Animal Planet is showing "Mermaids: The Body Found," twice today, and on DirecTV on the West Coast it shows up at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. today. The special, half a decade in the making, purports to give you a look at the fictional creature known as a mermaid, but also reveals information that seems to point to the creature not being fictional, after all.
It's called a "speculative documentary." Charlie Foley, Animal Planet’s senior vice president of development, spent five years researching, writing, and developing - as well as executive producing - “Mermaids: The Body Found.” The show combines cutting-edge CGI with what are purportedly reports of actual events. These mermaids, though, don't look anything like Ariel of Disney fame.
The idea for the film came from Foley's past experience with another Animal Planet "speculative documentary." That special was focused on dragons. After the success of that show, Foley and the network wanted to do another one.
Foley explained how he came to the idea of a special on mermaids in an interview with the New York Post. He said:
"And I got thinking about mermaids and the question whether they could be real. And if you look, every seafaring culture on Earth has a mermaid legend, including cultures that never had contact with one another. They all have the same stories. They all depict the creatures similarly. That’s intriguing. Could this have evolved and how would it have happened? And that’s sort of the leading question.
"In the theory of human evolution there’s this pretty radical theory called the aquatic ape theory.
"The fact is there are animals that have moved from the land into the sea. Could it have happened to humans? And with aquatic ape theory, if there’s anything to it, what is the logical extension of it if we continued going in that direction. The idea is that people pulled back and we stopped evolving into a marine animal, into an aquatic animal. But what if we kept going? And that to me, knowing that it’s happened before knowing that it’s real science with other animals. Could it have happened with one branch of the human family tree?
"Could there actually be a scientific grounding to this legend?"
Watch an embedded video below, including that camera phone video, allegedly taken on a beach in Washington in 2004.
Image Source Wikimedia Commons