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Old 05-15-2010, 11:45 PM
Curious About Stuff is offline
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Was a real "mermaid" discovered in Batroun?


I was surprised that The Straight Dope didn't have any pages on alleged real mermaid claims. There have been mermaid hoaxes, but I found a news report from a source of unknown validity about the body of a dead mermaid (or fish-like hominoid) that was discovered. Here is the story:
http://www.fanoos.com/special/real_m...n_batroun.html

You would think that an organism like this would have shown up in the fossil record, but good old punctuated equilibrium has been producing new species within short timeframes even since the Cambrian Explosion. Could this fish-like hominoid species be a newer and real species?
  #2  
Old 05-16-2010, 12:01 AM
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Hijack: Interesting how you can often guess the start date of a new member simply based on either a user name or thread title.

Carry on.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Girl From Mars View Post
Hijack: Interesting how you can often guess the start date of a new member simply based on either a user name or thread title.

Carry on.
I don't know about the username, but I'd imagine that people join because they have questions to ask. Their first posts would probably be all of their questions.
  #4  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:01 AM
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From the article:
Quote:
Actually, this one has the withered body of a monkey and the dried tail of a fish. On first consideration, it is believed to most likely be an unknown form of primate adapted to sea-life!
No. On first consideration, it is believed most likely to be the withered body of a monkey and the dried tail of a fish.

The 'mermaid' photographed in the article looks like it's just a photo of the Peabody Museum's "Feejee Mermaid"
  #5  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Hallucinex View Post
From the article:


No. On first consideration, it is believed most likely to be the withered body of a monkey and the dried tail of a fish.

The 'mermaid' photographed in the article looks like it's just a photo of the Peabody Museum's "Feejee Mermaid"
I found no reference to the mermaid of Batroun in Wikipedia, and I didin't find anything on the web specifically debunking this claim. I doubt that it's real, but I was just curious.
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Curious About Stuff View Post
I was surprised that The Straight Dope didn't have any pages on alleged real mermaid claims.
I think you've got us mixed up with Snopes. While Cecil or the SDSAB sometimes tackle alleged facts, Snopes is much more focused on that sort of thing. And they have a forum, too.

But welcome. If anyone can find any real information about this, it will be these guys.
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:46 AM
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I think you've got us mixed up with Snopes. While Cecil or the SDSAB sometimes tackle alleged facts, Snopes is much more focused on that sort of thing. And they have a forum, too.

But welcome. If anyone can find any real information about this, it will be these guys.
I thought that one was a subset/offshoot of the other. I checked it out on snopes, and they talked about hoaxes, but I still couldn't find a reference to this specific claim. Thanks though. Biologically, I wonder how such an organism could even survive. If some group of primates branched off into some sort of aquatic primate, the fossil record should have indicated this.
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Curious About Stuff View Post
I found no reference to the mermaid of Batroun in Wikipedia, and I didin't find anything on the web specifically debunking this claim. I doubt that it's real, but I was just curious.
My guess is that the 'mermaid of Batroun' either doesn't exist (based on the fact that the supposed picture of it looks to be the peabody museum's mermaid, as in the link I posted above): i.e. hoax article rather than hoax mermaid. Or it's another in a long line of "attach a monkey torso to a fish body" mermaid hoaxes.

The closest you'll probably find to a relevant wikipedia article might be the Fiji mermaid. I think other versions of this hoax originated from the Fiji mermaid.

There's a great one of these (monkey upper - fish lower mermaid) on display in the British Museum if you're ever there - in the section with all the exhibits on the enlightenment.

Last edited by Hallucinex; 05-16-2010 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Hallucinex View Post
My guess is that the 'mermaid of Batroun' either doesn't exist (based on the fact that the supposed picture of it looks to be the peabody museum's mermaid, as in the link I posted above): i.e. hoax article rather than hoax mermaid. Or it's another in a long line of "attach a monkey torso to a fish body" mermaid hoaxes.

The closest you'll probably find to a relevant wikipedia article might be the Fiji mermaid. I think other versions of this hoax originated from the Fiji mermaid.

There's a great one of these (monkey upper - fish lower mermaid) on display in the British Museum if you're ever there - in the section with all the exhibits on the enlightenment.
True. The pic looks identicle to the pic that was proven to be a hoax. On a side note, I wonder how they would mate.
A cool science project could analyze how this sort of organism could actually survive. It would be purely academic though.

Last edited by Curious About Stuff; 05-16-2010 at 02:21 AM.
  #10  
Old 05-16-2010, 06:11 AM
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It appears that everything in the article is made up. Here's what Karl P. N. Shuker says on his website:

http://karlshuker.blogspot.com/2009/...-mermaids.html

Fanoos appears to be an online Lebanese tabloid:

http://www.fanoos.com/

The article makes up a story about somebody being consulted who denies being consulted and illustrates this with a photograph that's clearly from some other museum. There's nothing here for us to discuss. When you find a reliable reference, come back and tell us.
  #11  
Old 05-16-2010, 09:54 AM
C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Originally Posted by Curious About Stuff View Post
If some group of primates branched off into some sort of aquatic primate, the fossil record should have indicated this.
OF possible interest is a Staff Report written a few years ago by bibliophage: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...m-aquatic-apes


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner
There's nothing here for us to discuss. When you find a reliable reference, come back and tell us.
Hey, Wendell, please don't be so dismissive of a new poster. Here's a newcomer who found a reference that he/she knows is extremely dubious, who came here to see if we had any information. That's how lots of folks come here. Most people here would agree before even researching or looking further that the thing is a hoax, but... we're happy that people come here to ask. We want to ATTRACT new members, not shoo them away.

So, Curious, I apologize on behalf of those board members who think it's cute to be rude or otherwise obnoxious to newcomers. We're glad you're here, and we hope you look around, contribute, and stay.

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 05-16-2010 at 09:58 AM.
  #12  
Old 05-16-2010, 10:59 AM
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I don't think we are being fair to the OP. Every claim has a right to be taken at face value until specifically proven otherwise. At least that's what I overheard my unicorn saying to Bigfoot the other day while they were watching the grays frolic in the shadow of their spaceship.
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:40 AM
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There is no a priori reason why an aquatic primate could not exist or have existed. Obviously other land animals have evolved to live in the water either part or full time - from penguins, to whales, to the probable origin of the mermaid myths, the manatee. Why couldn't a primate subspecies similarly adapt? There is just no evidence that one ever did. (Although there are those sea monkeys!)
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by DanBlather View Post
I don't think we are being fair to the OP. Every claim has a right to be taken at face value until specifically proven otherwise. At least that's what I overheard my unicorn saying to Bigfoot the other day while they were watching the grays frolic in the shadow of their spaceship.
pics or it didn't happen
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:54 AM
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pics or it didn't happen
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...=20&tbs=isch:1

Last edited by DanBlather; 05-16-2010 at 11:54 AM.
  #16  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:17 PM
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Looks legit to me!

And besides, why would someone named DanBlather be lying to spreading msinformation?
  #17  
Old 05-16-2010, 01:51 PM
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Sea Cows started off as a land herbivore, then at one point, evolved to become aquatic (probably punctuated, but it is believed to have happened). I thought that there could have been some primate that did the same. I sort of figured that they wouldn't look like hot chicks with fish fins instead of legs.
I wasn't expecting to find her:
http://myfishysite.vegard2.no/mermaid.jpg

lol
  #18  
Old 05-17-2010, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Curious About Stuff View Post
You would think that an organism like this would have shown up in the fossil record, but good old punctuated equilibrium has been producing new species within short timeframes even since the Cambrian Explosion.
Not that this is relevant to the mermaid topic, but...punctuated equilibrium doesn't "produce" anything. It's a theory on why the fossil record appears as it does, and has to do with the tempo and mode of speciation. It's not a mechanism unto itself.
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