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The Animal Planet Mermaid Hoax

William writes about many different subjects, including mermaids, aquatic ape theory, goddess spirituality, and positive thinking.


Why Make a Fake Documentary About Mermaids?

A bogus documentary on mermaids was made by Animal Planet called Mermaids: The Body Found. It has been followed by a second installment called Mermaids: New Evidence.

It made claims that the body of a mermaid—or perhaps a merman—was found washed up on a beach and found by two boys. Then it was secretly taken away by the US navy. The video of this mermaid was of such poor quality that it didn't prove anything. It also gave a link to a website where a viewer could find footage. But when you went to it, there was nothing but a sign saying the website was closed down by homeland security. All very dramatic, I suppose, but more likely a hoax.

Sea otter using a stone on its chest to break open shellfish.

Sea otter using a stone on its chest to break open shellfish.

Claims Made By the Animal Planet Program

The video made some incredible claims, like fishermen have found spears in large fish and whales, and that aquatic humans make spears and hunt fish and sea mammals with them.

The problem is, in practical terms you cannot make a spear in the middle of an ocean, you have to come to land to do this. And if they came to land to make spears as well as the tools to make the spears, they would, sooner or later be seen by land humans. On land you have wood, flint-stones, bamboo, metals, threads, to make tools, knives and spears. You don't have these things in the middle of an ocean. Even if you did, you would need a raft to work on, to make these things.

It is true there are bones and teeth in the ocean, but how do you work them while swimming? These mermaids are air breathing so they would have to stay on the surface. If they let go of a bone or teeth they are working with, it will fall to the bottom, and in the ocean that can be a very long way. The only way it can be done is for the mer-person to float on its back and use it's chest as a workbench. Like what sea-otters do when breaking shell-fish. The difficulty of doing this would be enormous, and it could only be done in very calm waters. So where do you store your tools when the water is rough, in the middle of an ocean?

Within the documentary was some interesting information. It mentioned the Aquatic Ape Theory, and brought it to many people's attention, who never heard of it before. It even mentioned parts of the Aquatic Ape Theory, like wading, as the reason why humans walk upright.

Why we have subcutaneous fat around the bodies of humans to keep us warm in the water. Also why we have larger brains than any other ape, because of the seafood diet has more brain food in it, than food we obtain from land. The documentary also had a big effect on my blogs and videos on my mermaid theory.

Book by Elaine Morgan

Book by Elaine Morgan

The Other Aquatic Ape

How possible is it, that there are fully aquatic humans or apes living in the oceans? Because mermaid sightings have been very rare in the 20th and 21st centuries, to have a fully aquatic human living in the ocean means it would have to actively keep out of sight of land humans.

The only reason they would behave like this, would be that land humans in the past killed sea-humans. This would make sense as even today, people do kill seals, dolphins and whales and they were slaughtered in their millions by humans in the past. For this reason, aquatic humans would have good reason to keep out of sight of land humans

So how likely is this? The trouble is that chimpanzee, bonobos and humans descended from the same ape, 5-6 million years ago. Whereas animals like seal, sea-lions and walruses took about 15 million years to evolve to a marine animal from a land animal. Also, these animals are not fully aquatic as they have to come ashore to breed.

This would suggest that 5-6 million years is not long enough for a land animal to evolve to a marine animal. Though it seems there is another aquatic ape besides humans that is older. This was the oreopithecus or swamp ape

Oreopithecus was like a human, as it was bipedal and   aquatic

Oreopithecus was like a human, as it was bipedal and aquatic


This it seems was also a type of aquatic ape that live in Sardinia and Tuscany about seven to nine million years ago. Like humans, it walked on two legs and it seems lived in a semi-aquatic lifestyle.

This ape would then be a far better candidate to evolve into a fully aquatic ape simply because is an older species. But is 9 millions years long enough for a land animal to evolve into a fully aquatic animal? It might be if we look at whales and dolphins

Although the land ancestors of whales and dolphins where land animals 50 million years ago. Whale experts claimed they evolved from a land animal to a fully marine animal in as little as 8 million years. This fits in nicely with the oreopithecus that is 7 –9 million years old. So does this make it likely that any fully aquatic humans swimming in the oceans were descended from the oreopithecus? Well no, there are other problems with having a fully aquatic ape

Any fully aquatic mammal has to be able to drink salt-water and be able to sleep in the ocean without drowning. Whales and dolphins can only do this with half their brains asleep at a time. They would also have to be able to give birth in the ocean and look after it, in the same ways mother dolphins do. This all might be possible, but why haven't humans spotted mer-people like this is the ocean in the same way they have seen dolphins and whales?

The problem is that we now have extremely large trawlers with gigantic nets over 30 miles wide. These are called, "the wall of death", as they catch everything in it's path including dolphins. If there was fully aquatic ape swimming in the ocean then surely one of these trawlers would sooner or later catch one.

Japanese Ama Diver returning to the surface.

Japanese Ama Diver returning to the surface.

My Mermaid Theory

On the 18 May 2012, I got the shock of my life when I looked at the stats for my blog Mermaids are Real. Because suddenly—in one day—I had over 10,900 page views on my blog.

The next day it was nearly 6,000 page views, but then it crashed down to less than its normal daily rate. My mermaid video on Youtube also benefited. It didn't have such a spectacular rise, but the numbers did go up and have remained better ever since

At first, when this happened, I didn't know what was going on, but then after a web search I found out about the Animal Planet video. When I discovered it was about a mermaid body found on a beach, I dismissed it, as a cheap joke. But more recently I did take a look at the video, and saw it was a well made video with actors pretending to be fishermen and scientists, while other actors were made up to look like mermaids or mermen as well as apes. It also had clever special effects, so it wasn't just a cheap joke, a lot of time, money and effort was put in, to make this a very elaborate hoax. For what ends I don't know.

It would be interesting to know the motivation behind this video. I do know from experience that when I first put out my mermaids theory back in 2004, I found there are a lot of people who want to believe that there are mermaids in the sea with fish tails. I personally don't have any problem with this, as people should be free to believe whatever they like. As long as they don't try to force their beliefs, onto other people, like what religions and politics attempt to do.

So, perhaps the makers of the spoof mermaid documentary are making fun of mermaid believers. They also might be making fun of the Aquatic Ape Theory, but at the same time it is giving it a lot of publicity, which is what it needs. And I suppose it is also making fun of conspiracy theorists by directing them to the fake website.

Personally, I reject the whole idea of this video, that there are mermaids that live in the oceans. This is because my mermaid theory is that mermaid myths and sightings come from breath-holding divers like the ama and heanyo divers of Japan and Korea. These divers are ordinary human beings and don't have fish tails. The only way a woman could have a fishtail is if she puts on a monofin.

Mermaid costume

Mermaid costume

An Ongoing Legacy

Apparently, the mermaid program has become the most viewed of all the Animal Planet shows. So it seems that the motivation of this hoax was purely financial.

Though I do wonder if they pinched my idea, of connecting the mermaid myths with the Aquatic Ape Theory. Also the daily hits on my blog have since gone down a lot, but that has probably more to do with Google, than the Animal Planet program.

Mermaid Theory

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 William Bond


NickdaDick on November 06, 2019:

I'm not even a believer, but none of your counter arguments actually even made any sense. Whoever wrote this should be fired

Yog Sototh on July 31, 2019:

The claim that it is a hoax sounds even more like a hoax than the actual target movie.

Why on Earth would they need to float to the surface to work on tools if they can see underwater just like some Asian people do in the real documented world? Vision that adapts to the depths.

And why on Earth would they need to roll on their back like an otter to do the craft? They just can sit on the bottom of the ocean and that'S it.

Claiming the movie is a hoax is a thing, but at least bring clever arguments and not spoiled brat gibberish.

Loyal on March 09, 2019:

Believe in the impossible please!

Heinz Gronum on December 30, 2018:

I think your argument of not being able to make a weapon underwater make no sense as it is possible. Why would a mermaid be an air-breathing creature when they live underwater. I think that the video is fake but your counter-arguments are quite stupid.

William Bond (author) from England on September 17, 2016:

Dolphins have a brain larger than that of humans, so I don't think they need an aquatic human to teach them how to work with humans in catching fish. I'm sure they have the intelligence to work it out for themselves.

I think the mermaid myth is very powerful and people want to believe there are mermaids with a type of fish tail living in the ocean, but there is no proof of this. That is why I believe mermaid myths come from female breath-holding divers.

Christian on September 16, 2016:

I want to believe, I really do. Unfortunately the logical part of my brain won't fully let me. As far as making spears goes I'm sure they could make them underwater by stripping some kind of tough seaweed into many strong strands of rope, much like ancestors did with tree bark in tropical islands, and for the sharp part they could use anything sharp like bones that they grind on underwater rocks until sharp, simply rocks, stingray stingers. And then maybe keep them in their underwater den until the hunting squad goes out.

One thing I find interesting is that in Brazil there are Dolphins that chase fish into shore, humans throw the nets over the fish, then the humans throw half out to the Dolphins to pay for their share of the work. So who taught the Dolphins to do this? In this area there are cave paintings of mermaids doing that exact thing, working with humans and humans throwing their share out to them, but then after that it shows humans battling the mermaids. These are real ancient cave paintings. Maybe fish became scarce and humans would not throw their share back out? So maybe mermaids just learned to fear people more than anything and stay hidden under all circumstances?

But still, logic tells me we would have got some real proof eventually whether it be getting caught in a net, a dead one washing ashore, finding remains in the stomach of a predator, something or some way.

Like I said, I'd like to believe, and try to convince myself to believe, but just find it difficult to believe, logically, and that dumb mermaids documentary is just annoying and makes more people question truths than believe myths.

Patrick on June 16, 2014:

Should also mention that ancient cave drawings across several continents depicted human forms with aquatic features. These people had no way to communicate with other civilizations but somehow the pics were dramatically similar.

patrick on June 16, 2014:

I find your reasoning lacking especially about their ability to make tools. Water covers the majority of this planet and we've only fully explored a fraction of its mass. If mermaids exist they could easily hide in uncharted areas, much like the thousands of new species we've found in the last 100 years. Your scepticism is flawed by lack of forward thinking.

mermaid believer on September 27, 2013:

you dum mermaid a alive if you don't believe it so what no one care we believe and hello think there might be one possible way I hate nonbelievers I believe in magic I am not craycray ok k I just BELIEVE

Mike69 on August 29, 2013:

I think that some people need to think about what is in the water to sculpture a spear like sharp rocks and yes they would have to make them out of bone.

William Bond (author) from England on June 03, 2013:

Hi Chase, there would be a lot of problems trying to make a spear in the ocean. For a start what do you make it off? On land you have wood, and perhaps you can make one sharpening a stick, but even that requires a knife of some kind. In the stone age you had flint, but it requires a mermaid or merman to carry these rocks around with them. Not every helpful when trying to swim. Stone age people harden the points of their spears in fire, not an option in the water. Later they made flint pointed spears, requiring resin and binding of some kind. All of which is not available in the ocean. The only thing available to them would be bones of whales but they need to be worked, with some form of flint knives. Making flint knives in the ocean would be very difficult. The problems in making tools and weapons in the ocean would be far too great to be practicable.

Chase on June 03, 2013:

I like how you claim to disprove their theory except you use no actual evidence unlike the makers of the animal planet documentary. You say you couldn't make a spear under water, maybe you personally couldn't but I know I could and I'm neither a mermaid nore can I hold my breath for over a minute. It doesn't take a guinness to make a spear.

William Bond (author) from England on June 02, 2013:

Writer Fox, many mermaid stories come from fishermen who haven't been at sea for long periods, as well as people seeing mermaids from the shore.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on June 02, 2013:

I think sailors who had been out to sea too long invented mermaids.

William Bond (author) from England on June 02, 2013:

I can understand you wanting to believe in mermaids Thorin. It is a great myth but I would prefer to have more beautiful looking mermaids than that seen in 19th century freak shows, or even seen on Animal Planet.

thorin on June 01, 2013:

you guys are so ignorant there is to much information that is true and correct some of our ancestors did have a sagital crest on there skull the more gorrilla like ancestors and why couldn't the spears be made in the water that is just nonsense and why does the mermaid in the 1800 freak show resemble it so and have a sagital crest so many nonbelievers i begin to wonder who puts out all the dissinformation animal planet claims it to be real unlike any other myth docos i don't like what you guys say at all you have no facts

eric the decieved on May 30, 2013:

I will never watch this channel again. To put on a ''documentary'' and use false data goes wayyyy over the line. I don't believe the Navy is hurting whales either, why should I ? they lied about the evidence, so who says their evidence against the Navy is honest........Assholes

William Bond (author) from England on May 29, 2013:

I hope you are both right CoyoteRed and Matt Gross that the fake documentary will help in people becoming aware of the Naval sonar weapons. Though I would worry it could backfire in the fact that if the documentary is fake, then people might also think that the concern about the dangers of the Naval sonar weapons to dolphins and whales might be fake as well.

matt gross on May 29, 2013:

Does no one understand that the sole purpose of this documentary was to raise public awareness to Naval sonar weapons testing and its effects on whales... Pretty clever in my book...

William Bond (author) from England on May 27, 2013:

Well I suppose there are Germans who can speak perfect English. So I suppose they can claim he was bi-lingual.

wonderinwatsup on May 26, 2013:

why would they not bother to get an actual german to play the part of the fisherman? they spent all this money but then went the cheap route on that guy? i believe it to be a hoax, but comments like that do not make sense. but then again who knows....?

William Bond (author) from England on May 21, 2013:

Agreed, Me

me on May 21, 2013:

The video is a hoax - the "German fisherman" is not even German! He is a native English speaker.....

William Bond (author) from England on November 23, 2012:

I agree Darren. It gets very confusing for people when fact is mixed with fantasy.

Darren Cowan on November 23, 2012:

All the "educational" channels have turned into sensational entertainment. I think it's a distraction, a psy ops on the American people. I find cryptozoology very interesting, but I don't think these ideas should be presented on fact-based programs.

William Bond (author) from England on September 03, 2012:

Yes, it would be interesting to know who put up the finance of this Hoax and what was their motivation. I suppose you can't blame Animal Planet completely, if someone is going to pay them a lot of money to do this, then I suppose they are not going to turn it down.

People forget that all these shows cost a lot of money to produce. So it is the advertisers, or rich people with their own agendas, that get to say what are going to be the subject matter of these shows, and what message they want the public to hear.

christy on September 02, 2012:

I actually got pissed that they put up these "documentaries" on channels like animal planet, discovery, and (especially) history channel. The second I saw the girl scientist talking, I called a hoax (she was a bad actor btw). It's just the way they worded it on the tv guide, making it sound like an actual theory deceived me. Also, it was offensive to me as a "conspiracy theorist" when the writers included words and ideas like Orwellian and big brother. They are mocking people who are concerned about freedom and privacy, etc. God, if animal fucking planet wasted time and money on imagery hoaxes, why don't they at least show the real animals and creatures being wiped out and abused. I am disappointed, :/, I miss my old animal planet.

yo on July 17, 2012:

The "doctors" seem like actors - especially the female doctor.

William Bond (author) from England on June 20, 2012:

Thanks Bard

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on June 20, 2012:

This is a very interesting hub, William! I have voted up for it!

William Bond (author) from England on June 18, 2012:

Hi Bernard

Yes, i have heard about mermaids in Papua New Guinea before. Some time ago I came across a 19th book about New Guinea and the author describes meeting a tribe of duck feet people. I haven't got any other confirmation of this so I cannot say if it is true or not. But i have put the chapter of this book in the Appendix of my Mermaids blog.

I don't think mermaids have to be a mass hallucination, because in many of the mermaids stories and sighting the mermaids don't have fish tails, they are just ordinary woman swimming in the sea. In other stories the mermaids have two fish tails which may simply be two legs with perhaps flippers on them. I also think that mermaids is the past may of used a type of monofin. This is why I think mermaids are simply breath-holding divers.

Bernard Sinai from Papua New Guinea on June 18, 2012:

While there has not been any solid proof that mermaids exist, I keep an open mind.

In nearly every coastal seafaring there are stories of mermaid. Now, I think this is more than a coincidence. For example, in Manus, Papua New Guinea (PNG), there are stories of people descending from mermaids who mated with land dwellers. However, other parts of the world also have legends of mermaids, the Greeks, the British, the Chinese, the Thai and many others.

The fact that so many civilizations have stories of half-human, half-fish creatures does make you wonder if they were mass hallucinating or that something other than humans exist.