Will Phillips said Thursday that that he snapped the actual photo (shown above) of a dolphin sometime last month. As a joke, a friend of his doctored the picture to make it look like a shark.
However, the doctored photo began to circulate the internet, Phillips said, and somehow made its way to the Shark Research Committee (SRC), which posted it on its website.
Ralph Collier, a shark expert with the SRC, said the photo was likely real.
“I believe its authentic,” Collier said. “We’ve had reports for years of large sharks in that area this time of year.”
However, Collier later discovered it was not.
“This is a fake,” Collier wrote on the SRC website. “My apology to all. Fooled a number of colleagues as well. Photo shop. Our authentication procedure did not work this time.”
Phillips said Thursday that he was upset over the mistake, and hoped it did not cause any real harm to local marine life.