February 27, 2020 / 2:03 PM / a month ago

False claim: This is a photograph of a baby platypus

A photograph has been widely shared online claiming that it's a baby platypus. Examples can be seen here and here

A reverse Google image search showed that this is actually a small sculpture of a platypus. The search brings up the Artstation page (see www.artstation.com/) of Serbian artist Vladimir Matić-Kuriljov who made this object out of Super Sculpey and painted it with acrylic paints, as referenced here

In the description, Matić-Kuriljov adds, “Probably the cutest thing I ever made.”

Matić-Kuriljov’s about page describes his work: “Graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 2010. specializing in illustration and animation. Since 2013. I’ve been working at Mad Head Games. I also do illustration, portraits, caricature, comics, animation, scale modeling, FX makeup, cosplay, miniature sculpting and art dolls.”

Real baby platypuses or "puggles" look somewhat different to this sculpture, as shown here and here

A website called People of Lancaster even used the photograph to illustrate an article (see here) about a duck-billed platypus allegedly being born at a zoo. The article is tagged as “satire” at the end of the piece – but this is not clear to a new visitor to the site. They have also shared the article and picture on their Facebook page here , promoting over 4,000 shares. Some users evidently understood the article to be true, posting comments such as: “your kids would love to see this”. Such was the reaction, ZooAmerica (the real Pennsylvania zoo named in the ‘satirical’ article) stated in a comment underneath:

“Hello from ZooAmerica! We want our guests to know this is not a legitimate story. That said, we are excited to have recently welcomed some new additions to ZooAmerica, including a Canada lynx named Wren and a river otter named Iris. We also opened a new parrot habitat for our six thick-billed parrots last month.”

VERDICT

False: This is not a photograph of a baby platypus, and one was not recently born at ZooAmerica.

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