One government agency is clambering all over itself this summer to let Americans know that mermaids almost certainly do not exist.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently published a post on their "Ocean Facts" newsfeed titled "No Evidence of Aquatic Humanoids Has Ever Been Found," sort of debunking claims of mermaids' existence, but mostly giving everyone a great purple prose-y history lesson on the origins of the mermaid legend.
Magical female figures first appear in cave paintings in the late Paleolithic (Stone Age) period some 30,000 years ago, when modern humans gained dominion over the land and, presumably, began to sail the seas.
The NOAA claims the post was prompted by a recently-aired Animal Planet television special called "Mermaids: The Body Found," that purported to show evidence of the existence of mermaids.
Although the filmmakers acknowledged the movie was science fiction, although the CGI mermaids of the trailer look about as real as Ariel and King Triton, and although the program aired during a week of programming literally called "Monster Week," some folks were reportedly left a little confused about whether or not mermaids exist after watching it.
National Ocean Service spokeswoman Carol Kavanagh told the BBC that "at least two people" (perhaps as many as more than two?) had written to the NOAA since the film's airing asking for more information on these half human half fish hybrids about which they had recently learned so much.
It is worth noting that the NOAA saying "no evidence of mermaids has been found" is not the same as the NOAA saying "no evidence of mermaids exists."
From which we can infer that mermaids definitely exist.