Mermaids and My Knowledge

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A mermaid (from the Middle English mere meaning "sea" and maid, meaning "girl") is a legendary aquatic creature with the head and torso of a human female and a fish-like tail. The male version of a mermaid is known as a merman, and the gender-neutral plural is merfolk or merpeople. Merfolk appear in a plethora of cultures worldwide—legends often tell of mermaids singing to sailors, enchanting them, and luring them to their death. The origin of the mermaid legend is often traced to the manatee or dugong, large aquatic mammals that can sometimes have human-like characteristics. While there have been many who claim merfolk are real, all "evidence" of their existence has thus far proven to be a hoax. Yet the image of a beautiful human-like creature that is at home in the water continues to attract us, reflecting our desire to have dominion over all aspects of the natural world. Tales of these half-human, half-fish legendary creatures have circulated for millennia, and many of the oldest can be found in ancient mythology. Although long-lived and possessing supernatural powers, merfolk are generally depicted as mortal and without an eternal soul. Ancient Babylonians worshiped a sea god named Ea, and merpeople feature prominently in Polynesian mythology.[1] Ancient Syrians worshiped a mermaid moon-goddess called Atargatis, sometimes called Derceto. In the second century, Lucian of Samosata on Syria described Derceto in De Dea Syria (Concerning the Syrian Goddess), saying: "I have seen the semblance of Derceto in Phœnicia, and a wonderful sight it is; one half is a woman, but the part which extends from the thighs to the feet ends in a fish's tail."[2] Merpeople were often present in Greek mythology. The sea god Triton, son of the King and Queen of the Sea, Poseidon and Amphitrite, is usually depicted with the upper torso of a man and a fish's tail. The sirens that attempt
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