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Faux Images - Mermaid Skeleton


Message circulating via social media features photographs of what appears to be a mermaid skeleton being excavated by archaeologists.

© Linda Bucklin

Brief Analysis

The message is a hoax. The mermaid skeleton images are the result of digital manipulation and were entries in a Worth1000 Photo Effects contest.



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Ancient skeleton of a mermaid before the Flood 8 millenniums ago was found near Sozopol Beach by Professor Dimitrov. This "news" blew prostarnstvoto Internet. Zevzecite comment that vampires after Dimitrov's time to start dealing with mermaids, writes Novinar.

The photo first appeared on the wall of a journalist Petar Genchev Facebook, but minutes after it is shared by dozens of others, impressed by the impressive growth of the former female fish.


Detailed Analysis

This message, which features images depicting what appears to be the skeleton of a mermaid being unearthed by archaeologists, is currently circulating on Facebook.  An earlier version featuring some of the same images claims that the skeleton was found near Sozopol Beach, Bulgaria by one Professor Dimitrov.

The images have generated considerable online debate, with many commentators suggesting that the images prove that the mythical mermaid was a real creature after all.

But, sadly for mermaid enthusiasts, the pictures do not show a real mermaid skeleton. The mermaid images are the result of some rather clever digital manipulation.

The main image was an entry in a Worth1000 Photo Effects contest named "Archaeological Anomalies 13" and was created by contributor "the1calledDANO". The entry was created using the following source image:


Some prankster has later added the supposed "Professor Dimitrov " to the image to go with the made up Bulgarian excavation story. The fake story, presented as a news article, was published on in June, 2012.

The second skeleton image comes from an earlier Worth1000 contest in the same series, Archaeological Anomalies 3 and was created by contributor, "Ultraviolet".  The entry used the source image included below:


The picture of the mermaid skeleton posed on a rock circulates in other contexts as a standalone image.

Mermaids, fairies, giants and other mythical creatures have captured the imagination of humans for centuries.  Sophisticated image manipulation software such as Photoshop has made it relatively easy to create seemingly genuine pictures of such creatures. And the Internet is the perfect vector for distributing fake images.

Last updated: August 2, 2013
First published: August 2, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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