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'Mermaids: The New Evidence' recap: Extended Discovery cut stirs debate

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"Mermaids: The New Evidence" appeared on the Discovery Channel Sunday and built on the "Body Found" show that stirred the Internet and viewing public in 2012. Dr. Paul Robertson, a former marine biologist with NOAA, sat down with host, Jon Frankel, and talked about the controversy surrounding the existence of mermaids. Recall that he first exposed the conspiracy and so-called government cover-up, citing the Discovery in this live recap (extended cut coverage not seen in 2013 broadcast).

Controversial footage surfaced in 2003 in the United Kingdom that suggests something that appeared briefly in the tape was a mermaid. Kenneth Greenwood, District Officer with HM Coast Guard, appeared via satellite. The naval officer dismissed the video as merely a "man overboard exercise" and it offers no significant evidence that mermaids exist.

The leaked video shows a creature with glowing eyes which surfaces at the bow of a boat carrying Coast Guard officers. Greenwood said he believes it was a seal. Dr. Robertson countered by pointing to the curvature of the head -- and knows of no marine animal with a "prominent ridge" on their head.

In the "Mermaids: The New Evidence” show, purportedly, the most compelling footage was captured by the crew of a small submarine vessel on March 6, 2013. At a depth of 3,000 feet, the crew, which conducts seismic mapping of the ocean floor in search of prominent sites for oil and natural gas exploration, discovered an aquatic creature never seen before.

Dr. Torsten Schmidt, a Danish marine geologist and a crew member initially captured strange sounds during a dive in 2010. And when he requested a full investigation to learn of the nature of the sounds, the agency, a counterpart to NOAA, dismissed the sounds as pilot whales. What is more, they were reminded of their confidentiality agreement to remain silent.

Not satisfied with the government's response, Schmidt struck out on a mission of his own to discover the true nature of the mysterious sounds. And in March of last year, he got the answers he needed: Mermaids are real and the new evidence from his video footage supports his claims.

In the video taken just off the coast of Greenland, while Schmidt and a partner were filming and documenting their descent and exploration, a creature suddenly emerged, made contact with the vessel, and vanished.

In stills and slow-motion, the marine animal resembled an alien with human features. Its head had the prominent ridge similar to the one seen in the leaked 2002 U.K. Coast Guard video. Additionally, it had prominent eyes, an elongated body, and webbed hands.

Was it real or did the Animal Planet and Discovery Channel double down on the success from "Mermaids: The Body Found?"

The disclaimer at the end of the show offers a clue:

None of the individuals or entities depicted in the film are affiliated or associated with it in any way, nor have approved its contents. Any similarities to actual persons living or dead are entirely coincidental.

Though certain events in this film are fictional, navy sonar tests have been directly implicated in whale beachings."

In short, "Mermaids: The New Evidence" was for entertainment only...or was it?

Hoax or not, the Mermaid obsession continues.

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