Is the lion’s mane jellyfish picture on Twitter real? Well, yes and no. The lion’s mane jellyfish is a real creature, but the picture in question is a photoshopped phony, which may be quite a relief for some people who were threatening to never enter the ocean again after seeing the picture.
Though many people are seeing it for the first time, the photo actually is from a year ago and was debunked by various sources, like io9 and Forbes. Leave it to Twitter to make an old hoax seem like a fresh possibility.
It all started on Wednesday when the trusted and verified Twitter handle UberFacts shared the image. The handle has nearly 6 million followers and more than 50,000 tweets. The picture quickly became a sensation, garnering nearly 2,000 retweets in less than an hour and hundreds of favorites.
The viral image on the social media site reads, “In 1870, a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish washed up onto Massachusetts bay with tentacles measuring 120 feet (73 meters) making it larger than a blue whale.” Then Uber Facts added, “Yes, that’s how large they are compared to humans.”
According to National Geographic, the lions mane jellyfish is the most potent species of jellyfish. It adds, however, that the largest it grows is 6.6 feet in diameter and that its tentacles reach 49 feet on average.
Dr. Craig McClain, assistant director of science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, wrote on his blog Deep Sea News, indeed, the largest recorded lion’s mane jellyfish had a bell diameter of 7 and half feet (2.29m) and 120 feet long tentacles (37m), but as a “connoisseur of photos of all size extremes,” he quickly noticed something wasn’t right with the image and eventually found a picture of the jellyfish without the diver involved in the picture. This means a diver was probably placed into the picture and made to look smaller so the jellyfish appeared bigger.
So even though it looks really cool and freaky, it’s a fake. Sorry, Internet.
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