‘Hammerhead Salamander’ Photograph

An image purportedly showing a real "hammerhead salamander" is actually a model of an extinct diplocaulus.

Image via Facebook

Claim

A photograph shows a real hammerhead salamander.

Rating

Origin

In 2016, photographs that purportedly showed a “hammerhead salamander” (also known as the “boomerang-head”, or diplocaulus) started circulating on social media:

salamander

Although the diplocaulus was, indeed, a real animal that lived during the Permian period, the amphibian has not been present on Earth for about a few hundred million years. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that a real, living diplocaulus was captured on camera.

The photograph displayed above may appear to belie the fact that the diplocaulus has long been extinct, but the image actually depicts a model of a diplocaulus created by artist Goro Furuta. A message posted on the artist’s Facebook page identified the animal as a model and not a living creature:

13096091_585502814959998_8962183727145360622_n

Before I knew it, diplocaulus was shared more than 3000 times. Oh, incidentally, this is a model so…. LOL.

This isn’t the first time that a model of a diplocaulus has been mistaken for the real thing. In 2004, another photograph of a purported hammerhead salamander in a bucket circulated on the internet:

hammer head salamander

That image also turned out to be a hoax.

Dear Reader,

Snopes.com has long been engaged in the battle against misinformation, an effort we could not sustain without support from our audience. Producing reliable fact-checking and thorough investigative reporting requires significant resources. We pay writers, editors, web developers, and other staff who work tirelessly to provide you with an invaluable service: evidence-based, contextualized analysis of facts. Help us keep Snopes.com strong. Make a direct contribution today. Learn More.

Donate with PayPal