Is it a bird or a bunny? The internet can’t decide
The internet loves a good optical illusion, whether it’s the famous dress (is it black and blue or gold and white?) or the sneakers (mint and grey or pink and white?).
Now the latest internet head-scratcher has gone viral: Is it a bird or a bunny?
The debate started with a video posted to Imgur by user Horseonabike. In the video, which has garnered more than 96,000 views, someone is scratching what appears to be the head of either a bird or a bunny. This was followed by a Twitter post on Aug. 17, with the caption, “I think there's something wrong with your rabbit.”
Twitter user and scientist Dan Quintana shared that post, and then it really started taking off, receiving over 12,000 retweets and more than 47,000 likes.
Rabbits love getting stroked on their nose pic.twitter.com/aYOZGAY6kP
— Dan Quintana (@dsquintana) August 18, 2019
Twitter was completely torn as to what, exactly, they were looking at. Is that a beak or bunny ears?
My mind is flipping between rabbit and crow..and back again!
— AJ Pakvis (@AJPien) August 18, 2019
I keep seeing a raven with its beak open. Even after I see it’s a rabbit https://t.co/Ze5VWANQe1
— Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) August 19, 2019
Some are saying it’s a white necked raven:
White-necked raven. It's the white feathers and beak tips that threw me. pic.twitter.com/d6B8wiBe8c
— lippyduck (@lippyduck) August 20, 2019
One user noticed that the creature has what’s called a nictitating membrane — a thin, third eyelid that glides across the eye:
Same with those nictitating eyelids 😉
— Dan Quintana 🐰 (@dsquintana) August 18, 2019
While it’s cool to learn a new word that is sure to impress people at parties, both rabbits and ravens have them so that didn’t appear to help narrow it down.
However, one eagle-eyed (raven-eyed?) Twitter user noticed the direction that the nictitating membrane sweeps across the eye:
That is not a rabbit, it is indeed a Corvid. Notice the nictitating membrane when it blinks. Instead of moving up and down, it sweeps across the eye horizontally like a windscreen wiper and is translucent.
— Greta GG (@GretaGarbolini) August 19, 2019
While the debate rages on, most Twitter users are convinced this is a crow or raven and not a bunny (and if so, who knew ravens liked their heads scratched so much?):
How anyone can mistake this corvid for a rabbit is beyond me. Apparently rabbits can have feathers and a beak.
— Leftist Mongrel 🌹🐶 (@LeftistMongrel) August 20, 2019
Crow. It's just the angle of the crow's head...cuz of loving a good rub. Notice, we don't see the rest of the bird, but, if we did, we'd see his bird feet. 😁
— Wendy Jo Jo (@willowinwi) August 20, 2019
i can see his left wing it's a crow
— Usama (@idopedesi) August 21, 2019
Ok, you are all replying so much, let me clarify it’s CLEARLY a bird. My initial tweet was meant as a bit of a joke, in response to a joke video. The key point is that it replicates the famous duck/rabbit optical illusion pic.twitter.com/QYLyU7CjIo
— Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) August 20, 2019
The optical illusion is reminiscent of a famous duck-rabbit illustration: When you look at the drawing one way, you can see a duck’s beak. Look at it another way and you’ll see rabbit ears. The drawing triggers the “Gestalt switch,” in which the brain flips back and forth between two different perspectives — which may explain what’s happening when people look at the now viral bird-bunny video.
Michael Marmor, an ophthalmologist at Stanford Byer’s Eye Institute, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the bird-bunny video and the duck-rabbit drawing are “remarkably alike.”
Referring to the viral video, Marmor tells Yahoo Lifestyle: “This is a very neat, ambiguous figure, enhanced beautifully by a modern video. But in essence, it is simply a picture of a raven positioned so that its open beak resembles the ears of a rabbit.”
Marmor adds: “There is no special magic, for we all misjudge the cues of similar objects, especially in poor light or at a distance.”
Do you see a bird or a bunny?
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