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Mermaid vs. Human Ocean Origins and Evolution

Updated on January 18, 2016
watergeek profile image

Susette has a Masters degree in wise use of natural resources. She leads the Green Council and writes for The Sustainable Business Review.


Common "wisdom" says that humans could not have come from the ocean, because we could never survive in deep ocean. Most of our scientific research, especially recent research and experimentation, backs that up. Most scientists say that humans are descended from apes, and cite the similarities between our bones and Neanderthal bones to prove it.

However, some of us look at old legends and note that we look more similar to mermaids than to apes. Scientists reply that we have legs, not tails, and there is no evidence yet of the existence of mermaids ever. Yet I have seen a You Tube video of a girl born with fused legs, much like a tail, which could be vestigial evidence. And there are ancient stories all over the world, passed down from generation to generation, of human-mermaid interaction.

What if the majority of scientists are wrong? After all, according to the National Ocean & Atmospheric Association (NOAA), only 5% of the ocean has been explored so far. That leaves 95% to go - practically the whole thing. And mermaids, should they exist, don't have to be our direct ancestors. It could be we're related to them, like distant cousins, with both of us having a common ancestor further back in history.

One thing that happens too often when people, including scientists, truly believe they're right, is that they shut out all evidence to the contrary. Indeed, there have been 30 years or more of human/ape research and hardly any of human/ocean research.

Meanwhile, in SE Asia the Bajau-Laut "sea gypsies" dive and walk on the ocean floor more than 65 feet deep, while they spearhunt for fish. They have acclimated themselves so thoroughly, that they can't spend too much time on land without feeling "landsick." As did Animal Planet, with their "documentary" Mermaids: The Body Found, let's buck the scientific current here and look at some of the evidence in favor of humans coming from the ocean.


Webbed toes or fingers occurs in 2,000-2,500 human births. Normally, believing that humans have no current use for webbing, surgeons separate the appendages when the child is still young.
Webbed toes or fingers occurs in 2,000-2,500 human births. Normally, believing that humans have no current use for webbing, surgeons separate the appendages when the child is still young. | Source


Related to syndactyly, sirenomelia is a fetal condition where the legs stay fused and lower organs undeveloped for use on land. It occurs with one in every 100,000 births.
Related to syndactyly, sirenomelia is a fetal condition where the legs stay fused and lower organs undeveloped for use on land. It occurs with one in every 100,000 births. | Source

"An aquatic Ape is a likely ancestor of humans in terms of primate behaviour, marine ecosystems and geophysical timing."

- Professor Derek Ellis, Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Canada

Vestigial Evidence of Ocean Origins

  • When the human embryo grows fingers and toes, it sends out "buds," which grow into digits that are still connected via webbing. At some point the process called "apoptosis" occurs, which is a body's natural way of killing cells it doesn't need anymore, and the webbing disappears.

    However, one out of every 2,000-2,500 babies are born with webbed or semi-webbed toes or fingers - a "condition" called syndactyly. It's not too far-fetched to imagine that we used to have webs until crawling onto land, where we didn't need them anymore.
  • Humans have vestigial tails, called embryonic tails. Some embryonic tails grow longer than normal and show when the baby is born. There are NO apes with vestigial tails.

    Although this abnormality in humans has been equated to monkey tails, the related abnormalities of the spine (e.g. spina bifida) could be the result of a DNA attempt to extend the spine down into a fishtail as in the long ago past, with the coccyx growing a few more vertebrae before turning into cartilage for the rest of the tail. Accompanying difficulties, like bowel and bladder control, are problems on land but not in the ocean.
  • Whales have been found to have a vestigial pelvic bone and legs. Does this mean they once had legs that became tails? Or does it mean they have tails that could develop into legs, if needed?
  • According to mermaid myths, females used to leave the ocean to mate with human males in order to bear children. Those children who could survive in the ocean were taken by the mermaids, those who couldn't were left on land. This infusion of new blood helped keep the mermaid population healthy.

    Although there is no way to check for vestigial remnants of it, interbreeding does make sense. It also makes sense that the lack of it would cause the mermaid population to decline and eventually die out.

Sharks have tails made of cartilage, not bone.
Sharks have tails made of cartilage, not bone. | Source

Human & Mermaid Physiology: Similarities in Evolution

Although human physiology is usually compared with apes, there are several strong comparisons that could be made between humans and sea creatures, like mermaids, and/or evidence that indicates we could have originated from the ocean, rather than from apes on land:

  • In the early 1900 French physiologist, Rene Quinton, discovered that the chemical composition of human blood plasma was almost identical to that of seawater. Although the makeup of the oceans has changed since then, and not for the better, there are commercial products out now, made from seawater, that can replace blood plasma.
  • Humans have smooth, relatively non-hairy skin more closely akin to mermaids than to apes. The only other land mammals that have no body hair either live underground or are semi-aquatic (hippos, pigs, tapirs). The only hair on our bodies that grows long is facial hair, i.e. that located near the mouth, which could be used for entrapping food. (Imagine dreadlocks shaped as a net to capture schools of small fish.)
  • The best insulation in water is not hair, but fat. Humans have the kind of fat that works best (women more than men), located right under our skin and distributed throughout the body.

    We have ten times as many fat cells as any mammal our size, except those living in the ocean. Like other ocean mammals, our fat is attached to the skin and comes away with it in surgery. This is not true of other primates.
  • Human posture is elongated, rather than crouched. In water that would translate to the same streamlined posture that ocean mammals have - great for swimming.
  • Our brain size, as compared with the size of our bodies, is large like those of dolphins and porpoises, much larger than those of apes. Mermaids and dolphins reportedly swam and played together. Now some researchers are asking themselves if dolphins might not be intelligent enough to be a human counterpart species in the ocean.
  • I have seen the occasional woman with long fingernails like claws (hyperkeratosis). This would come in handy in the ocean for picking off oysters or mussels from a cliff, or snatching small fish as they swim by.
  • The legends of mermaids who sing (sirens) are plausible when you think of the voice power of an opera singer. Mermaids would have to project over the noise of an ocean storm, just as opera singers have to project over the sound of an orchestra to be heard. Hence they would build powerful lungs and strong vocal projection.
  • Humans mate face to face, which is rare among land mammals, but common in ocean mammals. This is enabled by our pelvis being in line with our legs, which is true also with dolphins, beavers, and sea otters.
  • Humans, seals, and dolphins are able to control breathing voluntarily. This is not true of other land mammals. The theory is that we needed that adaptation to enable ourselves to dive at different depths.
  • To enable humans to breathe through the mouth, our larynx drops down into our throat soon after birth to be side by side with the esophagus. In other animals and birds, this only happens with those that are aquatic.

Human Babies & Birthing in Water

  • Birthing is easier sitting in water than lying in a flat hospital bed. Women love spas for a reason, and it turns out that a spa-type setting is perfect for giving birth. The spa (or birthing bathtub) allows for a semi-upright posture, which lets gravity help with birthing, and a woman can relax in warm water between contractions.

    When babies are born they don't breathe until air hits their cheeks, so birth underwater works for them too. This is becoming a more popular birthing option as time goes on. It's only a short jump from there to imagining women (or mermaids) giving birth easily in tropical ocean waters.

Babies are not afraid of water, and can swim at a really early age.
Babies are not afraid of water, and can swim at a really early age. | Source
  • Babies are immediately comfortable in water. There's a popular school called Water Babies that has been teaching babies to swim for years. (Their earliest student was only 2 days old.) They say that babies take to the water naturally, that it helps to develop their muscles, gives them confidence, and stimulates their brains.

    However, it's not until babies are about 4 years old, that they can fully swim. In the dolphin world, babies nurse until they are 18 months old and stay close to their mother, swimming in her slipstream, until they are around 5 years old. Clearly there are parallels.
  • All primate babies, except our own, are thin. Our own babies accumulate fat even before birth and continue to grow fatter for several months afterwards. Some of this fat is white fat, and that is extremely rare in new-born mammals. White fat is not much good for supplying instant heat and energy, but it's great for insulation in water and for buoyancy.

Baby Being Born In Water

Genetic Connections to Mermaids

The oldest humanoid fossils we know of were found in caves along what would have been coastlines at that time. Australopithecus "Lucy's" bones were found lying among crab claws and the broken eggs of crocodiles and turtles. This indicates a strong, ancient connection with the sea.

Choose Your Theory

Can you conceive of an ancestral relationship between humans and mermaids?

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From this and genetic similarities, there are three possible ancestral connections humans could have with mermaids:

  1. Humans developed as a blend of mermaid and ape.
  2. Mermaids themselves split off into two lines - humans and dolphins - making us direct descendents.
  3. Mermaids and humans once had a common ancestor from which we are both descended.

Unfortunately, until we have mermaid remains or mermaids, themselves, to study we can't really know. We do know, from our own experience, that DNA abnormalities develop and are concentrated and passed down when breeding is restricted to narrow bands of peoples - e.g. there was a time when royalty could only marry someone related to them, which resulted in all kinds of dysfunctions, haemophilia being the most common.

The same would be true of mermaids. Males wouldn't survive in the ocean as readily as females, since they don't have the fat deposits and the ocean is really cold. Could mermaids then have kept their lines healthy by interbreeding with humans, as sung about in the old tales? Once humans started fearing, despising, or not believing mermaids existed anymore, then they would stop interbreeding and it would be only a matter of time until the eventual demise of our distant cousins. We really don't know one way or the other whether that's true. But until we start looking to see, we never will know if and where mermaids exist, or if and how we are related.


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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What an interesting and thought-provoking article watergeek. You certainly provide a very good case for mermaids actually having existed. Especially the evidence you give about human genetics being more similar to sea mammals than apes etc.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Excellent article. Common sense dictates an open mind on this matter.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A fascinating read this morning. Thanks for the information...I have something to think about the rest of the day, and that's always a good thing.

    • aida-garcia profile image

      Aida Garcia 2 years ago from Anaheim, CA 92801

      What a fastinating and captivating article! Read on until done and still want more!

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 2 years ago

      Thanks all. It was interesting looking for proof of what I was sensing. I agree, there is so much more to it. I had to cut some parts out, because it was getting too long. For example, what about similarities in communication (voice or telepathy)? What about the Bushman click languages (oldest in the world) - are they based on the sounds of insects or dolphins? What about the things we eat, and how much healthier fish and seaweed are for humans, rather than red meat and GMO corn (lol)?

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Very interesting subject! I've seen that documentary from BBC and couldn't help but dig in for more. Then, I read your hub and it made me hungry for more details and studies about this wonderful and mysterious creation. Well done on the parallel studies between us, humans and mermaids

      I remember when I was young and when people asked me what I want when I grow up, I always tell them, "a mermaid". I always wanted to be a mermaid and their stories always fascinates me.

      Now, that I am older I think I'd like to be more of a bird. :)

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 2 years ago

      These days you'd be more believable as a bird, Cris (lol). I've always been fascinated by mermaids too. There are some good fiction books written about them, although I can't remember the titles now. Thanks for reading.

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