BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – AUGUST 19: A mermaiding student takes part in a Mayim Mermaid Academy lesson at the swimming pool at Bournemouth Collegiate School on August 19, 2017 in Bournemouth, England. The ancient Assyrian goddess Atargatis is thought to be one of the earliest mermaids and like Ea, the Babylonian god of the sea from around 4000bc, she had the upper body of a human and the lower body of a fish. Throughout history Merfolk have been popular in art and literature. A well known Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” (1836) was adapted to an animated film in 1990 and is still popular today. Recently the practice of mermaiding has become popular across the world as an extreme sport and cosplay/performance art. Mermaiding involves the wearing of a costume mermaid tail, consisting of a plastic monofin covered in a fabric, while swimming or performing. The practice of mermaiding has been taught by professional instructors in the UK since 2006. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)