Viral Fish Looks Like An A.I. Generation


I have been staring at the picture of this fish for a good 10 minutes and I still can’t tell if its real or not.

The fish is swimming its way around the internet after a commercial fisherman in Russia posted it on his Instagram account.

The short caption (after being translated from Russian) reads:

“Just a big eyed grenadier.”

If you are as experienced in fish nomenclature as I am, the name of the fish didn’t clear up all that much. After looking it up, I learned that they are a type of cod-like fish and are usually found in deep Arctic waters.

You learn something everyday.

Here’s the thing though. This particular “grenadier,” or at least the way the picture was taken, does not look genuine at all.

This picture is either real, fake, or generated by artificial intelligence (which I guess would make it fake as well). So, let’s explore the three options that we have:


If this thing is real, it has to be the strangest, weirdest, most bizarre, outlandish, haunting fish the world has ever seen. Maybe some Chernobyl raditation?

Someone in the comments of the post said that the eyes sometimes bulge out because of “pressure changes,” but this is worse than just a regular old elevation change situation.


If the picture of the fish is fake, it has to be some sort of painting, right? Props to the Instagram user if they went through the trouble to make a fake fish photo just so it could go viral.

And if it is fake, they did just a good enough job with it so that it rode the line between make believe and believable.

Artificial Intelligence

If the picture was created by artificial intelligence, I would say “yeah, of course it is.” This seems like the perfect A.I. photo prompt.

Someone could’ve just typed in “freakish looking fish with bulging eyes in the hand of a fisherman” and this is what would pop out. I think with all the recent A.I. photos going viral as of late, this one would fit right in.

What do you think it is? Real? Fake? A.I.?

People in the comments were torn between the three options as well, with comments below the picture reading:

“Looks like a painting!”

“Is this a drawing? The hand looks real but the fish/organism does not.”

“Makes me think of the fish from Cat in the Hat movie.”

“You mean it’s a real fish? I thought it was computer fantasy.”

“Looks like a creature from a Tim Burton Movie.”

When it comes to figuring out if this fish could actually exist in real life, its just like the elusive answer to the question regarding how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop: the world may never know.

They also look much more normal when they’re deep under the water which I suppose gives some weight to the whole “pressure” conversation:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock