Plesiosaur Photo Hoax

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on September 1st, 2006

As we were talking about photo manipulation the other day here on Cryptomundo, sometimes photographs are manipulated to make them appear to show a cryptid.

Below is a photo of a megamouth shark that was manipulated to appear as if it was a plesiosaur. No known source, but it was featured on several cryptozoology websites several years ago.

On the left is the original photo of a megamouth shark carcass, and on the right is the manipulated photo of a "plesiosaur."

Plesiosaur Hoax

Click image for full-size version

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

15 Responses to “Plesiosaur Photo Hoax”

  1. LordofShades responds:

    Someone should write a book about the appeal of a hoax. Maybe that way I can have a better understanding of why people do such a pointless and detrimental thing. Cryptozoology doesn’t seek to displace science, it seeks to expand it. When people hoax, it’s always at the expense of other people’s credibility.Namely, ours. But, a hoax does not compromise my faith in cryptozoology as a valid science. It is my sincere hope however, that the eventual discovery of a very intriguing cryptid does not convince the scientific community at large that certain hoaxers have had, or do have, more credibility in light of a genuine discovery. Sorry for ranting, thanks for reading 🙂

  2. ZenBug responds:

    The people who make these hoaxes are not the slightest bit interested in furthering the science of cryptozoology. They are people who just got a hold of Photoshop and are trying to show that they can fool people with their kung fu.

    I don’t know what’s so unbelievable about that.

  3. skook responds:

    I remember seeing this photo at a few years ago. The person who created it said he didn’t do it with the intention of hoaxing anyone. Someone had stolen the photo off his website and started circulating it without his permission. He’d also created a very good image of a baby pterodactyl. I’m sure that’s floating around the web somewhere as well.

  4. madstone responds:

    I wonder why the kid was removed on the manipulated picture.

    I can hear them, “dude, nobody’s ever gonna believe that’s a plesiosaur with that KID in the picture!”

  5. mystery_man responds:

    Yeah, that is pretty creepy how the kid dissappeared in the second one. A mystery in its own right, I would say. Seriously, though, one thing I can say about hoax photos is that it makes our eyes sharp and hones our observation skills. I would say that because of the dearth of hoaxes these days, we are getting harder to fool. On the flip side, a real photo of a cryptid could be staring us right in our face and some people are going to say outright that it’s a hoax, especially if it is unusually clear. Kinda like the boy who cried wolf.

  6. shumway10973 responds:

    actually not bad. The child is missing because you cannot have a dinosaur right there in “person” and with a child more interested in the waves coming onto shore. I can see where they used the cloning tool to run more wet sand around, such as the tail where the upper fin area was removed, I can see the original line. If you look where the mouth was taken away, you can see this person used a circular motion to get the “neck” in there. All in all not bad, but not good enough to get a graphics job.

  7. wendelc responds:

    This effort seems useful in a way though. Aren’t plesiosaur carcasses usually whales where the lower jaw has rotted away and fallen off? And here all the fellow did was photoshop away the lower jaw. Almost educational.

  8. twblack responds:

    Oh well it would have made a good story had it been real.

  9. pentagramma responds:

    Oh, that’s the same picture that circulated here in Brazil with the Sakhalin news.

    That’s sad.

  10. U.T. Raptor responds:

    “He’d also created a very good image of a baby pterodactyl. I’m sure that’s floating around the web somewhere as well.”
    It is. Last I heard of it, the pic was being used as “evidence” on a creationist site…

  11. devinbennett responds:

    With Photoshop accessible to pretty much anyone, and a willingness for most human beings to tell a ‘tall tale’ or two, it’s easy to see why over 95% (or even more so) of all claims and evidence are farcical. I can only imagine an investigator’s frustration at the mountains of hoaxed evidence one needs to filter though in order to find a fragment of something truly authentic. All the rest of us can do is keep up the faith and keep looking! I am open to the possibility that as of yet undiscovered living fossils still exist on Earth. How wonderful it would be to actually find a plesiosaur somewhere… or a modern day descendant of an extinct giant ape/hominid!

  12. finbarmccool responds:

    You may, indeed, wonder why people create hoax photos?

    Perhaps it’s to show other cryptofans how easy it is to create a “faux foto” and not always believe what they see.

    I should know, as I’m the one who created the image above. I started to create a website with “faux fotos” and the source images used to create them, but then my fakes started showing up on the web as “real”, so I scrapped the entire project.

    I have a lot more images, and as an artist, they are fun to make.

    Unfortunately, as a cryptofan, I can’t really display them, at least on the web, as they start to circulate as the real thing.

  13. CryptoInformant responds:

    Nice work.

  14. vaughan responds:

    Hi Guys,

    I’m new here; a lifelong amateur naturalist and long-standing pro photographer from the UK.

    I discovered Loren’s site and ‘joined’ and chipped in a few days ago on the ‘Another Thylacine Photo’ (message 136).

    With a bit a practice ‘anything’ can be created in photoshop. If you want a ‘convincing’ plesiosaur picture, no problem, whilst a ‘thylacine’ picture, like the one I mentioned above, would be kid’s play.

    Here’s a very basic question if you will bear with me:

    No image, unless it’s in RAW format with all the original shooting data intact, can ever be acceptable as ‘proof’ (on its own) of the existance of a crypto – can it? Judging from your reports it looks as if even the Ivory-billed video is in doubt – by some. One imagines the accusation is that it too was manipulated as the bird shows the correct features?

    Surely a living body, or a reasonably fresh corpse is absolutely essential for proving existance? (DNA etc.)

    A photographic ‘record’ is all very entertaining, I will be the first to admit. However, at the end of the day it must surely be pretty useless, save for sometimes, in genuine cases, putting field-workers on the right track.

    The Photoshop hoaxers are I believe, unlikely to be people who use the product on a daily basis, but those who believe they have discovered ‘an unknown tool’ with which they can make a name for themselves – if they’re brave enough to ‘sign their work’ that is! To familiar PS users, and there seem to be quite a few commenting hereabouts in the comments’ boxes, they surely must look very naive.

    Best wishes,


  15. responds:

    Science, the God of this age, is of course beyond reproach and as such there is not possibly ANY other explanation, other than what science declares it is.

    Nothing to see here . . . . science is never wrong!

    Darwin himself said that his theory would be validated, right or wrong in 100 years. Wonder if that’s why he revised his “theory” over 10 times!

    In any case we now know what a sieve the theory of evolution turned out to be, despite the new debate technique of using a “fluid” definition of evolution.

    More faith is required to believe in evolution that intelligent design

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