GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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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