Photos of a large fish caught in the southern Philippines that appears to have its skin covered with artistic tattoo-like markings has sparked quite a debate on social media, with people offering the most outrageous explanations for the intricate design.
Oddity Central reports that the fish was caught by fishermen in the province of Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental, who immediately noticed that much of its skin was marked by artistic designs, including what looks like a crest made up of a crown sitting on top of a shield, some letters and intertwining plant leaves.
The strange design also attracted the attention of passers-by as well, some of whom were quick to snap some photos of the fish and upload them to social media. They were soon picked up by large news networks and eventually went viral.
The unusual "tattoo" is undoubtedly of human origin, but how it ended up on a wild fish is still a mystery. However, the thousands of people commenting on the photos posted by Philippines news network GMA News were more than willing to voice their opinions.
Perhaps the most rational explanation for the fish "tattoo" was offered by one Steve Clark, who wrote: "This was probably caused by some sort of trash or fabric that had been embedded in the fish's skin and over time imprinted this design onto it. Just a thought."
Most of the other comments ranged from utterly ridiculous to straight up hilarious. Some commenters wrote that the fish was probably the demi-god Maui from Disney's Moana, just in his fish form and missing his trusty fish hook, while others claimed that it was a sign of the End Times.
"There are many things in our world that we do not know about, especially under the sea. Remember, the sea is greater than land," one person wrote, while another suggested that the fish may have escaped from an underwater jail where marine biologists mark marine creatures with strange symbols.
Surprisingly, none of the top comments on Facebook or Reddit asked the obvious question - are these photos the work of Photoshop? Like the fish, that remains a mystery.