Feb 11, 2010

Mermaid Origins

Behold the dugong (Dugong dugon). It's the only strictly marine herbivorous mammal. They feast primarily on sea grass and are particular about what fields they feed upon. Related to both the manatee and elephants, they have forsaken their hind limbs in favor of a whale-like tail and forepaws in favor of paddles. They've also forsaken comeliness in favor of a vacuum-style mouth.

They are supposedly the source of many mermaid myths. I imagine those confused sailors either need to have their eyes checked, or maybe they just spent too much time at sea.

Photo source: Webecoist.com


Rosie said...

I think they must have been desperate! The scurvy must have affected their eyesight.

Anonymous said...

About the dugongs inspiring the mermaid myths, it is interesting to note that among the Malays of south-east Asia, the word for 'mermaid' is 'duyong'.

Could there be a correlation ? Perhaps.

Raging Wombat said...

Yes, there is a direct correlation. That's where their name came from.