Whenever t here is a mention of a fairy tale character the little mermaid is one character we can never fail to recall. Most of the fairytale characters are fictitious. However, when it comes to mermaid there is a very small gap between reality and fiction. We will now in this article try to understand the actual truth behind all the hype that we often hear about mermaids. We hope that this article on the history of mermaids will help you get a better idea of the mermaids and how exactly they have evolved.
Water Water Everywhere
It has been proved that in the beginning there was only water that surrounded the surface of the earth. Life first formed in the water and slowly moved to the land. Mermaids are interesting creatures that have the body of a fish from waist to down and on waist up they have a human body. Most of the mermaids are extremely beautiful and have long hair. So mermaids stay mostly in water but they can survive on land too. However, the mermaids cannot walk. If we look at biology and the science of evolution it is not possible for a creature to be half amphibian and half mammal. However, there are many exceptions in the history of evolution and this can be one too.
When we talk about mermaids these are women hardly is there a mention of a man as a mermaid. These mermaids cannot talk and shy away from humans. Interestingly there is a mention of mermaids in almost all the cultures of the world. There are stories and a lot of folklore about these interesting creatures. The question arises if these are only fictional characters then how come they find a mention in various cultures. It also drives us to an interesting theory that perhaps in the olden days there was actually a creature that looked like a mermaid. Many sightings have been reported of mermaids but no proof has ever been received. This makes the theories even stranger.
The First Mention of Mermaid
The first mention of a mermaid was in Greek mythology. The goddess Atargatis fell in love with a human who was a shepherd. She accidentally killed her human lover. She was so ashamed of herself that she jumped to a lake and became a fish. Eventually she turned herself into a mermaid. Since then there have been mention of mermaids in many stories related to Greek mythology. Even the sister of Alexander became a mermaid after her death. It is said that king Ravan of Lanka had a daughter who was a mermaid. She was sent to stop Hanuman from attacking Lanka. However, she fell in love with Hanuman and could not stop him from attacking Lanka. This part of Ramayana is more popular in Thailand than in India tough. These were the oldest mention of mermaids that can be found in history.
What Christopher Columbus Saw?
Christopher Columbus was a famous sailor and he did discover many continents. He too had mentioned in one of his notes that he had spotted a mermaid near the Caribbean islands. Christopher Columbus was a great sailor and we must give some importance to whatever he had mentioned. He spotted this creature once in 1493. He could not capture an image as at that time cameras were not known. However, he makes a detailed description of what he saw.
Some experts may argue that when you spend a long time at the sea you may mistake some illusion for reality. Sea can play strange games with the human mind. Maybe what Christopher Columbus saw was just a figment of his imagination. Well these arguments have been going on for a long time now. Many sailors have also reported the sighting of mermaid in the deep sea. It is humanly impossible for a human to swim deep into the sea and be sighted by these sailors. Most of the sailors also confirm that the mermaids are very fast in their movements.
The mermaids also have a good voice and they sing beautifully. Sometime they are seen sitting on a rock and singing. They generally shy away from humans. Some scientists say that as sailors spend months in the sea and do not get to see women sometimes they may hallucinate women. This is exactly why most of the mermaid stories are of women hardly there is a mention of a man making this theory more believable so far. If the mermaids were true then there must be men too why are only women spotted.
Some sailors also say that the mermaids are messengers of doom. Whenever one is sighted it means that trouble is ahead. They can mean rains, storms and also ship wreck. This is exactly why the sailors would become more cautious once they spotted a mermaid. Many sailors have survived to say that the spotted a mermaid just before a ship wreck. Slowly mermaids became a sign of disaster to the sailors.
In 1842 a mermaid was spotted in Burma. In 2009 many reported that they had seen a mermaid in Israel. In 2012 mermaids were seen in Zimbabwe by workers who refused to get back to the site. In 2012 animal planet came up with a 90 minute documentary on mermaids. They claimed that mermaids were real and they did exist. They were half ape and half fish. The theory is also called the aquatic ape theory. The theory was first introduced by a German Max Westenhöfer. He claimed that our ancestors spent a lot of time adapting to the water and the land. When there was a mass drying of seawater on earth these creatures were forced to adapt themselves to land. Many have criticised this concept.
This is mainly because there are no fossils to prove the concept. However, there are many who support the theory as human babies even today have a natural ability to swim when they are put inside water. They can also hold the breath even without any training it comes to them naturally and is possible only when man had evolved from water habitat. A lot more study has to be done before this theory is actually proved. The efforts are on to ensure that the claims are true we will have to wait until the scientific community accepts the theory as rational.
Animal planet in 2013 came up with a video that was shot in Iceland. It showed a human like creature under water. Nevertheless, there is no proof till date to support that mermaids did exist. Most importantly we need a fossil that can prove these claims to be authentic. All creatures that were ever born on earth have some fossil or the other. The mermaids were half humans and thus must have had a skeleton. This is why finding a fossil becomes all the more critical to prove the existence of mermaids. Science needs proof. At this point in time the concept of mermaid remains to be a fictional character in the scientific community.
Maybe sometime in the future we will be able to reach to understand the mystery of how the concept of mermaids actually evolved in such a similar manner all across the world. Mermaids have been depicted in many sculptures, arts, paintings and stories across the world. It is a legendary character that will keep fascinating humans for a long time to come.
Some also put forward the theory that mermaids could be extra terrestrial beings too. They are spotted in the deep ocean and vanish off at the blink of an eye. There are many such interesting theories that do find mention in the history of mermaids. However, we are yet to come up with a theory that is proved and can be trusted.
Many women dress as mermaids and they perform in many shows to entertain the tourists. There is one such performance in Florida too. In Japan there are women divers who dive deep into the sea wearing just a loincloth. They have been doing this for about two thousand years. They mostly do these activities near the rocks. Some children even today do belive that mermaids to exists. Perhaps we should let the magic of mermaids live on.
In this article we have tried to cover almost all the aspect of the history of mermaids. The stories associated with the mermaids are interesting and they make us think. If we look at scientifically it is perhaps not possible that mermaids ever evolved. However, they maybe a mystical character and they still live in the deep oceans. They find a mention in all cultures and stories across the world. If the creature was not real then how come people across the world spotted those years back? It is very difficult to imagine that so many cultures that had never interacted with each other could imagine a fictional character. There is a great similarity between the mermaids that have been imagined by all these cultures making the theory even more believable.