to the deepest reaches of the ocean and MAYBE, maybe one day we will find mermaid shaped skeletons. But it’s unlikely.
Also, I’ve been told that evolution just isn’t having it.
And that’s my unpopular theory of the week. Ta.