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A snorkeler swims over life-size statues near Cancún, Mexico, in a picture released in January.
More than 400 of the permanent sculptures were installed in late 2010 in the National Marine Park of Cancún, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Nizuc (map of the region) as part of a major artwork called "The Silent Evolution." The installation is the first endeavor of a new underwater museum called MUSA, or Museo Subacuático de Arte.
Created by Mexico-based British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, the Caribbean installation is intended to eventually cover more than 4,520 square feet (420 square meters), which would make it "one of the largest and most ambitious underwater attractions in the world," according to a museum statement.
In doing so, Taylor hopes Mexico's natural reefs, which are already stressed by marine pollution, warming waters, and overfishing, can catch a break from the approximately 750,000 tourists who visit the area each year.