The latest confusing imagery to ignite a good ol’ social media debate was a video of a shiny black animal being petted, and clearly loving it. That’s all that was clear though — the clip has some people online convinced they’re looking at a bird. Others, however, feel certain it has to be a bunny.
The oddly-mesmerizing video, which has garnered millions of views, was shared earlier this week by Reddit user “Horseonabike”
At first glance, some saw a bird’s beak — except wait, are those bunny ears?! The Internet wanted the truth!
Fortunately, once the puzzling video went viral, users came through with the necessary context.
“That is not a rabbit, it is indeed a Corvid [crow family.] Notice the nictitating membrane when it blinks. Instead of moving up and down, it sweeps across the eye horizontally and is translucent.”
Did you catch the nictitating membrane too? Of course you did. And it turns out the now-famous bird is an 18-year-old white-necked raven by the name of Mischief.
Paige Davis, curator of Bird Training at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri first filmed the clip back in 2017. (That’s 27-year-old Davis’s hand in the clip; she’s his main trainer and tells TIME it took her whole year to befriend Mischief. Petting him was the key.)
“He loves to cuddle. He really likes to be pet on the head. But it took a long time for him to accept me as a friend,” she said.
When she posted it back then, a number of commenters also thought Mischief looked like a rabbit. But it wasn’t until Wednesday that the video really took, well… wings?
Mischief is a big draw at the World Bird Sanctuary thanks to his big personality. “He says ‘hi’ and ‘hello’ and he coughs and sneezes like an old man,” Davis said.
But as the saying goes, the people of the internet see the raven or the rabbit they wish to see in the world, and plenty of people still couldn’t make sense of the photo.
It hasn’t been long since the Internet lost its crackers trying to figure out an image — everyone loves (to hate) an optical illusion, after all. Just last month, for example, saw the vision quest that was the car door that people thought looked a lot like the beach.
A lot of what people “see” comes down to context, neurobiologist Bevil Conway explained of the viral photo then.
“Our brains rely on information about what you expect because the sense data are usually pretty noisy, even if your experience of vision seems vivid—sometimes the squiggle in your peripheral vision is a bungie cord, and sometimes it’s a snake,” Conway told TIME of the photo. “The context helps you figure that out.”
The bunny or bird conundrum is far from new. In fact, the image calls to mind a black and white sketch t the notable psychologist Joseph Jastrow used back in 1899 to prove his point.
When the image was presented to children around Easter time, kids typically perceived the image as a depiction of a rabbit. In October? More kids saw a duck. Which seems like a good reason to bookmark this video and check back with it regularly, because science. But also, because it’s adorable.
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