Mermaid Hoax Documentary Brings Record Ratings For Animal Planet

Dan Evon

Mermaids aren't real but that doesn't mean that they aren't fascinating. More than 3.5 million people tuned in to watch the new mermaid hoax documentary on Animal Planet.

The fake documentary, called Mermaids: The New Evidence, brought in 3.6 million viewers and set a new ratings record for Animal Planet.

This is the second mermaid hoax documentary for Animal Planet. Last year they released Mermaid: The Body Foundand an internet debate about the existence of mermaids. NOAA even released a statement to assure people that there was no evidence of aquatic sea people.

NOAA writes: "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."

Animal Planet did its best to avoid the controversy this time around by adding a disclaimer before the documentary. Biologist Dr. Paul Robertson also said earlier this week that the documentary was based on questionable science. Robertson said that the information was presented in documentary form because they wanted to make it believable.

Robertson said: "I wanted the story to appeal to a sense of genuine possibility, and incorporating real science and evolutionary theory and 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."

Mermaids: The New Evidence didn't actually uncover any new evidence about mermaids but Animal Planet president Marjorie Kaplan is still proud of the mermaid hoax documentary for bringing in a big audience.

Kaplan 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."