Modern-Day Diplocaulus

The caption that accompanied these photos, when they circulated online in late 2004, claimed that the mysterious creature in the bucket had been found in Malta.

Professor Patrick Schembri of the Department of Biology at the University of Malta discussed the photos in an article that was published in November 2004 in the Malta Times. He identified the creature as an amphibian called a Diplocaulus, but he noted that the photos had to be fake because the Diplocaulus had been extinct for 270 million years. He speculated that the creature was a model.

The image was later traced back to an amateur Japanese model-maker who had taken the photo back in 1992 and submitted it to a magazine as part of a contest.
Links and References
Diplocaulus Found. Museum of Hoaxes' comment thread. (in Japanese)
Photo Categories: Models and Cutouts, Animals, Fish, viral images, Cryptozoology, 2000-2004

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