Smiling 'Joker' Face In This Photo Isn't What It Seems To Be
Apparently, a shift in perspective is all it takes to make one of the planet's most recognizable species look like something else entirely.
Recently, Calypso Star Charters, an Australian underwater tour guide company, shared this striking image on Instagram. At first glance, it appears to be some sort of smiling face — likened to that of a jester or joker. Commenters on the post are having a field day:
"Honestly thought you were playing with filters," one wrote. "Very cool."
The truth behind the shot is actually quite simple to explain: It's a photo of the underbelly of a perfectly normal great white shark which has been flipped upside down.
Here's that same image with the orientation corrected:
The original photograph is awesome, to say the least — showing the sheer power and beauty of these aquatic marvels. But when it comes to sharks, the importance of a proper perspective is crucial in another sense.
Unfortunately, sensationalized depictions in popular culture have given rise to negative stereotypes that sharks are creatures to be feared and demonized, when, in fact, the opposite is true: They are well-worth saving.
As the World Wildlife Fund points out, sharks play an essential role in keeping ocean ecosystems in balance, and are far less dangerous to humans than most people even realize.
(Oh, and sometimes they can actually be quite cute.)
In reality, sharks have much more to fear from humans than the other way around. In 2013, it was reported that an estimated 100 million sharks were killed each year — a grim statistic which, just last year, led to the creation of an international pact aimed at protecting them from threats.
Indeed, a change of perspective can go a long way.