Check out this page from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's website, from the Ocean Facts subheading, and revel in your tax dollars' latest effort: the federal government has just informed us that mermaids aren't real. Because we were so concerned before!
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. Half-human creatures, called chimeras, also abound in mythology — in addition to mermaids, there were wise centaurs, wild satyrs, and frightful minotaurs, to name but a few.
But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists.
Why, indeed? Thanks for that deep thought, federal government. And hey America, aren't you so glad to know that someone on the federal dime -- your dime -- wrote this? Seriously: it's an entire blog post that says, "Everyone loves mermaids. Mermaids don't exist. So why does everyone love mermaids? Who knows!"
I certainly feel more informed; don't you?
Tax dollars: workin' hard, or hardly workin'?
h/t Amanda Carpenter