A US government agency had to deny mermaids were real after people mistook a fictional TV show for a documentary.
Viewers wrote to the National Ocean Service asking about the creatures, reports The Mirror.
It followed the broadcasting of Mermaids: The Body Found on the Discovery Channel's Animal Planet network.
The National Ocean Service responded by posting an article on its educational website, Ocean Facts.
It said that mermaids appeared in mythology and art from Homer's Odyssey to the oral lore of the Australian aboriginals.
But it concluded: "No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found."
National Ocean Service spokeswoman Carol Kavanagh said at least two people had written to the agency asking about the creatures.
The Discovery Channel acknowledged that the format of the show had led some viewers to believe it was a science education show.