The mystery behind one of Fiji’s famous “mermaids” could soon be revealed by some radiological tests. With its morphia, strange teeth, enormous claws, fish-like lower half and a downy layer of gray hair, this bizarre creature has puzzled scientists for over a century. The artifact was brought to the United States by an American sailor in 1906 and in the same year it was donated to the Clark County Historical Society, a public museum in Springfield, Ohio. Now researchers at Northern Kentucky University have set to work to reveal its secrets.
The story of the Fiji mermaid
The “mermaid” is clearly a fake, so much so that for years, in addition to attracting people’s curiosity, it has also been used for scams. It was created by “assembling” parts from different animal species, including mammals, fish and reptiles. Small enough to fit a shoebox, it was a popular attraction throughout the 19th century, captivating audiences with its bizarre and peculiar appearance. Various versions of the creature with different compositions have emerged over the years. Some were taxidermies combining monkeys and fish, while others were made entirely of papier-mâché.
What the first analyzes say about the find
The researchers explained that X-rays and CT scans found that the specimen has the lower body, jaws and teeth of a real fish. It was taxidermied using a traditional method, which includes a wooden core. From the analysis of the latter it will be possible to precisely calculate the moment in which it was created. The information will be sent to specialists at the Cincinnati Zoo and Newport Aquarium as they wait to identify any creatures that were combined to create the mermaid.