U.S. Government Says Mermaids Aren't Real

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 2 2012 10:31 AM

Federal Agency Wades Into Mermaid Debate

103250735
A swimmer dressed in a mermaid costume performs at Chiang Mai zoo aquarium in Thailand.

Photo by Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images

In an attempt to bring clarity to one of the great scientific debates of our time—of any time—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has taken a strong stand on the existence of mermaids.

No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found,” the federal agency declares in a statement on its website.

Advertisement

NOAA, better known for issuing reports on such topics as fishery stocks and climate trends, was apparently moved to wade into the mermaid debate by an Animal Planet special that made the case for the mythical creatures’ existence. The special, called “Mermaids: The Body Found,” threw together “evidence” such as cave drawings, injuries to beached whales, and mysterious deep-ocean bloops to paint what it calls “a wildly convincing picture of mermaids, what they may look like, and why they’ve stayed hidden… until now.”

Discovery News notes that the show was intended as science fiction, but that didn’t stop viewers from pelting NOAA with demands for more transparency on the mermaid question.

History suggests NOAA’s statement won’t put the issue to rest, either. After all, the agency has issued one report after another showing that the world’s climate is warming dramatically, and there are still a few conspiracy theorists out there who maintain that the science doesn’t hold water.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Mad About Modi


Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.


Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Don’t Panic! The U.S. Already Stops Ebola and Similar Diseases From Spreading. Here’s How.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 6:59 PM The Democrats’ War at Home Can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.