10. Black Fawn
In some organisms, melanism is a usual genetic color variation that has been described as “an increased amount of black or nearly black pigmentation on the skin, feathers, or hair. In humans, melanin is the primary determinant of skin color. People whose ancestors lived for long periods in the regions of the globe near the equator generally have larger quantities of eumelanin in their skins, making them black. The melanin pigment is one of the most mysterious found in living organisms. In 2010, images of a rare melanistic black fawn surfaced on the website of photographer Richard Buquoi, who specializes in nature photography. Buquoi captured the pictures near Austin, Texas.
9. Pink Dolphin
In June 2007, pictures of a pink albino bottlenose dolphin were captured in Calcasieu Lake, which is a brackish lake located in southwest Louisiana, United States. The pictures were taken by Captain Erik Rue of the Calcasieu Charter Service. According to marine biologist Dagmar Fertl, the event was only the third reported sighting of an albino bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico and the fourteenth spotted anywhere in the world.
8. Kurt Wenner
Kurt Wenner is an artist with an international following. He is best known for his invention of 3D pavement art. At a young age, Wenner worked for NASA as an advanced scientific illustrator. He created conceptual paintings of future space projects and extraterrestrial landscapes. In the 1980’s Wenner first introduced 3D pavement art at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He invented a new geometry in order to visualize his work. Over the years, Wenner has become internationally recognized and travels the world to work for high profile clients. The expansion of the Internet has helped Wenner’s popularity and many of his portraits have gone viral.
7. Bitterroot National Forest Fire
In 2000, the United States suffered a horrible fire season. By the month of August, over 4 million acres of land had been burned. On August 6, 2000, several fires converged in Bitterroot National Forest near the town of Sula in western Montana. As the blaze spread, fire behavior analyst John McColgan captured a remarkable photograph of the scene. The image shows a collection of deer watching the blaze from a river. In 2000, the photograph went viral and continues to symbolize the loss felt from the fires.
6. Snake Grabs a Wallaby
In 2005, the Australian news outlet ABC Far North Queensland reported on a picture that shows a large olive python pulling a wallaby from the water. In 2007, the image went viral under the description that the snake was eating a cow, which is false. The olive python is Australia’s second largest snake species and they have been known to consume large animals. The snake in the photo is enormous and if you look closely it extends all the way off the right side of the picture. It is difficult to see the entire snake because it is so well camouflaged in the rock face. The picture was taken in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
5. Mixed Twins
In February 2006, a collection of articles appeared in a variety of UK newspapers that told the story of a set of mixed race fraternal twin girls. In 2005, the girls were born to Kylie and Remi Horder. Kylie and Remi are also of mixed race and have a white mother and black father. The case was extremely rare as the twins were fathered by the same man. Most similar occurrences involve twins from two separate men. The Daily Mail wrote that the odds of the couple producing a set of mixed race fraternal twins are about a million to one.
4. A Steep Climb
In September of 2010, a collection of photographs surfaced on the Internet which claimed to show a family of bighorn sheep walking on the steep face of Buffalo Bill Dam, which is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Shoshone River in the U.S. state of Wyoming. Many websites called the pictures fake because they were not taken at Buffalo Bill Dam. Instead, the photos show a group of Alpine ibex walking on the face of Cingino Dam, which is a gravity masonry dam located in Piedmont, Italy. After the pictures went viral in 2010, it was determined that the ibex were attempting to get salt from the stones.
3. A Friendly Whale
In 2009, cameraman Marco Queral captured some incredible photographs while diving with a 50 ft (15.25 m) female humpback whale in the South Pacific (near Hawaii). Queral has spent 20 years of his life photographing whales. He says they are “extremely intelligent, just like humans, they have their own mind and come with strong personalities.” The most famous image from the collection shows Marco Queral reaching out to make contact with the giant whale. It was taken by one of Queral’s diving partners and went viral in 2009.
The image has been spread around the Internet with a story that details an encounter between a whale and a group of fisherman near the Farallon Islands, which is 18 miles off the coast of San Francisco. In the story, a whale became stuck in a collection of crab pots, so the fishermen jumped into the water and cut the animal free. After it was safe, the whale returned to the men to thank them with a nose bump. The man who cut the rope out of the whale’s mouth said that the creature’s eyes were following him the whole time and he will never be the same. The news story is accurate, but it has been falsely attributed to the Marco Queral photograph.
2. Alligator with Deer in its Mouth
In 2004, an image surfaced on the Internet which claimed to show an alligator on Cross Lake (located near Shreveport, Louisiana) with an adult deer its mouth. The image shocked viewers as the lake is a popular spot for fishing and recreational boating. Other websites claimed the photo was taken on Lake Martin in Alabama or in South Carolina. In August of 2004, the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service announced in a press release that the picture was taken in South Georgia, near the South Carolina border by an officer who was preparing to ignite a prescribed fire. The worker was surveying the area in a helicopter. “The sight of a 12-14 foot (3.6-4.3 m) alligator is something that South Georgia folks see occasionally, but few have seen one take an adult deer out to lunch.”
1. Shark Follows Kayaker
In September 2005, Africa Geographic magazine published an article titled Shark Detectives, which examined great white sharks off the coast of South Africa. The article included a collection of photographs that show a kayaker’s experience with a great white shark. The caption for the photo reads: “Sitting in a 3.8 meter (12.5 foot) kayak and watching a 4 meter (13.1 foot) great white shark approach.” In the publication, the researchers described the tense situation. However, they had already tested the shark’s reaction to an empty kayak and observed no signs of aggression.
Over the years, a large collection of fake shark images have become viral over the Internet. Some good examples include the picture of a shark jumping out of the water at a military helicopter, the image of a hungry shark lurking behind divers, the photo of a large shark near a surfer (which is actually a dolphin), and more recently the picture of a shark in the streets of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irene. In the Puerto Rico image, the shark was pulled from the kayaker photo.