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Claire.

13th Century Mermaid Bones at Japanese Temple

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How 13th-Century “Mermaid Bones” Came to Be Displayed in a Japanese Temple

In Japan, mermaids are not the conventionally attractive creatures that they have been depicted as in Disney movies. Called ningyo, Wu Mingren at Ancient Origins writes, the fish-like creatures vary in appearence, often said to have pointy teeth, and sometimes, menacing horns. They also are purported to have mystical abilities.

Today, the “bones” of a 13th-century ningyo are on display at Ryuguji temple in Fukuoka, reports Shinjiro Sadamatsu at The Asahi Shimbun. But how did its bones get there?

Read more: Smithsonian.com

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Very interesting Claire!

Old sailors such as myself have a soft spot for mermaids. ;) 

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Here's a bit of nonsense which I can propose because unfortunately we don't get to see the bones themselves, what if the bones are actually those of a juvenile or newborn Stellar's sea cow? I don't really imagine it is. 

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I have a story of mermaid from a book being written by friend/customer of mine in olde English spellings.
�a strange Creature, which I first saw there in the yeere 1610. In a morning early, as I was standing by the River side, in the Harbour of Saint Johns...�
�It very swiftly came swimming towards me, looking cheerfully on my face, as it had been a woman: by the face, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, eares, necke, and forehead, it seemed to bee so beautifull, and in those parts so well proportioned, having round about the head many blue streakes, resembling haire, but certainly it was no haire, yet I beheld it long, and another of my company also yet living, that was not then farre from mee, saw the same comming so swiftly towards me: at which I stepped backe; for it was come within the length of a long Pike, supposing it would have sprung aland to mee, because I had often sene huge Whales to spring a great height above the water, as divers other great Fishes doe; and so might this strange Creature doe to mee if I had stood still where I was, as I verily beleeve it had such a purpose. But when it saw I went from it, it did thereupon dive a little under the water and swam towards the place where a little before I landed, and it did often looke backe towards mee; wherby I beheld the shoulders & back down to the middle, to be so square, white and smooth as the backe of a man; and from the middle to the hinder part, it was poynting in proportion something like a broad hooked Arrow; how it was in the forepart from the necke and shoulder, I could not well decerne; but it came shortly after, to a Boat in the same Harbour (wherein one William Hawkridge then my servant was) that hath been since a Captaine in a Ship to the East Indies, and is lately there so imployed againe; and, the same Creature did put both his hands upon the side of the Boat, and did strive much to come in to him, and divers then in the same Boat; whereat they were afraid, and one of them strucke it a full blow on the head, whereby it fell off from them; and afterwards it came to two other Boates in the said Harbour, where they lay by the shore: the men in them, for fear fled to land and beheld it. This (I suppose) was a Marmaid, or Mareman. Now because divers have writ much of Maremaids, I have presumed to relate what is most certaine, of such a strange Creature that was thus then seene at New-found-land, whether it were a Maremaid or no, I leave it for others to judge:�

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No pictures?

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It looks as though there are some bone pieces, mixed with Table legs??? I don't know enough about Anthropology to discern what these pieces are.

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2 hours ago, greenearthbaby said:

It looks as though there are some bone pieces, mixed with Table legs??? I don't know enough about Anthropology to discern what these pieces are.

A couple do look like table legs don't they. The second article explains why some of the bones look like wood (over-handling by humans), but, unfortunately, there's no explanation about the individual pieces and what specific bones they might be.

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Posted (edited)

The bones  were properly of  a big fish , all ancient cultures use to put in their temples dug up dinosaur  bones  and bones to scare people .

Edited by docyabut2
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2 hours ago, greenearthbaby said:

It looks as though there are some bone pieces, mixed with Table legs???

It took me a while to that, clear though it is. 

 Upper left almost certainly a vertebrae, top right a long bone, but which one? Far right God knows. The one below obviously from the cross section a flat bone, but again which one? And of course there's no guarantee that any of them are from the same animal although the two big bones do look as if they're from at least a similar species of presumably a similar size, so maybe? 

 

Interesting picture one for the morning. 

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4 minutes ago, docyabut2 said:

The bones  were properly of  a big fish , all ancient cultures use to put in their temples  dinosaur  bones  and bones to scare people .

They're definitely not fish bones, these are mammal bones no doubt. 

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Ignoring the long bone top right, I think that of the two largest remaining bones in the photo, the uppermost is a humerus, and the one below might be a scapula. I've no idea what from, except that I don't think it's a marine animal of any kind. 

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Posted (edited)

12 hours ago, greenearthbaby said:

 I don't know enough about Anthropology to discern what these pieces are.

It says in the OP that they are the bones of a ningyo, which literally means "human fish" in Japanese.

Catching one was believed to bring storms and misfortune, so fishermen who caught these creatures were said to throw them back into the sea. A ningyo washed onto the beach was an omen of war or calamity.

Edited by Black Monk

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9 hours ago, docyabut2 said:

The bones  were properly of  a big fish , all ancient cultures use to put in their temples dug up dinosaur  bones  and bones to scare people .

Definitely not fish bones. Some kind of mammal as oldrover says. Middle one looks like a leg bone, possible sheep but osteology really isn't my area.

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Posted (edited)

Looks like bones of a mammal to me. I think that finding old bones of what people in the mermaid believing cultures held to be bone of mermen and such should be analyzed carefully to give us more insight to what they called mermaids. 

It could be like the yeti hair and bones in a temple that showed it was  an extinct species of bear after modern analysis. 

Edited by White Unicorn
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9 minutes ago, White Unicorn said:

Looks like bones of a mammal to me. I think that finding old bones of what people in the mermaid believing cultures held to be bone of mermen and such should be analyzed carefully to give us more insight to what they called mermaids. 

It could be like the yeti hair and bones in a temple that showed it was  an extinct species of bear after modern analysis. 

I do agree with the main point of your post. But the yeti bones weren't an extinct bear. Bryan Sykes carried out a characteristically flawed DNA analysis of some Himalayan samples which he then calimed were a match for an ancient polar bear sample (about 100 kya I think) from Svalbard in Norway. His methodology was shown to be wrong, again, and the results of later more thorough work showed them to be within the range of the two brown bear species of the area. Not a polar bear/local brown bear hybrid as he claimed. 

Other samples examined have been shiwn to bear, but again thise soecies known to live in the area or at least extant Asian species.

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1 minute ago, oldrover said:

I do agree with the main point of your post. But the yeti bones weren't an extinct bear. Bryan Sykes carried out a characteristically flawed DNA analysis of some Himalayan samples which he then calimed were a match for an ancient polar bear sample (about 100 kya I think) from Svalbard in Norway. His methodology was shown to be wrong, again, and the results of later more thorough work showed them to be within the range of the two brown bear species of the area. Not a polar bear/local brown bear hybrid as he claimed. 

Other samples examined have been shiwn to bear, but again thise soecies known to live in the area or at least extant Asian species.

Thanks for the update.

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No problem. It's unfortunate when someone like Sykes comes along to add some ckairty to a question, but actually just ends up confusing it further. 

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22 hours ago, oldrover said:

They're definitely not fish bones, these are mammal bones no doubt. 

the ancients use to put old animal and dinosaur  bones together to scare people

ancient13-300x268.jpg

 

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10 hours ago, docyabut2 said:

the ancients use to put old animal and dinosaur  bones together to scare people

ancient13-300x268.jpg

 

That's fascinating but it still doesn't make mammal bones into fish bones.

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Posted (edited)

On 18/02/2017 at 1:57 AM, oldrover said:

They're definitely not fish bones, these are mammal bones no doubt. 

They're the bones of a ningyo. It says so in the article. There really is no mystery here.

Edited by Black Monk

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Those are stifle joints on what seems to be a femur. It's hard to judge the scale but the the very defined condyles are from a land mammal not an aquatic mammal. The vertebrae and chunk of skull are most certainly not from the same animal. They're far too small to come from whatever animal had those leg bones. The leg bones look like a horse femur, tibia and ilium really.

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