It was a YouTube video destined to go viral from the get go. Show footage of what looks like an alien or Yeti and you'll get thousands of hits within days -- even hours. The latest viral footage is of a prehistoric woolly mammoth, thought to have been extinct, crossing a river in Siberia.
Watch the clip that already has more than half a million hits on YouTube and has spurred many into discussion if it's real or hoax:
Before we get into the discussion the extreme likelihood that this clip was doctored in some way, let's get some of the facts out there. According to The Sun, the beast was 1) thought to have gone extinct 4,000 years ago; 2) the river where footage was taken is located in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug region of Siberia; 3) it was taken last summer; and 4) it is reported that an engineer employed by the government filmed the scene.
The Sun also has the following comments from Michael Cohen, who is notorious for supporting theories of paranormal activity:
"Rumours of a handful of mammoths still kicking around in the vast wilderness of Siberia have been circulating for decades and occasionally sightings by locals have occurred.
"Siberia is an enormous territory and much of it remains completely unexplored and untouched by humans. "
"It is highly possible that a number of species, extinct elsewhere, survive in the area.
"If surviving woolly mammoths were found in Siberia, it could run against Russia's plans to further develop and exploit the area's considerable resources.
"It would be potentially one of the greatest discoveries ever."
But here are the problems with the story circulating on the web. MSNBC reports that there are three opinions as to what could be going on this video -- aside from mammoths really coming back to life. The first theory is that a creature was straight-up Photoshopped into the river scene. Others think the beast could really be a bear with a fish in its mouth. And the third thought is that it is both a bear and a Photoshopped fake. MSNBC has more:
Derek Serra, a Hollywood video-effects artist who has previously analyzed faked UFO videos, told Life's Little Mysteries that the video, in his opinion, appears to have been intentionally blurred, probably to obscure the animal's true identity.
"Even low-resolution cameras can focus fairly well on something," Serra said. "But there's really nothing in this video in focus. The rocks in the foreground have a blur to them that doesn't seem natural."
The Huffington Post has more thoughts on the fishiness of the video:
- Why is the original video just 10 seconds long? Is that the only amount of time the videographer had left on his battery? Why couldn't he have kept shooting to see what the animal would do when it reached the other side of the river?
- Also, as pointed out by Kecia Stewart in The Fayetteville Observer, if you look closely at the full screen version of the video, the river wake appears to follow the animal's legs, rather than moving briskly downstream.
- If this video was shot last summer, why is it only now being revealed?
- And how is it possible that, once again, a remarkable "smoking gun"-type video is presented to the world by the new P.T. Barnum of the modern era: Paranormal writer Michael Cohen, who claims the copyright on this mammoth video.