A deep sea photo taken off the East Coast by NOAA researchers is providing ample proof of why mariners once confused squids for mermaids.
The picture shows a “lurking” human-like shape that appears to have arms, legs and a Medusa-like head of hair.
The National Museum of Natural History reports humans long mistook squids for other mythical creatures, often confusing “a giant squid carcass with a merman or mermaid.”
“Now we know otherwise, but it took a long time for scientific evidence to replace the myths,” the museum says.
Mermaids and mermen are legendary half human, half-fish creatures that predate Greek mythology.
“In folklore, mermaids were often associated with misfortune and death, luring errant sailors off course and even onto rocky shoals,” the museum site reports.
NOAA identified the transparent shape as a deep-sea squid and reported it was spotted 2,838 feet down in an area known as the Central Blake Plateau Scarp, off northeast Florida.