Images That Went Viral: Fake or Real Photos? (Part II)

Have you determined how many fake pictures you you have seen on the Internet this last week? Here, we continue with the second part of a gallery of images that went viral in only days, but that were actually fake and computer manipulated.

  1. A Very Angry Koala

José Roberto Rincón: Real and fake
Real and fake

Koalas do not have wolf-life jaws. This is a fact. The original photo was taken in January 2009 by Flickr user Oz_drdolittle, who explains that the koala was wet because he had sprayed it with water. He said that the animal was really hot. He had 3 of them hanging around the house and that he watered twice a day while watering the garden.

Koalas do not often drink water (they usually get their fluids from the gum leaves), but they certainly enjoy this splash of water to low their temperature.

  1. The World’s Biggest Dog

José Roberto Rincón: The wrong dog
The wrong dog

This photo of “Hercules, the World’s Biggest Dog” is one of the best known “hoaxviral images on the Web. It started circulating in early 2007, initially on its own, but soon the Internet had supplied an explanatory caption.

Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of World’s Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Hercules is an English Mastiff and has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds. This three-year-old monster is far larger and heavier than his breed’s standard 200lb. limit. Hercules owner Mr. Flynn says that Hercules weight is natural and not induced by a bizarre diet.

The information in this caption is correct, but not when applied to the dog shown above. The text is actually taken from a description of an English mastiff named Hercules that was owned by power lifter John Flynn. So wrong dog and wrong photo!

  1. A rare Diplocaulus

José Roberto Rincón: The Diplocaulus
The Diplocaulus

The caption that accompanied the photo of this specie claimed that the mysterious creature in the bucket had been found in Malta.

Professor Patrick Schembri of the Department of Biology at the University of Malta discussed the photos in an article that was published in November 2004 in the Malta Times. He identified the creature as an amphibian called a Diplocaulus, but he noted that the photos had to be fake because the Diplocaulus had been extinct for 270 million years. He speculated that the creature was a model. The image was later traced back to an amateur Japanese model-maker who had taken the photo back in 1992 and submitted it to a magazine as part of a contest.

  1. The tip of the iceberg

This image was created by professional photographer Ralph Clevenger. He intended the photo to be a work of art. He never claimed it was an unmanipulated photo. However, it subsequently found its way online where someone appended a caption stating that the photo came from a Rig Manager for Global Marine Drilling in St. Johns, Newfoundland. They actually have to divert the path of these things away from the rig by towing them with ships! Global Marine Drilling is a real company, but it had nothing to do with this photo.

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