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Do mermaids exist? A new Animal Planet 'documentary' had some believing so

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    Saturday, June 1, 2013, 1:44 PM -

    An Animal Planet special on mermaids recently earned the network its highest ratings ever but new revelations have left some in disbelief. 

    Animal Planet's recent specials on mermaids drew a massive three-and-a-half million viewers - a record for the network - but many people were shocked to find it was all a hoax.   

    The network aired two "documentaries," or  mockumentaries this week - The Body Found and its sequel The New Evidence - which claimed to have real, never-before-seen footage of mermaids taken in the Greenland sea.

    The Body Found originally aired in 2012 to much fanfare, and prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to release this statement:

    Mermaids — those half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea — are legendary sea creatures chronicled in maritime cultures since time immemorial... The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. 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. Half-human creatures, called chimeras, also abound in mythology — in addition to mermaids, there were wise centaurs, wild satyrs, and frightful minotaurs, to name but a few.But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found."

    Apparently many forgot because viewers initially took to Twitter to express amazement! 

    That quickly changed when they learned fake information was paraded as scientific evidence. Several people took advantage of the opportunity to mock the show and its creators.

    A brief disclaimer in the end credits did say the show was not factual but many did not seem to notice.

    Both mocumentaries contained actors portraying scientists from NOAA.

    Amazingly, one part contained an "exclusive" interview with a former NOAA scientist who suggested that the organization's statement was part of a government cover-up. The "scientist" was so sure, he was willing to stake his professional reputation on the existence of mermaids. 

    According to the LA Times, Marjorie Kaplan, Animal Planet's president and general manager, said, "The phenomenon of 'Mermaids' has truly been a watershed -- and a watercooler -- moment for Animal Planet. These extraordinary television specials have electrified, challenged and entertained television audiences and online fans alike."

    Due to the success of the first two programs, Animal Planet is considering a third sequel, according to reports. 

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