Mermaids are commonly half woman (head, arms, and torso) and half fish-like (the midsection and below). In traditional folklore other mer beings or merfolk may be men, spirits, dieties, or have traits more animal than humanoid. Theorized origins of the mermaid range from belief to the health disorder sirenomelia to misconstrued sightings of sea mammals such as the dugong who some believe to be the source of the mermaid legends.

Related categories 3

Encyclopedia Mythica: Mermaid
Descriptive summary.
h2g2: Mermaids
Mythology, modern science, literature, and anatomy in relation to international and historic variations.
Humanity: Mermaid Tales
Collection of legends from different cultures around the world.
Obsidian Magazine: The Mermaid
Article by Peg Aloi, describing the mythos of mer creatures.
Water Spirit Legends 1
Mermaids, water sprites, and demons from various cultures.
Wikipedia: Mermaid
Encyclopedic article on the female mythological aquatic creature, including sections on fiction, history, art and literature.
Wikipedia: Nommos
Humanoid deities with fish-like tales, worshipped by the Dogon tribe of Mali.
Mermaid mummies
Article on reported mummified remains of Edo-period Japan. (August 11, 2006)
Water Spirits and Mermaids: The Copperbelt Case
A draft paper on African water spirits. (April 01, 2000)
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