February 16, 2012
Siberian Woolly Mammoth Video: Real or Hoax?
By Chad Love
Siberia is a big, wild and isolated piece of real estate. There's a good reason the Soviet Union stuck its gulags there. It's a huge chunk of the earth's surface and it's a land of mystery, too. The Tunguska explosion, the fabled and rare Siberian tigers, and the persistent rumors of small, isolated populations of woolly mammoths. Wait. Woolly mammoths?
According to this amazing video, what you're watching is a woolly mammoth crossing a river deep in the heart of Siberia. The video has become an Internet sensation. Some say it's a real live woolly mammoth, others say its a blurry image of a bear carrying a large fish it its mouth. Do you think it's genuine? Keep reading to find out...
So what did you say? Fake or real? Well, score one for the skeptics. Here's the rest of the story...
From this story in the Christian Science Monitor:
Last week, a new video surfaced claiming to show a live woolly mammoth ˜ an animal scientists think has been extinct for at least four millennia ˜ crossing a river in Russia . The suspiciously blurry footage was allegedly "caught by a government-employed engineer last summer in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug region of Siberia ," according to a story in The Sun newspaper.
"...Some suspected the video is an outright hoax ˜ a computer-generated mammoth digitally inserted into a real river scene. Many others, however, were convinced that the animal was real: not a mammoth, but instead a bear with a large fish hanging from its mouth. That would explain its relatively small size, the shape of the "trunk" on its head, and the color. Experts cast doubts on the video's authenticity; Derek Serra, a Hollywood video effects artist, concluded that it "appears to have been intentionally blurred."
Serra isn't the only expert who can shed some light on this mystery: another person is Ludovic Petho. His name may not be familiar to most people, but his work has been seen by millions; he filmed themammoth footage at the Kitoy River in Siberia's Sayan Mountains in the summer of 2011. He's not an anonymous government engineer, but instead a writer and videographer. Petho filmed the river scene during a 10-day solo hike in the mountains as part of a video project he's working on about his grandfather's escape from a Siberian POW camp in 1915 and his walk across Siberia to Budapest, Hungary. The footage may end up being used in a documentary film ˜ but there's one big difference between the video he shot and the woolly mammoth video.
"I don't recall seeing a mammoth; there were bears, deer, and sable," he said in an interview with Life's Little Mysteries. "But no woolly mammoths. I had no idea my footage was used to make this fake sighting."
So there you go. Looks like we can all put away our mammoth guns. Probably a good thing. Who needs another contentious "what's the best mammoth caliber" debate, right?