For centuries, sailors of the high seas have reported mermaid sightings, but without scientific proof, these "fishy tales" have all been caulked up to hearsay, folklore and drunken misinterpretation.

While marine biologists and oceanographers have yet to confirm the existence of merpeople, one bizarre viral clip currently has the internet captivated and hopeful.

In a viral YouTube video shared by Daily Trends, a seemingly still-living "mermaid" appears to have washed up on the shores of South Africa in April.

In the surreal footage, viewers can see a half-human, half-fish-like creature lying on the sandy beach while onlookers gather to examine the sea oddity.

The apparent mermaid appears to still be alive with its arms and fins still moving. However, nobody on the beach attempts to move the fantastical creature back into the water.

Is this the greatest hoax of 2022?

Viewers of the alleged mermaid video may be disappointed to see the clip end with no resolution. However, that hasn't stopped the YouTube clip from circulating across nearly 1 million screens, with many people hoping that the footage is real.

"I'm like 50/50, but honestly, it looks more like a fish was trying to eat the girl. If it was a mermaid, don't you think they would try to flip it over and see what's in the back of her body? Every person would get curious and try to see everything about it. I can't also say it's fake because I [wasn't] there, but I'm curious now," one YouTuber user commented.

"I appreciate the effort they put into making it. Looks 10 percent real," another user weighed in.

"Look at the radiation emitting from her chest. 100% real," a true believer commented.

See the video for yourself, below:

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