Hoaxes & Rumors

Huge Skeleton Under Boat: Real or Fake?

Huge Skeleton Under Boat: Real or Fake?

A graphic has circulated online for several years which shows a huge skeleton underwater as a boat floats over it. Is this picture real or fake? Today we’ll take a look.

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It’s Real

First lets take a look at the text attached to the graphic.

Fin whale vertebrae in Norway

The photo, which is real, has been circulated with the following text, “So my dad was called in to go on an important expedition without being informed the reason, he just found out that reason an hour ago.”

Implying the classified discovery of some kind of monster, the fabricated text only adds to the mystique of the picture.

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Fin Whale Vertebrae

In reality, the photograph is actually the vertebrae of a fin whale which was discovered in an arctic archipelago near Svalbard, Norway. The 2010 discovery was featured in a brief August 2013 Huffington Post article, and was apparently taken by a photographer who goes by the user name of “buen viaje” on Flicker (which has since been removed). An original caption was included with the photo on Flicker which states the following, “Fin whale carcass the bears have been feeding on for the past year. The next BBC documentary you see with polar bears will without question have footage from this spot!”

The photo was also posted to Reddit where it quickly became popular.

Due to the camera angle, it is difficult to estimate how big the vertebrae actually is, and there may also be the added optical illusion of forced perspective. On the other hand, the Office of Protected Resources, which is a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reports that fin whales are the second-biggest species of whale, can weigh 40-80 tons, and can grow to lengths of 75-85 feet.

Bottom Line

The image of a large submerged skeleton which stretches out under a boat is real. It is actually the vertebrae of a fin whale which was found near Svalbard, Norway in 2010.  According to the Huffington Post, Ficker user “buen viaje” originally posted the photo. While the picture may rely on some degree of forced perspective, fin whales are considered to be the second-biggest species of whale, and are known to reach lengths of 75-85 feet.

Revised May 29, 2016
Originally published February 2015

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