Engraving of a vision of mermaids

Engraving of a vision of mermaids

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This image is part of the feature The Truth Behind Mythical Monsters

Credit: GEORGE BERNARD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Nineteenth century engraving of a Baroque vision of mermaids (drawn by a Victorian in the 1890s). It is thought that this mythical creature, half woman and half fish, may have its origin in mis- taken sightings of seals or dugongs. The dugong is a large marine mammal of vegetarian habits, found in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea and West Pacific. The counterpart to the female mermaid (seen here) is the "merman" with male upper-body and head.

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Keywords: animal, dugong, mermaid, mermaids, mythical, mythological creature, mythology, seal, zoology

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