Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thompson's Gazelle Mutation?

Very strange looking Thompson's gazelle. Photo copyright Paolo Torchio

If it were April 1st, everyone would have just had a good laugh at the photo and commented on the wonderful Photoshop job done by the hoaxers. These two images appear to show a Thompson's gazelle that has been bred by crossing a gazelle with a goat or some other equally hairy creature. However, the folks at Wildlife Extra were immediately suspicious of the authenticity of the pictures as they seem just too extraordinary.

The photographer, Paolo Torchio, (click here to go to his website) was born in Italy; but, moved to Kenya 20 years ago, where he has made his name as a photographer and a conservationist. Photo credit Paolo Torchio.

They carefully looked at the images; and, have determined that there are no signs of any alterations that they could detect. However, probably the most compelling reason to believe that they are real is that Paolo Torchio, who took the photos, is a well-known and well-respected photographer.

Sometimes nature does create oddities and this gazelle would appear to be one of them. Two-headed snakes, while very unusual, are occasionally seen; and, there are well-documented cases of animals with extra legs, heads, eyes and other unusual mutations. Not surprisingly, they are more common where there are some environmental causes, often caused by humans, such as mercury poisoning. Wildlife Extra concludes that this gazelle is just an unusual one; and, that Mr. Torchio had one of those rarest of moments that every photographer strives for, a slice of luck.

Via Wildlife Extra

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