The origins of the Buxton Mermaid, a mummified mermaid, date back to the mid-19th century.
Juanita Hollis, 33, a conservation expert at Cambridge University, came across the object while working at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and decided to dig deeper into the history of the object.
Tests carried out at the university have established the mummy was made up of 60% human bones and 40% fish bones.
The hair on the mummy, which is 14.5in high and 6.7in wide, is human and researchers have discovered the tail is definitely fish.
Fishermen from Japan and the Far East sold the mummified mermaids.
They were usually bought by sailors as good luck charms or by collectors who would display them in cabinets of curiosities or at side-shows.
Further tests have discovered the teeth and eyes are still in good enough shape to be tested for DNA.
Ms Hollis told WWN: ”It’s been so exciting to see the reaction that this research has generated. Mermaids really spark people’s imagination.
“Although I have been able to find out quite a lot about the Buxton Mermaid she is still in many ways a mysterious creature and I don’t think we’ll ever uncover her whole story.”