Most beachcombers find interesting rocks and shells. Occasionally a treasure shows up, like a message in a bottle, a fossil, a or someone’s lost jewelry. For centuries, “mudlarkers” have made combing shores of oceans, lakes, and rivers into a high art form, and technology can even help with that, such as adding metal detecting into the mix. One of my favorite things to do as a child was go searching for “mermaid tears” (battered seagrass) or “mermaid purses” (the egg case of a skate or even a shark).
But mermaid hands? That’s a new one for me. Yet that is exactly what these beachcombers in Brazil believe they’ve tumbled across. Let’s investigate.
In the video, which is tough to follow as it’s in Portuguese with no subtitles, a couple on the beach in Ilha Comprida, São Paulo State, Brazil are marveling at a giant, sandy hand skeleton they have found on the shore. Based on the flip flops seen in the video, the hand is over a foot long and the finger another foot.
That’s one big mermaid!
What is far more likely is that we are looking at the skeleton hand of a marine mammal, such as a dolphin or whale. Remember, under those flippers, they’ve got handbooks just like their land-dwelling ancestral mammals had. Just like we have. (In fact, some cetaceans even have vestigial “leg” bones hiding under all that blubber).
The couple sent the bones to a biologist for further investigation, who also concluded the shape belonged to a marine mammal, but couldn’t determine which sort without more in-depth testing, due to what is suspected to be at least eighteen months of decomposition.