A mermaid is a mythological aquatic creature with a female human head and torso and the tail of an aquatic animal such as a fish. Mermaids have a broad representation in folklore, literature, and popular culture.
According to Dorothy Dinnerstein’s book, The Mermaid and the Minotaur, human-animal hybrids such as the minotaur and the mermaid convey the emergent understanding of the ancients that human beings were both one with and different from animals:
"Human nature is internally inconsistent, that our continuities with, and our differences from, the earth's other animals are mysterious and profound; and in these continuities, and these differences, lie both a sense of strangeness on earth and the possible key to a way of feeling at home here."
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