On display in our Centenary Gallery is an object from the Natural History collection which tends to grab people's attention: the Horniman Merman.
Thanks to careful research by our Deputy Keeper of Natural History Paolo Viscardi, we are now able to reveal some of the secrets of our mysterious merman, as well as tell the story of how 'mermaids' such as ours came to be.
The secrets of the Horniman Merman have been revealed with a combination of X-rays, CT scans and even DNA analysis.
While it has long been described as a 'monkey-fish', we revealed a while ago that this was not an accurate description of our specimen. Paolo's research now goes further, looking at mermaid specimens across Europe.
Mermaids have a presence across a wide range of museum collections, and have always sparked curiosity. Our own was originally part of the Wellcome Collection, who have also been blogging about their connection to these strange specimens. There is even an exciting hint at the possibility of a new mermaid exhibition in the near future.
The merman and his kind also feature in today's Animal Magic blog post on the Guardian website.
You can also read Paolo's blog post introducing his research.