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Thereafter, she took the form of a mermaid — human above the waist, fish below — although the earliest representations of Atargatis showed her as a fish with a human head and arm, similar to the Babylonian god Ea.Sometime before 546 BC, Milesian philosopher Anaximander postulated that mankind had sprung from an aquatic animal species.In the tale "Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman", the protagonist Abdullah the Fisherman gains the ability to breathe underwater and discovers an underwater society that is portrayed as an inverted reflection of society on land.

But the image in the Holy City is entirely a woman, and the grounds for their account are not very clear.

They consider fish to be sacred, and they never eat them; and though they eat all other fowls they do not eat the dove, for they believe it is holy.

This answer would please her, and she would accordingly calm the waters and bid the ship farewell.

Any other answer would enrage her, and she would stir up a terrible storm, dooming the ship and every sailor on board."Among them – Now that is the traditional story among them concerning the temple.

They look ponderous and clumsy but are actually fusiform, hydrodynamic and highly muscular, and mariners before the mid-nineteenth century referred to them as mermaids.