Saturday Scenes

Wed 13 January 2010

Far Less Beautiful

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 23:04

On 9 January, 1493, an Italian explorer named Christopher Columbus was sailing off of the coast of Hispaniola when he saw three mermaids. He seemed somewhat disappointed by the sight. In his log, he is said to have written: “In a bight at the coast of Hispaniola I saw three Sirens, but they were far less beautiful than Horaz described them...for somehow in the face they look like men.”

What did he see?

Something that looked like this:

This Day in History 1493: Columbus mistakes manatees for mermaids

Mermaid sightings by sailors, when they weren’t made up, were most likely manatees, dugongs or Steller’s sea cows (which became extinct by the 1760s due to over-hunting). Manatees are slow-moving aquatic mammals with human-like eyes, bulbous faces and paddle-like tails. It is likely that manatees evolved from an ancestor they share with the elephant. The three species of manatee (West Indian, West African and Amazonian) and one species of dugong belong to the Sirenia order. As adults, they’re typically 10 to 12 feet long and weigh 800 to 1,200 pounds. They’re plant-eaters, have a slow metabolism and can only survive in warm water.

I think I’d be pretty disappointed to see those mermaids too...

But there’s no way you’ll be disappointed with these photographs taken on the 9th of January 2010! This Saturday was clearly a perfect day for photography; just look at all these great submissions:

Take a moment to find out more about the people who submit to Saturday Scenes. I can vouch for them all as fun and friendly folk:

Taking part is easy – just take a photo on a Saturday and tweet the url to @SatScenes to be included in next week’s round-up!

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