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Mystery 'mermaid mummy' that baffled scientists is something completely different to what they first thought

Mystery 'mermaid mummy' that baffled scientists is something completely different to what they first thought

Experts finally have an update on the bizarre object

When a mummified creature that appears to be a mishmash of multiple animals turns up, scientists are usually the first to offer up some kind of explanation for it.

But when even world-renowned experts are baffled, there's little hope for the rest of us making sense of it.

This strange - and let's be honest, downright scary - 'mermaid mummy' was brought back from Japan all the way back in 1906 by a sailor, before it was donated to the Clark County Historical Society in Springfield, Ohio.

With characteristics that could be attributed to fish, monkeys and reptiles, the origin of this bizarre item obviously excited scientists, who suspected it might have been 'Frankensteined'.

It's hardly the prettiest thing in the world - it has a gaping mouth with unusual teeth, a frightening look on its face, long claws, grey hair and a mermaid-like tail, hence why it was dubbed the 'mermaid mummy'.

Doctor Joseph Cress, a radiologist at Northern Kentucky University, reckoned that the object was 'a hodgepodge of at least three different species externally'.

He said: "There’s the head and torso of a monkey, the hands seem to be that of an amphibian almost like an alligator, crocodile or lizard of some sort.

"And then there’s that tail of a fish - again, species unknown. It is obviously fashioned, almost Frankensteined together - so I want to know what parts were pulled together."

Experts think the 'mermaid mummy' may have been 'Frankensteined'.
Pen News

Experts at Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium then decided to launch a proper investigation into the mummy.

And boffins reckon think have now worked out the mystery behind the peculiar creature - but it's something completely different to what they first thought.

After performing an X-ray and a CT scan on the mummy, vets were asked to take a closer look at the insides of it to try and spot similarities to different species.

Much to the surprise of the experts, they were informed that its jaw appeared to come from either a stonefish or a toadfish, while its unusual 'hands' seemed to be from a turtle.

Northern Kentucky University radiographer Joseph Cress said he was left stunned by the outcome.

He explained: "Everything else related to this mermaid is completely synthetic, so it could be just like papier-mâché from way back in the day when they put this together.

"Even the ridges on the back that kind of seem like they’re where ribs might be… there’s no bones to accompany that. So it looks like it was just purely sculptural and not from a real animal.

Pen News

"And then there’s some wooden structural supports inside to really act as the frame to hold all of it together," he added.

Sounds like someone's was watching a little too much Art Attack to me.

Natalie Fritz, from the Clark County Historical Society, had previously offered up the theory that the mummy was actually a 'Fiji mermaid', which became a popular attraction in sideshows.

PT Barnum - who inspired 2017 movie The Greatest Showman - is credited with popularising the puzzling items, which are made up of half a monkey and half a fish, sewn together.

Japanese legends claim that mermaids grant immortality to whoever tastes their flesh, so obviously replicas and variations of Fiji mermaids flooded the country.

Fritz explained: "Fiji Mermaids were a part of collections and sideshows in the late 1800s. We've heard some stories from people in the community.

"Some remember seeing it on display in Memorial Hall, the home of the historical society from 1926 to 1986."

She believes that the 'mermaid mummy' could date back to the 1870s, as records show that the man who donated the object had served in the US Navy during this time.

Featured Image Credit: Pen News

Topics: Science, Animals, Weird, News, US News