Bites at Animal Planet

1 Jun

Everyone's Asking: Do Mermaids Really Exist? ...Well, Do They?


Charlie Foley, SVP of Development for Animal Planet, is Creator, Writer and Executive Producer of Mermaids: The Body Found. Get his answers to FAQs about the program.


How much of this is real and how much of this is made up?

The science really informs the fiction. The theory of Aquatic Ape mentioned in the program is real and has been studied for decades. Many events in the show have occurred – i.e. the whale beachings, Navy experimental sonar testing, The Bloop ...

We use the transitive property to further explore the possibility of mermaids – i.e. if polar bears evolved from the brown bear, isn’t it possible that a mermaid, which was reported in disparate civilizations for ages, evolved from a human-like creature that retreated into the water?

The scientists are actors who portray an authentic government organization (NOAA) who currently study phenomena like whale beachings and sonar testing. The imagined part of the show is our entry point into a new world of possibility rooted in science.

What inspired the look of the CGI mermaids?

The mermaids you’ll see in the special were born from the scientific evidence that exists in other real evolutionary theories. This informed us on the physical characteristics mermaids would share with humans and which attributes they would have acquired through evolution in order to live in our oceans. For example, mermaids most likely would not have hair, since that would cause much drag moving through the water. And, like other marine mammals such as dolphins and whales, the mermaids have a type of countershading - a dark blue shade on the top and a paler shade on the underside.  This is a form of camouflage - when you look down at the creature from above, the dark blue skin tone blends against the dark blue of the water.  Whereas if you are looking up at the creature from underneath, the paler shaded skin blends against the lighter surface.


Do you believe in mermaids -- do you believe the scientific theory has weight?

I believe in possibilities and the power of imagination – that we haven’t found everything out there yet. In the past two decades alone, we just learned about two species of whales that we never knew existed.

Scientists have spent countless hours exploring the scientific theory behind this special – it is undeniably compelling –and the ‘what ifs’ are just too irresistible to ignore.


Charlie reveals *all* the Mermaid secrets on CNN's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien:


Related Links

Gather the Evidence: Watch Mermaids Video!

Do You Believe?: Compelling Mermaids Photos

Watch: All of Our Monstrous Video!

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