Well, social media folk, we’ve been here before. Remember back in the good old days, when we hotly debated the color of “the dress” (and for the record, I still say white and gold) Or how about what color that infamous sneaker was: pink & white, or grey & teal?
Let’s not forget the audio debate that nearly broke the Internet last year, with families being torn apart over whether the clip said, “Yanni” or “Laurel”.
You’d think by now that we would have learned to agree to disagree about such trivial matters, right? We should simply trust our own perception and move along peacefully, letting others trust their own.
But again, this is the INTERNET we’re talking about. And if there’s one thing people of the Internet love to do, it’s to hotly debate silly minutiae.
The newest perception debate that is creating an uproar on social media is an optical illusion that depicts either a rabbit or a raven, and people are losing their minds over it.
It all started, as these crazy trends do, with a seemingly innocent video clip of an animal being stroked on its… head? Nose? Who knows for sure? The clip was uploaded to twitter by user Dan Quintana on August 18, & it quickly blew up as fellow tweeters became locked in a heated debate: what kind of animal do you see? Is it a raven, or is it a rabbit??
Rabbits love getting stroked on their nose pic.twitter.com/aYOZGAY6kP
— Dan Quintana (@dsquintana) August 18, 2019
While the truth was later revealed by the poster, let’s first check out how Twitter reacted to this puzzling video.
In classic Twitter fashion, people were more than happy to share their own thoughts on the debate.
That’s a feckin crow pic.twitter.com/69JUh5TmH4
— Not Luke Richards (@LukeRxchards) August 20, 2019
Luke (or NOT Luke, apparently) isn’t feckin around, people. He’s firmly on the “crow” (bird) side of this debate.
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
I mean, come ON- you can clearly see the animal’s nictati- I mean, it’s nickel-tati- it’s… whatever “nictitating membranes” are, this thing’s got them, so… it’s clearly a CORVID. Obviously.
(Note: Corvid means “a bird of the crow family”. And no, I didn’t know that, either.)
B I R D pic.twitter.com/TT484om65K
— Imagine ?????? (@nikasnook) August 22, 2019
THIS IS A BIRD. LOOK. FEATHERS. NOT FUR. FEATHERS!
— Jackson Rickun (@JacksonRaccoon) August 21, 2019
Do “birds of a feather” really flock together?? They do if they’re insisting that the “rabbit” people are wrong.
In the grand tradition of epic social media debates, many people also commented to assert that the “bird” people were wrong, especially since Quintana’s comment before the clip in his tweet made it seem obvious.
Above the video, Quintana wrote:
Rabbits love getting stroked on their nose.
I was confused I was like “rabbit”
— Y bcuz Mahershala is Blade? (@loveonlyworks) August 20, 2019
Exactly. Who is confused: Dan Quintana, for claiming it’s a rabbit, or those that think it really IS a rabbit?
Wow, I sat here for ages seeing someone petting a crow w its beak open to the air, and thinking “rabbits??”
— Dr. Nic Thompson (@NicoleAlineSci) August 19, 2019
Are we being gaslighted here? What the WHAT??
Lol. 3 min of me saying, that is no bunny. 1 Ah ha moment followed by damn, it *is* a bunny. Still looks like a crazy bird tho.
— Nicole Mikloiche (@mik_niki) August 21, 2019
Then of course, there are those that just want to provide some comic relief:
Here’s my rabbit pic.twitter.com/KuSGNOAAQR
— Stan O’Connor (@TourguideStan) August 18, 2019
My dog likes to be patted too. pic.twitter.com/QxOf55N2U4
— Skratch (@straycatskratch) August 21, 2019
But the reality is, we need to know. What IS this thing??
Okay first of all, I’m obsessed with this. Second, is this your rabbit? If So, please post more ?? content?? pic.twitter.com/o59gRKY3kX
— Chelsea Parlett-Pelleriti (@ChelseaParlett) August 18, 2019
Same, girl. SAME. And so are countless others, since the tweet clip has over 9.4 MILLION views in less than one week.
After all of the fiery debating, the bottom line was: what the heck IS this thing??
Is that a rabbit being stroked on the nose or a magpie being stroked on the head because… pic.twitter.com/PldtyZRIs9
— Sharky Ballerina? (@CarolHenny) August 19, 2019
Are you ready for the answer??
It’s a bird, baby!!!
According to Dan Quintana, the animal in the video clip is indeed a bird, but he deliberately mentioned the word “rabbit” in his post to in order to examine, as he described to The Huffington Post:
How context and attention can influence what we perceive in the world.
Without mentioning rabbits, most people would likely have identified the animal as a bird. But by adding the misleading cue of “rabbit”, it forced some people to examine the video in a different context than they might otherwise have viewed it.
Once Quintana revealed the truth, you’d think that would be enough to quell the debate. But nay, my friends- the battle rages on, because social media sure does love a good optical illusion debate!