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Woolly Mammoth in Viral Video Proved a Fake -- So What Was It Then?

"I'm the guy that filmed the river footage ...I don't recall sighting a mammoth."

Last week, we brought you the questionable video of what appeared to be a woolly mammoth crossing a river in Siberia. The viral video now has more than 3 million hits on YouTube and the creature in the video has been identified -- almost.

When the video hit the Internet, discussion of what the animal in the blurry footage could be also began swirling. Theories included: the avid belief that it was in fact a woolly mammoth -- this was the least popular theory; the footage was Photoshopped to include the image of the extinct animal; and that it was really a distorted image a bear holding a fish in its mouth.

Here's the viral video if you missed it:

What's the verdict? Photoshop. The backdrop is real and the filmmaker of the river -- sans mammoth -- has clarified what he saw, which was nothing out of the ordinary. The Huffington Post reports that documentary filmmaker Lou Petho was among one of the more interesting comments it received on the story. Petho wrote:

"I'm the guy that filmed the river footage in the Sayan Mountains in the summer of 2011. ... I don't recall sighting a mammoth. ... I had no idea my footage was used to make this fake sighting, and question if a law was broken here."

The footage circulating the Internet was branded with paranormal writer Michael Cohen's name and was said in the YouTube description to have been taken by a government employee during the summer of 2011. While Petho did film it at that time, his original footage doesn't show anything crossing the river.

Check out Petho's clip of the river (Note: Unlike the fake woolly mammoth video which was just posted this year, this original footage was posted shortly after the time of its filming):

The Huffington Post has more from Petho on his original footage:

He surmised that Cohen may have taken his high definition footage and used it as a backdrop to create an elaborate hoax showing a woolly mammoth (or bear, as many readers insist) crossing the river.

"I checked it against my footage and knew it was mine when I looked at the placement of rocks in the foreground," Petho (seen above) told HuffPost, who he said was the first media organization to respond to his concerns.

"It was a mix of emotions," he added. "At first I was just pissed off that somebody would do this. It was obviously orchestrated and I assume money was made over it, so I was annoyed about that."

At the time of the fake video's posting, film experts also had questioned its validity, noting it looked intentionally blurred.

The Petho shot the original scene for a documentary film about his grandfather's escape in 1915 as a prisoner of war in Siberia.

One last thing…
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