Fact Check

Is This a Photograph of a 'Hammerhead Salamander'?

The diplocaulus was indeed a real animal that lived during the Permian period 250 million years ago.

Published May 15, 2016

Image Via Facebook
A photograph shows a real hammerhead salamander.

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


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:


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.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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