The mermaid mummy was found in Japan, and it is believed that it is not the only one of its kind, since the religious tradition in that nation is well known for venerating these beings that supposedly possess medicinal properties. Some even believe that those who eat their flesh can achieve immortality.
However, scientists have set out to clarify the myths surrounding the supposed mermaid, and through analysis of the strange 300-year-old creature, they have finally managed to decipher the mystery behind it.
Japanese Mermaid Mummy
The rare mermaid mummy specimen was supposedly captured in the Pacific Ocean between 1736 and 1741, off the coast of Shikoku. It is not known exactly how, but the mermaid mummy ended up at the Asakuchi Temple in Okayama, where it was exhibited for more than 40 years until it was decided to preserve it for conservation purposes. It was then forgotten in the storage room of the temple, but a few months ago, Hiroshi Kinoshita, a priest and member of the Folklore Society of Okayama, found the mysterious mummy.
Japanese mermaids have a legend of immortality. It is said that if you eat the flesh of a mermaid, you will never die. “There is a legend in many parts of Japan that a woman accidentally ate the flesh of a mermaid and lived for 800 years,” explains Kinoshita.
The mermaid mummy found in Asakuchi quickly raised great intrigue among the community and also among various scientists. Although many believe in the veracity of the rare specimen of only 30 centimeters in size, the most objective has said that it could be the union of two bodies of different species to form a mermaid.
The alleged mermaid has fuzz on its head like hair, teeth, and five fingers on each hand that cover its face as if it were drowning in a scream, in addition to the fishtail coiled upwards. It has a very convincing appearance, although researchers believe that the hair, nails, and teeth may have had a human origin and were later embedded in the rare specimen. It is also believed that it may be a half-monkey body intentionally attached to that of a fish.
Science Finally Deciphered the Mystery Behind the Mermaid
Researchers from Kurashiki University decided to move the mermaid mummy to a tomography room and took DNA samples to accurately determine its composition. Finally, the mystery behind the Japanese mermaid mummy was revealed.
“The tomography and DNA tests suggest that the creature is completely fake.” The lower part is a mix of fish spines, possibly taken from a tail or dorsal fin. On the other hand, the jaw and teeth, the only bones that appear in the head, belonged to a carnivorous fish. The arms, shoulders, neck, and cheeks were deliberately constructed with fabric, and cotton, and were covered with pufferfish skin.
“Based on our analysis and the history of mummy creation in Japan, we can only conclude that the mermaid mummy was probably man-made,” said Takafumi Kato, a paleontologist at the University of Science and Arts in Kurashiki.”