A shocked dad thought he captured a photo of a pterodactyl while birding in Buckinghamshire in the UK.
Paul Squires was on a three-hour walk at Spade Oak Nature Reserve in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, UK, when he captured the illusion.
The amateur wildlife photographer snapped several pictures of red kites which live in the area but when he was flicking through the photos at home he was given a start by what appeared to be a pterodactyl.
When Squires shared the image on Facebook it received around 1,200 likes, shares and comments as others also saw the prehistoric animal in the photos.
He said of the strange pictures: “ I was out and about with my camera, there are loads of kites in this area, I love taking pictures of wildlife. When I was flicking through my pictures the other day I thought ‘What the hell is that? That looks like a dinosaur flying’. Why have I got a pterodactyl in my photos?’
“I took another look and then realized it was a red kite. I knew I hadn’t had a Jurassic encounter and that it was an optical illusion. Within seconds I realized what it was – that it was a red kite’s tail. But if you look at it quickly you do see the pterodactyl.”
The perfectly-timed shot gives the illusion of a pterodactyl’s head but it is really just the bird of prey’s tail.
The 52-year-old photographer often snaps pics of wildlife in his area but the pic of the pterodactyl is his most-liked photo on social media, he said.
Pterodactyl is a common name for a group of winged reptiles that lived among the dinosaurs.
The animals went extinct, along with other non-avian dinosaurs, around 66 million years ago leaving no living relatives, only fossils.
There were many species of the carnivorous animals and some were very large – one called the Quetzalcoatlus had a wing span of up to 39 feet (12 meters).