Thursday, January 8, 2015
This day in History: Columbus mistakes Manatees for Mermaids
A History Lesson on Sailors spending way to much time at sea it would seem. January 8th 1493, Italian explorer Columbus sailing near the Dominican Republic sees three "Mermaids"
Six months earlier, Columbus (1451-1506) set off from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean with the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, hoping to find a western trade route to Asia. Instead, his voyage, the first of four he would make, led him to the New World.
However Columbus' Sighting wasn't a Mermaid. Seems most sightings by sailors, when they weren't made up, were most likely manatees, dugongs or Steller's sea cows (which became extinct by the 1760s due to over-hunting). That or sailors spending so much time at sea with a bunch of other men, they thought anything would look good at this point in time!
As adults, they're typically 10 to 12 feet long and weigh 800 to 1,200 pounds. They're plant-eaters, have a slow metabolism and can only survive in warm water.
Manatees live an average of 50 to 60 years in the wild and have no natural predators. However, they are an endangered species. In the U.S., the majority of manatees are found in, where scores of them die or are injured each year due to collisions with boats.
So the next time your out at sea for an extended trip, or on a drunken stupor at say, oh.... Spring Break, remember when you see this lovely creature.
Your actually seeing one of these. Despite what the Discovery Channel's recent show on Mermaids would have you believe.... that wasn't documentary people!
Article is by Jason Mansfield: Anomalous Environmental Studies Analyst™ found at www.hauntedarkansas.net, Voice Over Artist, Film Maker/ Prop Designer/ Creative Consultant/ Concept Artist at Binary Entertainment www.binaryentertainment.com, Folklorist, Horror Enthusiast, Writer, Squatchologist™, Legend Hunter & Oddity Tripper™ #BlogOfOdd #WhatTheFringe #OddityTrippers