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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Scientists unravel the mystery of Japan's mummified 'mer-monkey'

By T.K. Randall
February 22, 2023 · Comment icon 7 comments

This is one ugly-looking 'mermaid'. Image Credit: KUSA
The remains of a creature described as a 'mer-monkey' have been kept at Japan's Enju-in Temple for decades.
Japan is said to be home to quite an assortment of mythological creatures including the ningyo, which is a type of fish-human hybrid, and the kappa - a green, human-like entity with webbed hands and a turtle-like carapace on its back.

While few people would ever expect to see one of these creatures in the flesh, visitors to the Enju-in Temple in Asakuchi City can actually cast eyes upon the mummified remains of something very similar - a monkey-like creature with pointed teeth and fish-like scales.

Exactly where this bizarre specimen originated remains unclear, but over the last 12 months scientists from the Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts (KUSA) have been carefully studying the remains in an effort to piece together exactly what it is and what it is made of.

Using a combination of X-ray imaging, CT scans, DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating, the team discovered that the 'mer-monkey' was in fact a hodge-podge of parts from various other things.
Completely lacking any internal skeletal structure, the creature is made primarily of cloth, cotton and paper which has then been covered in some sort of substance made from charcoal and sand.

The hair on its head is animal hair, while its scales come from two different types of fish.

Its torso is covered in the skin of a pufferfish, while its nails seem to be made from animal horns.

"The fish body of the 'Dried Mermaid' in the collection of Enju-in is covered with the skin of a croaker, and the upper body is made of cloth and paper," the team wrote.

"It is made of laminated paper and puffer fish skin, with cotton and other fillings and a plaster-like substance as the base, and is presumed to have been made around the late 1800s."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (7)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Cho Jinn 1 year ago
Likely registered to vote in Maricopa County.
Comment icon #2 Posted by the13bats 1 year ago
Months back when this story was 1st posted i replied then it was without any doubt a gaff a fiji mermaid. Anyone reading this could take a look and see that, it shouldnt take a year and a panel of experts to prove the obvious.  
Comment icon #3 Posted by SD455GTO 1 year ago
We have a similar thing here in a Banff, Alberta, Canada. It's called a Merman. It's a touristy thing. I go check it out every now and then when I go skiing up in the mountains.
Comment icon #4 Posted by TripGun 1 year ago
Recently found in East Palestine Ohio.
Comment icon #5 Posted by moonman 1 year ago
I can think of at least one member here who will still claim it's a real creature. No names will be mentioned to avoid enticing the devil moron. How desperate are scientists for something to do that they would waste time on this paper mache BS? Nobody truly believed it was a real thing (aside from the previously mentioned).
Comment icon #6 Posted by MissJatti 1 year ago
Why make such things?
Comment icon #7 Posted by the13bats 1 year ago
The thing is as i said if i handed such a gaff to anyone here they could quickly tell its a hodge podge fake and anyone who wouldnt admit that is either ignorant intentionally lying or both. But pay me like you did those scientists and ill milk it out a year. The art of hoax and showmanship like pt barnum made a great living off people who wanted to be duped, to this day most all sideshows still have a mugman or fiji mermaid, most hymilayan monks who know yeti is really a bear started to have yeti artifacts to draw western attention and money to their areas. I like to make gaffs so im not inno... [More]

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