Mantis Love National Geographic Photo of the Year: Fact Check


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Image about Mantis Love National Geographic Photo of the Year
Mantis Love National Geographic Photo of the Year

Story:

Praying Mantis Love National Geographic Photo of The year!

Other Versions

1. Praying Mantis couple Let’s Dance

2. National Geographic Photo of the Year. ~ “You and me”

Fact Check:

A picture shared widely online purports to show Praying Mantis Love National Geographic Photo of the Year. It shows two Mantises in a cute striking pose on a twig, where they look like flamenco dancers. So, let us examine if the praying Mantis couple photograph is real and whether or not it was selected as National Geographic Photo of the Year.

About Mantis Love National Geographic Photo

Cyprus photographer Hasan Baglar shared the picture of two Mantises on Flickr back in August 2014. It carried the below description:

Show Time
Its a normal behavior of mantis. They doing defance. When they afraid of to open their wings, put it arms and smile. They looks like a dancer.

Later in October 2014 the photographer submitted it to National Geographic’s Photo Contest. On his profile, you can see Hasan Baglar describing the photograph as praying mantises smiling and dancing. Note, he tagged it under ‘creative story’. More importantly, the submitted photograph was not selected for any award by the National Geographic’s Photo Contest.

Possible Flaws

At nearly the same time in 2014 the fabulous praying Mantis photograph also appeared on website¬†reddit.com – in Photoshop Battles category. Notably, there’s also another picture of two mantises in similar dancing stance. Coming to the question of authenticity, we have seen in past some nature photographs that were staged. For example, you can see below picture of a crazy frog giving the fingers. The incident was in fact staged using wires which were later erased from the photograph.

Another similar picture of two Mantises 'dancing'
Another similar picture of two Mantises ‘dancing’

 

Staged picture of Crazy Frog showing fingers
Staged picture of Crazy Frog showing fingers

To test the authenticity of the image in question, we increased the saturation levels and found differential lighting around the arms and knee regions of right Mantis. It is in fact suggestive of possible photoshopping. Also, the EXIF data of the original image on Flickr shows an instance of modification in 2015. All this suggests the Mantis love photograph is staged in praying-like stance using wires or something alike and then manipulated to look real.

Image of Increased Saturation: Hints of Photoshopping
Increased Saturation: Hints of Photoshopping

So, the story of Praying Mantis Love National Geographic Photo of the Year is a hoax. For such reasons, in past few years, there are concerns that some photographers trying to capture such ‘cute moments’ of animals and nature are actually involving in animal abuse.

Hoax or Fact:

Hoax.


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Prashanth Damarla
Debunker

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