November 13, 2013

Given up on mermaids? Well, don’t lose hope just yet because the existence of these mythical half-fish-half-human creatures of the deep is less ridiculous than you might think. There is scientific evidence that may prove exactly what all us mermaid-lovers have been hoping for all along.

Let’s start with where mermaids may have come from. The Theory of Evolution, theorized by Charles Darwin, is the most widely accepted theory that explains the evolution of mankind. Is it possible that during the early stages of human evolution, we were forced to adapt to an aquatic environment, thus turning into mermaids?

Well, the Theory of Evolution states that the divergence of the human and ape lines occurred when our ancestors left the jungle for the savannah and that some of our distinctively human traits, like bipedalism (ability to walk on two legs), and lack of excessive body hair developed during this time. The Aquatic Ape Theory is based off of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, but it argues that humans had already possessed these distinctive traits before they migrated to the savannah. Where did these traits come from then? An aquatic environment.

The anatomy and physiology of the human body provides evidence for how humans may have once had to adapt to an aquatic environment. First of all, our bipedalism would not have helped us very much in the savannah where large predators would have easily been able to outrun us. In an aquatic environment, however, walking on two legs would be essential for a land creature that had to keep its head above the water.

Also, humans are the only primates that are mostly hairless. In the savannah, this trait would give us nothing but sunburns and frostbites. In an aquatic environment, this would lessen drag and allow us to swim more efficiently. The next point may be received in a variety of ways, but humans are actually very fat primates! Our babies are born with a lot of white fat, which is not very good at retaining heat, but acts as an excellent insulator against water. In the savannah, extra fat might help you during the cold nights but during the day it would only slow you down.

Lastly, humans are one of the only mammals, aside from dolphins and whales, who can control their breathing. In the savannah, this ability wouldn’t impress anyone, but in an aquatic environment, being able to control your breathing would be exceptionally useful.

With the biological evidence suggesting that humans may have first adapted to an aquatic environment before they migrated to the savannah, is it really that difficult to imagine some of those ‘aquatic humans’ having stayed behind? In addition, why does every ancient seafaring nation record sightings of these wonderful creatures? Whether you believe in them or not, it still is quite incredible to think that your great-to-the-power-of-thirty-two grandmother may just have been a mermaid.