An Animal Planet special professing to reveal new evidence on the existence of mermaids aired over the weekend. According to the Washington Post, Mermaids: The New Evidence, registered 3.6 million viewers... the television network's largest ever audience.
The programme, created by Charlie Foley, is a sequel to Mermaids: The Body Found, which aired last year. Incidentally, up until this weekend, that was Animal Planet's most watched show, with 3.4 million viewers.
These two programmes rely, for impact, on clips of supposed sightings from all around the world, such as the one featured below. It was reportedly shot at the Israeli town of Kiryat Yam, which is famous for such incidents; one report was made back in 2009.
That footage, as well as the other video clips on the show, has sparked debate over the possibility of mermaids actually being real, much as the 2012 show did last year.
In response to Mermaids: The Body Found, The US' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) promptly issued this statement on its Web site: "No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That's a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists".
Speaking to Mother Nature Network, Foley argued his work represented a valid approach to visualise legends and offer insights into the reality of those stories. He also argued that his work included details from real-world phenomena, such as Bloop recordings
"And the Navy really has denied conducting deadly sonar tests that have resulted in mass whale die-offs only to later acknowledge that, in fact, they really were conducting and still conduct to this day deadly sonar tests that result in mass whale die-offs," he said, "Much of what's in 'Mermaids' is not informed conjecture or made-up story but fact."
Watch the video premiered on Animal Planet here: