The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a scientific agency that typically studies weather, climate change and other environmental matters, recently posted a statement on its website denying the existence of mermaids.


The post, titled “No Evidence of Aquatic Humanoids Has Ever Been Found,” states that “the belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species” and details a short history of mermaid mythology.


Neither NOAA nor any other federal agency has ever issued a statement about a mythical creature before, so what prompted this public denial?


A two-hour Animal Planet special called “Mermaids: The Body Found.”


The film, which aired last month, was a documentary-style CGI special that “paints a wildly convincing picture of the existence of mermaids, what they may look like and why they’ve stayed hidden,” according to the show’s website.


The film is science fiction, but it’s described as “a story about evolutionary possibility grounded in scientific theory” and even features interviews with NOAA scientists who testify that they found the remains of unidentified sea creatures with human origins.


“Mermaids: The Body Found” also delves into the aquatic ape hypothesis, which speculates that humans evolved from aquatic life. This theory is not among the mainstream explanations of human evolution.


It seems that the film’s documentary style manage to convince some people that not only are mermaids real, but the government is hiding their existence, thus prompting NOAA’s statement.


Although federal agencies have yet to take a stand on the existence of Bigfoot, NOAA has addressed a few oceanic legends on its website, including Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle.


Related: 12 animals mistaken for mythical creatures