Mermaids are often said to be extinct, but the truth is that this species although endanger is still alive. Throughout history we have seen many different versions of mermaids in photos, paintings, books and on works of art. People from all over the world have always been fascinated by these creatures since their first sightings because of their appearance, half human from the waist up and half fish from the waist down. As far back as there is record, people have had encounters with these creatures. The captain on the Titanic sent a message, hours before crashing into the iceberg, in which he reported seeing a group of mermaids while in open sea.

The reason we do not see these creatures on a regular basis is because just as humans drove the black rhino into extinction we have nearly drove mermaids to near extinction as well. They are an endangered species due to a variety of reasons. The ocean today is extremely polluted due to oil drill and spills, garbage and not to mention the warmer sea temperatures.  Mermaids are some of the most sensitive sea creatures. Their diet is also a key factor in the reason they are considered an endangered species. A mermaid’s diet consist primarily of shellfish and fish, however due to lack of calcium in the ocean and overfishing, shellfish are becoming more and more rear. Since shellfish are disappearing from their natural habitat mermaids are forced to eat more fish and fish in the open ocean today have very high levels of mercury which is slowly killing mermaids. Another reason as to why Mermaids are not spotted very often is because in early history they were seen as pests that had to be killed. Mermaids were competition for fishermen. Mermaids quickly learn that humans were their enemies and have since then become experts in concealing themselves.

Recently, in 2015 a biologist in Mexico was able to collect a DNA sample from a specimen that was caught on the shores of Baja California. This specimen has been one of the few that has been captured, however due to the lack of information on their natural habit it had to be released soon after the collection of DNA. The specimen that was captured was a female weighing 160 lbs. and 5 1/2 feet long. Californian waters are where there are more reports of Mermaids sightings with their infants, which indicates their birthing grounds are somewhere on the west coast of the United States. DNA suggest these creatures are more closely related to humans than apes. Evidence shows that very early in evolution lost all hair and their legs morphed into a single limb that closely resembles that of a whale, who is also a mammal. Mermaids evolved to become marine mammal just like whales and dolphins. Contrary to the Disney version, they do not have bright hair and tails, rather they are more of a dark grey color which aids in their camouflage from predators. Mermaids continue to fascinate us both on a scientific level as well as on a personal level.

By: Alexandra Heredia