Entertainment

Mermaid Hoax Documentary Yields Record-Breaking Views for Animal Planet

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While most of the world knows mermaids are not real, Animal Planet had many fooled when they aired a hoax documentary about mermaid evidence.

Titled Mermaids: The New Evidence, the documentary reeled in 3.6 million viewers and set a new ratings record for the network.

Last year, Animal Planet aired Mermaid: The Body Found, which sparked a debate on whether or not the mythical creatures exist. 

NOAA released a statement shortly after assuring people that there was, in fact, no evidence supporting the existence of mermaids.

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"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 a few. But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found," they said.

Before Animal Planet's follow-up documentary, they decided to lessen the controversy by adding a disclaimer to the beginning.

Biologist Dr. Paul Robertson said earlier in the week that the documentary was based on questionable science, and that the information was presented in a documentary formate because the network wanted to make it seem believable.

"I wanted the story to appeal to a sense of genuine possibility," Robertson said. "And incorporating real science and evolutionary theory an real-world scientific examples - such as animals that have made the transition from land to sea, much as we suggest mermaids did - and citing real, albeit controversial theories like the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, grounded it."

"Using a straight, documentarian approach made the story more persuasive by appealing more to a sense of intellectual possibility as well as emotional possibility."

Animal Planet President Marjorie Kaplan is happy with the large audience the documentary gathered.

"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."

Sources: Inquisitr, US Magazine