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“The first myths of mermaids may have originated around 1000 B.C. — stories tell the tale of a Syrian goddess who jumped into a lake to turn into a fish, but her great beauty could not be changed and only her bottom half transformed. Since then, many other mermaid stories have appeared in folklore from various cultures around the world. For instance, the African water spirit Mami Wata is mermaid in form, as is the water spirit Lasirn, who is popular in folklore in the Caribbean Islands” (Castro).
The Aquatic Ape Theory explains why humans, unlike any other ape species, has lost its hair, walks upright, talks and has a large brain, through living in an aquatic environment, foraging for marine food. The suggestion is that our ape ancestors, millions of years ago, came down from trees and began to forage for food, like shellfish and seaweed on beaches or wade in the shallows. When wading, an ape is forced to stand upright, so evolution would favor apes who are better able to do this, as they are more able to stand upright in the water, gathering food, for a longer time. If an ape becomes used to standing upright in the water, they may also begin to do the same on land, where they find this has an advantage. It would certainly be beneficial to mothers with newborns who will find they have their arms free to carry their child and even feed it at her breasts while she is walking. Also by standing upright she is able to carry marine food, in her hands, from the shallows to land for any young who have been weaned. Then as the shallows are overfished, these apes would be forced to move out into deeper waters and the apes who can duck their heads underwater and hold their breaths would have an advantage. In time, these apes will also start to swim underwater, to forage for food in even deeper waters. Wet fur is not a good insulator in water, so evolution would favor fatter apes as fat or blubber is used by many marine mammals, like seals, dolphins and whales, to keep warm in the water. At the same time, ape fur is useless in the water, for insulation and a drag when swimming or even wading, this would also favor apes with less hair. So over evolutionary time this would be the reason humans lost their fur. Marine food is very rich in brain food like Omega-3 fatty acids and iodine, and this would allow humans to developed far larger brains than any other ape. Learning to hold their breathe underwater, learning conscious control of breathing, and also helped in teaching humans to talk.

Even though humans became human through living in a marine environment, at some point in our more recent past humans began to leave the shoreline and began to live away from the sea. It seems that humans didn’t become as aquatic as we see in mermaid myths. “Literally "Virgin of the Sea," the mermaid was an image of fish-tailed Aphrodite, the medieval Minne, Maerin, Mari, Marina, mereminne, mare-mynd, mareminde, marraminde, or maraeman”(Walker).

Work Cited:

Castro, By Joseph. "Are Mermaids Real?" LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 25 May 2014. Web. 27 June 2014.
Walker, B. G. (1983). Mermaid. The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (). San Francisco: Harper & Row.…...

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