A science fiction program called Mermaids: The Body Found aired on the Animal Planet channel over the weekend. Similar to The Blair Witch Project, the program was a fictional account of the discovery of a mermaid body. The program was filmed in the style of a documentary.
Given the documentary feel to the show, many people who watched it believed that a mermaid body had really been found, even though the program clearly stated that it was intended as science fiction rather than fact. The website Examiner adds that the audience may have also been confused because the film claimed to “be based on some real events.”
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a statement to clear up any confusion. NOAA clarified that “no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found,” thus refuting the belief that mermaids are real. The organization has issued similar statements in the past regarding other oceanic myths like the Lost City of Atlantis.
PlanetSave.com has more from the statement, which explains the prevelance of mermaid lure throughout history. The website reports that NOAA said, "The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. Magical female figures first appear in cave paintings in the late Paleolithic (Stone Age) period some 30,000 years ago, when modern humans gained dominion over the land and, presumably, began to sail the seas." The statement also mentions instances of mermaids in popular culture. "The ancient Greek epic poet Homer wrote of them in The Odyssey," it said. "In the ancient Far East, mermaids were the wives of powerful sea-dragons, and served as trusted messengers between their spouses and the emperors on land."
Sadly, Disney's classic film The Little Mermaid, was not mentioned.