Published: Jul 16, 2012 12:06 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 16, 2012 1:52 PM EDT

The idea of mermaids has tantalized mariners for ages, and the recent premiere of the Discovery Channel documentary, "Mermaids: The Body Found," has generated quite a buzz on the web. Could these aquatic creatures actually exist?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a statement to its website explaining that there is no evidence the legendary "half-human, half-fish sirens of the sea" have ever lived.

NOAA spokeswoman, Keeley Belva, told CNN that they have been receiving quite a few questions about mermaids lately, a trend, she believes may be in part due to the documentary.

The film, created and written by Charlie Foley, paints a wildly convincing picture of the existence of mermaids. It uses such instances as the "Bloop," an odd, underwater sound that was recorded in the Pacific Ocean, and the Navy's use of sonar systems which may have contributed to whale beachings as attestation to their existence. 

Foley finds assorted ways to lend plausibility to the tale, like expanding the aquatic ape theory, which postulates that human evolution was influenced by a shore-dwelling phase. Of course, the hypothesis is also given credence by the sheer abundance of the aquatic creatures in cultural references over the centuries.

The New York Times compares the film to "The Blair Witch Project," writing it off as a "fictional account built on a few strands of fact and made to look like an actual documentary."

The NOAA agrees. Despite the conviction of the documentary, the government says mermaids are still nothing more than a mythical creature.

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The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/28/mermaids-the-body-found-real-mermaid-on-beach-video_n_1550091.html

New York Times: http://tv.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/arts/television/mermaids-the-body-found-on-animal-planet.html

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/05/us/mermaids-noaa/index.html