Game of Thrones fans freak out over fake photo of 'real dragon'

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  1. The Twitter account for the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones retweeted a photo of a "real life dragon," the satanic leaf-tailed gecko, that's been trending around the world. But fans will be disappointed to hear that it's a fake.
  2. The image of the wingèd gecko was posted by the "Fascinating Pictures" account and has been retweeted more than 2,000 times. A later tweet by @EarthPix got another 2,000 retweets.

    Fans of the epic TV fantasy series, based on the books by George R. R. Martin, reposted the image in the hundreds, with comments like "Dragons are real!" and "I want one!"
  3. But while the satanic leaf-tailed gecko is a real creature - Uroplatus phantasticus, native to Madagascar - the picture is a fake. Geckos don't have wings, and some fans eventually figured this out.
  4. Piotr Naskreck, an insect biologist and photographer, snapped the lovely lizard in 2005, and the photo was published that year in his book The Smaller Majority.
  5. Naskreck's photo has been popular in its on right, without the fake wings, inspiring some artists to draw and paint from it.
  6. Uroplatus phantasticus
  7. Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko (endemic to Ma...
  8. The "dragon" version of the image first appeared on Reddit.com in March, posted by Felfriast in the "Hybrid Animals" section of the site. Felfrist said the photos has been altered using wings from a flying fox, or fruit bat.
  9. The image got about 600 upvotes, making it the fourth most popular post in /r/HybirdAnimals this year, after these ones:
  10. One more note: the Twitter account that posted Naskreck's photo back in May, the tweet seen above, is @SWildlifepics or "Stunning Wildlife."

    It's part of the same network of photo posting Twitter accounts as @Fascinatingpics, the account that posted the photo of the "real life Dragon!" hours before the finale of Game of Thrones.
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