The Debate on Whether Mermaids and Sirens Could Actually Exist

Woman in Mermaid Costume Sitting on Wooden Boat
  • P.T. Barnum’s Feejee Mermaid was one of the most famous mermaid hoaxes in history.
  • A mockumentary called Mermaids: The Body Found, promoted the existence of mermaids by showing fake footage.
  • The most recent sighting of a real siren mermaid happened in 2012 in Zimbabwe.
  • Mermaids would have a unique anatomy that includes elongated skulls and finger bones, flippers, and streamlined bodies.

For centuries, mermaids and sirens have captured the human imagination with their alluring beauty and mysterious allure. But could these mythical creatures actually exist in the real world? Mermaids and sirens have been a part of our folklore for centuries, which tends to question their existence.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the debate surrounding the existence of mermaids and sirens and examine the scientific evidence and theories behind these legendary creatures. Is it possible that one of these creatures once inhabited our planet, or still does?

Woman Wearing a Mermaid Costume

The Origins of Mermaids and Sirens

To find out the main siren vs mermaid difference, we first must look at their origins. Mermaids are creatures that have roots in Mesopotamian mythology. They are described as half human, half fish creatures living in the ocean. They are known for their beautiful voices, and they are considered harmless.

On the other side, sirens are quite the opposite. They come from Greek mythology, and while they are also known for their captivating voices, they do not resemble fish at all. In fact, they are half women, half birds. They are also considered to be evil-natured.

Sirens vs Mermaids in Literature

The majority of mythological texts are full of stories about evil sirens that lure sailors to their deaths using their enchanting voices. The best example is the story about Odysseus and the Sirens, who are described as beautiful but deadly creatures.

The story of mermaids begins with the goddess Atargatis, who became one after drowning in a lake.

Unlike sirens, mermaids are not known for their bad nature; however, this doesn’t make them safe. According to the famous poem Lorelei by Heinrich Heine, mermaids can also lure sailors into their watery graves.

Sirens vs Mermaids in Pop Culture

The evolution of mermaid and siren creatures in literature has come a long way from its origins. In pop culture, you’ll find stories about good and evil sirens and mermaids in many fantasy and horror books and movies. 

For example, in the Harry Potter books, you’ll find three types of merpeople – sirens, selkies, and merrows. They are described as intelligent creatures with their own culture.

On the other hand, most horror movies describe mermaids as dangerous creatures, such as the sea siren in the 2014 movie Killer Mermaid.

Real Life Sirens and Mermaids: Theories and Speculations

Many people have tried to prove that these mystical creatures are real. While some were genuine in their beliefs, others just wanted to make money on false acclaim.

For example,  P.T. Barnum’s Feejee Mermaid is one of the most famous hoaxes. His false mermaid was, in fact, a monkey with a sewn fish tail. 

Another popular example was the 2011 mockumentary called Mermaids: The Body Found. This movie promoted the existence of mermaids by showing fake footage. Many people believed in this story since it was allegedly backed by science.

Figurine of Mermaid on Rock in Harbor

The Scientific Evidence

Now, you are probably wondering, are sirens real and can their existence be supported by any scientific evidence? The answer is no. So far, there has been no scientific evidence supporting the existence of sirens or mermaids.

However, many oceanic lifeforms, such as manatees and dugongs, may have inspired the creation of sirens, especially since we still haven’t explored the depths of the oceans.  

Mermaids Sightings Throughout History

The first alleged sighting of a mermaid happened in the second century when a governor of Gaul found mermaid corpses lying on the beach. One of the most famous pirates, Blackbeard, also reported seeing mermaids during their travels.

Columbus was another famous explorer who allegedly saw three mermaids near Hispaniola island. However, many people believe he saw manatees since he described them as masculine.

One of the most recent real siren mermaid sightings happened in 2012 in Zimbabwe. A couple of workers who were hired to install a water pump on one of the dams swear they saw siren mermaids. They also claim to have proof they exist. 

Interestingly, the dam remains unfinished to this day.

Anatomy of Mermaids

If, by any chance, mermaids and sirens were to exist, their anatomy would be unique.

They would have internal ears with increased sensitivity so that they would be able to communicate via reflected sounds.

Regarding the sirens’ real-life skeletal system, things get more interesting. Namely, they would have elongated skulls, finger bones, flippers, and streamlined bodies.

The Debate Continues

As mentioned above, to this day, there is no evidence that mermaids or sirens are real. While some argue they could be real, there are many contra arguments that make this statement nearly impossible.

  • Their body would not be able to withstand the cold ocean water. Human-like bodies are not designed to survive in water for long.
  • They would die out due to the inability to reproduce like mammals, especially since most sightings are those of female mermaids.
  • There is no physical evidence.

On the other hand, if mermaids were real, they would most likely be predatory fish-eaters, which could potentially put people in grave danger of being eaten.

A Mermaid Swimming on a Swimming Pool


The debate on whether mermaids and sirens could actually exist is a fascinating and ongoing topic that continues to capture the human imagination. While the scientific evidence is inconclusive at this time, the enduring allure and fascination with the siren vs mermaid debate will continue to entertain people for years to come. 

Who knows, maybe we’ll see more sightings in the future. Until then, mermaids and sirens will have to remain within the pages of the world’s most beautiful myths.

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