The photo is simple enough. It's a black cat with its head tilted sideways. Sounds straight forward, right? Wrong! The angle has created a strange optical illusion, with thousand of Twitters users saying “That’s no cat. That’s a crow!”
Cat or crow?
The photograph was shared by Robert Maguire, a Research Director at Citizens for Ethics, who wrote: "This picture of a crow is interesting because...it's actually a cat."
The picture was retweeted over 35,000 times and received over 100,000 likes.
It even managed to fool a Google search algorithm.
The Google image reversal search works by analysing images to find their most distinctive features and then creates a mathematical model.
It matches and compares this with billions of other pictures, to find the ones which best resemble it. Only it got this one wrong! Google thought the cat was a common raven.
Splitting the internet in two
The cat or crow picture isn't the first optical illusion to cause a rift among the online community. In 2015, a picture of a dress sparked debates all over the internet, many of which spilt over into offices, pubs, and dining rooms. Some thought the dress was blue and black, while others said “no it's not. That's a white and gold dress!”
One of the most well-known optical tricks is the "duck-rabbit"illusion, made famous by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
He introduced the idea in his work "Philosophical Investigations", and used it as an example to help explain how our sense of the “real” world is deeply influenced by our subjective interpretations.
This picture of a crow is interesting because...it's actually a cat pic.twitter.com/dWqdnSL4KD— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) October 28, 2018